Brian Tracey said, “Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people.” I am on a life-long journey of leadership development, and one of the core purposes of my firm is to educate, motivate and collaborate with others to pass on this “bug” of life-long learning, and then to inspire others to walk the talk, and live the learning.
So, after graduating with five degrees, and considering another one, (I know crazy, eh?), how do I keep learning? …Well, I decided to enroll in the School of the 3 L’s – LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN.
What does that mean? The 3 L’s is what I call my “self-directed” education. I am frequently reading anything I can get my hands on (a magazine, a great book, a blog, a newspaper…you name it) to learn how to better inspire an exceptional performance from those around me.
I am continuously taking all kinds of courses and attending events with keynote speakers. I am sitting back absorbing the information both as a student/audience member, but also thinking, how could I deliver this information in a way that would evoke an emotional response in people; a response that would ignite a solid commitment in them to be the change they want to see in the world, and challenge the status quo.
Whether it is in the classroom or the boardroom, I am constantly posing questions to my students and clients, and learning from their responses. I may at any given time have 35-40 sets of eyes on me…but as they are watching me, I am watching them.
I watch how they respond to what I am saying. I watch how they handle difficult questions, how they start debates, and how they listen to each other. I watch how they cope with challenging group dynamics, and at times, demonstrate disrespectful behaviours towards one another. I watch what emotions are triggered in all of these situations, and how those emotions impact their decision-making and problem-solving capabilities.
Look, Listen & Learn
All of this “self-governing” learning (a.k.a the 3 L’s – LOOKING, LISTENING and LEARNING), helps me learn a lot about leadership development, emotional intelligence, and team effectiveness. This type of education provides me with the tools I need to help both develop high-performing organizations/institutions, and help create a community of lifelong learners.
While my career path over the years has constantly shifted and evolved, the driving force behind my choices have not; I want to “be the change.” Harry Truman once said that “To be able to lead others, a man must be willing to go forward alone.”
I thrive on going forward first – helping companies identify the key challenges that face their organizations, determining the changes that need to be made, communicating that change throughout their organization, and then training and coaching their staff to become the change.
In the classroom, I strive to teach my students that education is power – the more you have, the more you have. These are words I live by, and I believe that learning new technologies, theories, and solutions to organizational challenges will empower me to implement more positive change for more people in more places.