What These Leaders Learned Last Year

As we start up another year, I have a question for you: What did you learn last year?

I tend to get some common responses to that question. Most often it’s a tilt of the head and a thoughtful, “Hmm…..” The second reaction is a vague response along the lines of, “Um, well, I learned a lot!” or they re-hash some general lesson like, “the importance of communication.”

But I’d like you to get more specific. What’s something specific you’ve learned in the last 12 months that you either didn’t know before then or you had to re-learn it?

Prepared For A World That No Longer Exists

After coaching over 250 executives, occasionally I’ll come across someone who says they have something like 20 years of experience. But the more we talk, it becomes apparent they have more like one year of experience repeated 20 times!

Liz Wiseman warned against this back in Episode 125 of our People and Projects Podcast regarding her book Rookie Smarts. She challenges us to constantly be putting ourselves in rookie roles so we can’t just be living off what we’ve already learned.

Back in episode 126, I shared one of my favorite quotes related to this, from Eric Hoffer. He reportedly said, “In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

That’s an inspiring quote, for sure, but one that should also scare us some as well. I only know of one way to keep ourselves from being beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists: to have an insatiable hunger to learn.

Lessons from Leaders

So, what did you learn last year? I decided to ask that question to some people I admire as committed learners—actively making sure they’re not simply equipped for a world that no longer exists.

Each person shares a 3-minute lesson from this last year. I trust you’ll get value from their insights. But even more importantly, I want to spur you on to reflect how you would answer the question.

You’ll hear from:

Let’s see what these leaders have learned in the last year!

Click here to listen to episode 159.

And please leave your lessons in the comments below. Enjoy! Here’s to a great 2017 for you and your team!


Andy Kaufman, PMP helps organizations around the world improve their ability to deliver projects and lead teams. Learn more about his project management and leadership keynote presentations for your upcoming company or chapter meeting at http://www.i-leadonline.com/keynotes.

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