Keep Smart in 2021: Nine Ways CEOs and Leaders Can Learn, Lead and Grow

By Alan Gehringer

Keep Smart in 2021: Nine Ways CEOs and Leaders Can Learn, Lead and Grow

Learn as much as you can to energize yourself and bring your best to the business!

I am a big fan of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates (even though I am an Apple guy). One thing these two icons have in common is that they are veracious readers (Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year). 

Although I cannot even begin to compare myself to them, I do have the lifelong desire to learn and grow intellectually while bringing my best to clients. Here is one thing I realized as I finished up last year and reflected on 2020.  I began to feel just a little stale. Upon thinking about it, I was not reading and learning as much as I did pre-pandemic. That needed to change this year.

CEO learning

One of our core values at Rhythm Systems is ”Keep Smart,” and we take it very seriously. It is one of the many things that attracted me to the company almost a decade ago. We are always looking for ways to make each other smarter and learn together as a team. In that light, one of my colleagues sent me a book the latter part of last year. Another teammate mentioned he was doing Master Classes online. In addition, we are taking our coaching services to the next level, and I found myself doing a lot of research. Drawing on all of these catalysts, it put my learning and brain back into hyperdrive, and it has been invigorating!

We joke around at our firm that no one wants to hire a dumb consultant, and it is very true—although, it's no joke at all. That is one of the reasons we take learning so seriously. As a leader, your company deserves the smartest, most knowledgeable individuals to guide the company successfully. I am sure a lot of you are motivated to learn, but if your motivation has waned just a bit, I encourage you to set some goals and step it back up. At one point, I actually had a KPI I tracked to read at least one book a month. My stretch goal was two books per month. I encourage you to set goals and track them.

How can you learn more in 2021?

Here are some sources/ideas to consider based on my own knowledge and research I have done:

  1. Peers in the industry
  2. CEO or leadership forums
  3. Pursuing an advanced degree
  4. Online classes
  5. Webinars in and outside of your industry
  6. Create a reading list, and commit to a book a month
  7. Find a mentor
  8. Hire a Professional
  9. Read newspapers, journals and white papers

Buffet's infamous reading habit is what he attributes as the foundational tool to improve knowledge. He is a voracious reader who spends 80 percent of his own day reading, and he suggests that anyone hoping to achieve similar success should read 500 pages per day. 

One point Warren Buffet makes is that you have to allow time to reflect and think about what you are learning. Information is one thing; turning that information into knowledge that you can act on and leverage is another.

There are many other activities you can engage in to increase your knowledge, and these are just a few to get you thinking. Please let me know how you learn as a leader and how you would recommend other leaders learn. Truth be told, I got a little smarter today just writing this blog.

Best wishes for a successful year, and lead well. —Alan

Learn More About Rhythms Executive Coaching Program

 

Here are additional blogs to help you keep smart:

Personal Path of Progress: The Secret to Reach Your Full Potential

Strategies for Effective Listening - 18 Expert Listening Strategies

How Middle Market CEOs Execute on Strategy for Success

Strategic Planning Tips: 17 Tips to Create a Winning Strategic Plan

How to Scale Growth

How to Drive Revenue Growth Consistently

Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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