Data, information and knowledge.
It's all the same, right? Not exactly. Data are facts. Information allows us to expand our knowledge beyond the range of our senses. And knowledge is what we know. Today we live in a sea of data and information.
However, our ability to drive our own knowledge is greater than it ever has been. We can thank the 'Information Age' and crowdsourcing to this phenomena, right? Sort of.
Computers have just given us a new means to get to data and information, quickly.
There are a number of ways we learn. The traditional learning pyramid shows the various ways we learn, what we generally remember and our level of involvement in the learning experience.
In my line of work, I coach teams and individuals to drive greater performance outcomes through learning and development. Several years ago I came to one very important realization.
To be successful today and tomorrow, we all must become obsessed with learning.
If you think you are useful today just knowing what you know, think again. To stay competitive you must be hungry for ways to expand your knowledge.
And of course it's easy to think what we know today is all we need to know, because quite simply we were taught that way. If you think back to your days in school, what were they for? One of my professional crushes, Seth Godin says school existed to teach obedience. He's right. The data is showing us that we've been on a journey shifting from an industrial economy to an intellectual or knowledge based economy and that we are never going back.
In my career I've moved from process, systems, to people. Across that spectrum I've increased my knowledge by taking assignments that have exposed me to projects and operations across multiple businesses. In oil and gas I've seen both upstream and downstream. I have a number of mentors and sponsors to thank for giving me these opportunities to expand my view and provide me a good runway in my career. However, none of this was possible without my own personal view that I must be obsessed with learning, open to trying new things, expanding my knowledge by "going and seeing" versus sitting behind a computer all day or reading about it.
Sadly, our educational system isn't keeping up.
Why should you care?
Think because you don't have kids, you shouldn't care? Think again, my 'SINK' and 'DINK' friends. This is a big debate in the election year both in Texas and federally. Our kids are worth it to get the education and experiences they need to lead us into the future. If we don't get obsessed about our own learning and changing the systems that they were built upon, we are kidding ourselves out of being a country that can remain competitive and prosper. It's just as simple as that.
So I ask you ...
- How are you getting obsessed about learning?
- Do you know what school (was) for and how we got here? If not, read Seth's manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams or watch the TED talk.
- What are you doing to get involved in developing our next generation of leaders?
This post is a part of the Alphabet Soup Series. Read the others here.