As a visionary CEO of a growth-oriented company, embracing lifelong learning is crucial to keep igniting game-changing growth in a constantly changing world. While media, books, podcasts, conferences, and continuing executive education are helpful, there is still more that can be done to exemplify the value of lifelong learning. Another, often overlooked, way to learn and grow is by tapping into the power of your communities. Business associations, civic organizations, professional associations, and religious communities are all examples of communities that offer unique learning opportunities. In this blog post, we will explore how actively participating in communities can create unique learning opportunities and enrich perspectives.
Shifting Mindsets for Unique Learning Opportunities
To support your lifelong goals of continuous learning, you need to adopt a different mindset and participate in your communities in new ways.
There is a difference between being a member of a community and actively participating in it. Active participation leads to richer learning experiences and more diverse outcomes. A few examples include:
The division president of a multinational company who was actively involved in a trade association’s executive conferences and acted as a mentor for new members. This involvement allowed him to gain valuable insights from different perspectives, which he used to help his company raise its game.
A CEO of a major corporation who participated in a town hall-style Q&A session after giving a keynote speech at a conference. This engagement allowed him to learn from potential partners, suppliers, and customers, helping him gain insights that would have been missed if he only focused on the keynote.
Practical Ideas for Lifelong Learning Through Communities
Here are some immediately useful ideas for tapping into the power of communities to foster lifelong learning:
Be clear about the value you want to create for yourself and your community. Know your goals, such as learning more about a wider range of stakeholders or gaining advanced information about emerging trends. Identify what you want to learn or achieve, and use that as a guide when engaging with your communities.
Look for learning opportunities in unexpected places, and engage with people you wouldn’t usually interact with. For example, the CEO who mingled with attendees at an exhibit booth and asked for their thoughts on a specific issue. This conversation provided new insights and perspectives.
Create learning opportunities if they don’t already exist. If you don’t see the learning opportunity you want, create it either directly or through members of your organization. For instance, as a board member of an association, you can influence the events and programming offered to meet your learning objectives. Take the initiative to develop events and programming that people want, such as award events or thought leadership sessions.
Tapping into the power of communities is an often-overlooked way to exemplify lifelong learning. It takes courage to extend yourself and create relationships in new ways. When you do, you’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll learn about yourself and others while also modeling a critical leadership competency for your organization as the world keeps changing. So, ask yourself, “How can I engage with my communities in new ways that further exemplify my value of lifelong learning?”