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Shorten Your Learning Curves

Most of us would love to be better at the things we do, but not necessarily motivated enough to do anything about it.

That is unless it is something for which we have a real passion. Then we are willing to put some effort into it. 

The best way to improve your business results is for you to improve personally. Most CEOs and business leaders know this and see a need to continue to grow their knowledge and expertise about running a business. So they are willing to put some effort into learning and will attend a seminar occasionally and may read related material. The great majority learn on the job.

Learning to run a business on the fly can be costly. It takes trial and error. There are so many different situations to deal with as a business leader that your learning curve is rather lengthy. Even though you learn best from your mistakes, as discussed on the page “Making Difficult Decisions” it is a painful and costly way to get your education.

There are a number of ways to shorten your learning curve. You could:

  • Start a reading program of some of the best business books

  • Subscribe to Audio Tech Business Book Summaries, which summarize business books and furnishes the summaries in written form and also in CD format.

  • Take classes at the local Community college or University face–to-face or online

  • Enroll in an executive MBA program

  • Join a CEO group that is issue focused

Clearly a CEO group that is issue focused would give you the greatest slope to your learning curve; meaning you would get the knowledge you want quicker. That is because they use a technique of learning that is widely used in the best MBA programs; case studies. They analyze real life business situation and develop a plan of action to improve the company’s performance.

To give you an example of how it works in a CEO group. The B.E.S.T Group is issue focused. The majority of our meetings are spent processing real issues that CEOs have and are dealing with. Here is what we do:

  • During their one to one with the Chair the CEO brings up an issue he/she would like to present to the group.

  • Two to four issues are presented at each monthly meeting.

  • When each issue is presented there is a specific format so the initial discussion about the issue is five to seven minutes.

  • After the initial discussion, the other CEOs start asking questions to clarify the issue in their minds and gather the information they need to offer suggestions. This sometimes takes an hour since we really peel the onion to get to all the necessary facts.

  • Once every one’s questions have been answered, each CEO shares their recommendations and suggestions.

  • To wrap it up, we have the CEO with the issue commit to the actions he/she will take.

Each issue we process is like a mini case study. So each month the CEOs leave the meeting with another nugget or two of knowledge. Over the course of the year, they have gained quite an education and they have done it without the pain and cost of making the mistakes but through the experiences of others.

Action to take now:

  1. Decide what functional area in your business that you would like to know better.

  2. Decide how you will go about learning it.

  3. Set a timetable for completion.

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