You’re never too busy to show up and learn

Alex: Gareth, let’s think a little bit about how people engage with learning, and I’ve got a sceptical side of my brain that sometimes thinks that people feel that they’re too busy to learn.

I remember one organization I was speaking with many years ago. I think it was in the financial sector.

They wanted to do what we would normally spend a couple of days doing in two hours.

They truthfully believed that they were smart enough to be able to learn everything that we would’ve, done with that group over two days in two hours.

And what they didn’t get bluntly is that change of behaviour, which is ultimately why people are learning in our industry, training to do something different, changing behaviour doesn’t happen in the head.

It has to happen through engagement and through activity. People have to apply what they learn. What’s your experience of the “too busy to learn” challenge that we face? from time to time?


Gareth: Yeah. It happens all too often and you have to get people saying, “oh, this took too long” or “I’ve done this before” or “I’ve had twenty years experience” and I often retort, well, have you had twenty years of experience or one year repeated twenty times.

There’s a difference between those two things. I guess the analogy I always use is, if you think about sports people, for example, the top sports people are always looking for ways to improve their performance. Not many of them would win the championship and then say, oh, those skills and capabilities that won this year’s championship are going to be okay for next year. That doesn’t generally translate into success next year, but yet in business, all too often, that is the attitude that people turn up as.


Alex: So, how do we break that cycle then?

So I’ve got a view that leaders in an organization are critical to this success and their behaviour as a result of that will influence the way that people show up. That from your experience, how do we break that cycle and actually make it work? Yeah.


Gareth: I mean, look, there’s lots of things here, but I think let’s just go for that leaders first. At the end of the day, as a leader, you want to be modelling the behaviour that you want your people to do.

And if you’re not, then too often training and development people is something that’s done to people as opposed to do with people so you create that culture, which we spoke about before.

I can just recall some of not the best examples where I mean, I can think of some individuals of people who have come onto our programs and maybe have done it like four or even five times. But they’re still coming up knowing that they’re to learn. Yeah okay, they know the concepts and things like that, but they also recognize the fact that, look, A, they’re modelling the behaviour. B, they’re going to pick some stuff up because if you’re practicing and working with colleagues nine times out of ten, there’s something or a different angle or something that you haven’t really thought about.

There’s a learning experience in there. And, critically as a leader, you are setting the learning example. If you’re not, why on earth would anybody turn up with a mindset that was going to be positive?


Alex: I think one of the most illuminating things that you said there Gareth is around is, it’s not something you do to people, you don’t train people in terms of, it’s not something that you sign up to an organization to do.

You need to embrace it and that’s leaders first and leaders taking the initiative around it and truly embracing it and expecting it is going to be a critical part of success.


Gareth: Absolutely.


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