Learning is a Lifetime Pursuit for All Professionals
Any professional who considers learning a lifetime pursuit will never be left behind in today’s highly competitive marketplace. This certainly holds true for learning professionals.
In today’s Information Age, no one can afford to retire their brains and ingenuity if they want to stay current with their profession. The fact is, whatever you learned last year or even a few weeks ago, is already outdated.
If you are employed by a forward-looking company or organization that practices Kaizen or constant improvement, refresher courses and advanced seminars are regular events requiring mandatory attendance.
For Lean organizations, the learning process is an ongoing journey or adventure of discovery whose destination is constant improvement. Along the road are oases or refresher stops—seminars and workshops where shared learning takes place, or where management and staff take time to reflect on what they’ve learned.
In an excellent article that appeared in the November 8, 2016 issue of Chief Learning Officer, titled “Learning Professionals Must Be Learners,” author Elliott Masie writes, “Imagine eating in a restaurant where the chef never tastes the food. Risky, right? We want our cooks to adjust, tweak and improve the cooking experience by tasting periodically.”
Likewise, would you hire a Chief Learning Officer who has never implemented any of the methods they learned from a textbook that hasn’t been cracked open again after passing the final exam? Of course not. In Powering the Lean Enterprise: Fundamentals of Lean for Super-Charging Your Company & Your Life, author Bill Artzberger illustrates this point by introducing Edgar Stern, newly graduated from a prestigious business school. Edgar is suddenly thrust into the position of taking over the family’s shoe manufacturing business when his father, the CEO, has a debilitating stroke. To Edgar’s credit, he hires a Lean Learning Coach to help him solve several pressing problems that threaten to sink the company if not tended to immediately.
It doesn’t take long for Lean Learning Coach Dr. Candace Silver to discover that since Edgar took over the company, he has rarely visited the factory where the shoes are made. Any type of change or variation from his father’s practices were also not on Edgar’s agenda.
Candace introduces Edgar to on-site versions of Lean Learning Principles. She demonstrates how Kaizen serves as an impetus for ongoing learning through actual “tasting” or testing that takes place on the factory floor and in every department of the company.
“How often do we, as learning professionals, take [enroll in] complete learning programs, including our own, to make sure the learning ‘taste’ is excellent?” asks Masie.
A learning professional who fails to make a commitment to lifetime learning soon becomes an endangered species with extinction already on the horizon.
About Lean Learning Center
The Lean Learning Center was founded in 2001 to address the gaps and barriers that are holding back companies from successful and sustainable lean transformation. In addition to the advanced curriculum, the Center has developed a learning environment designed specifically for adult learning utilizing techniques that include discovery simulations, case studies, personal planning, and reflection – ultimately engaging people at a deep and personal level. We bring our unique lean understanding in creative ways to executives, managers, supervisors, change agents and front-line employees.
 Masie, Elliott, “Learning Professionals Must Be Learners,” Chief Learning Officer, November 8, 2016.