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Blog Post

The 21st Century Leader

Published: Monday, October 12, 2020

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

We know that circumstances can change in an instant, and because of that, learning agility is of the utmost importance. We must unlearn and relearn constantly to keep up with all the changes we encounter in life. Think about how differently you do your work now, compared to how you did your work five years ago. Changing and adapting is vital to success – remaining the same is simply not an option.

So how do you do it? How do you keep up to date with the changes in your industry or role? How do you make sure you’re constantly learning, unlearning, and relearning? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1)    Network, network, network. Internally and externally. You can learn something from anyone, and it’s important to have to have a friend or a group you can tap into when you have a problem to solve. You can even use these connections to put others in touch with each other and introduce people that can use their specializations. You can do this on LinkedIn or in person, by joining groups or attending events. My favorite is Rotary International – I have met some amazing people this way and made some wonderful friends.

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2)    Join an industry trade association. I am a member of The Association of Talent Development (ATD) and I truly get a lot out of that membership! I get to learn from many others who know things that I don’t. It’s also a great way to learn about what is on the horizon in the industry, like new tools or approaches.

3)    Learn from those in your company in a different department. The more you know about the company, the more credible you are when trying to sell an idea – a new project or maybe a promotion. Set up time with colleagues who you have limited interactions with, and learn about their processes, skills, and what makes them good at their jobs. 

Never stop learning, never stop unlearning and relearning, and always be ready to embrace change and improvement. 

About the Author

Dana is a Leadership Consultant certified as a Workplace Culture Specialist and an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Team. (Maxwell is an Amazon Hall of Fame Author and Speaker on Leadership and Dana has been mentored by him and his team.) She specializes in facilitating leadership development training with a focus on creating workplaces people love. High performing workplaces will improve morale, productivity, and profitability so it is a win-win for all.

She has over 20 years of leadership experience in a Fortune 50 company as a first line leader, a second line leader, and a third line leader. She coached and led several hundred people over the years and believed that if you created a great work environment, you will get great results. In one department, Dana was asked to positively influence the employee opinion survey which measures how employees feel and the morale of the organization. She was able to move it 30 percentage points in a positive direction.

Dana has a master’s degree in Leadership and is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) from The Association of Talent Development (where she is also a part-time instructor).

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