When I travel for work, I enjoy speaking with taxi drivers during trips to and from the airport. Their personal stories and perspectives on the work they do and the city in which they live are often quite interesting. Whether it’s a spirited conversation with a Nigerian driver in Dallas about the pros and cons of the ride-sharing service, Uber, or a discussion about Washington political gridlock with a blustery guy from Brooklyn, I usually walk away with new knowledge or an appreciation for a different viewpoint. And I also get ideas for a blog post.

Such was the case last week when I chatted about the Internet and social media with a driver on my way from LaGuardia Airport. “We don’t learn anymore,” he said. “We just access information.” Later on, as I thought about what he said, it struck a chord with me as an important leadership lesson. One of the hallmarks of Thoughtful Leadership is learning – learning from successes, learning from failures, learning more about yourself, and learning about others. But true learning takes time and we often don’t allow ourselves the time to learn.

At a recent team retreat, a group of leaders discussed ways to more effectively capture and share learning from various projects underway. They found that, in the rush to completion and a focus on getting things done, their people were not taking time to debrief and review what they had accomplished. They were not learning from their experiences.

You can create a learning mindset in your organization by taking a few important actions:

  • Ask questions – to encourage your team to reflect on what they are doing, how they are working together, what is working well, and what can be improved upon
  • Reward – those who devote time and energy to identifying lessons learned and who create a learning culture within their teams
  • Model – the behavior that you want to see
  • Encourage risk-taking – in order to give permission to your team to push the envelope, think creatively, and fail sometimes.

How can you create a learning mindset within your organization?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For more ideas on how to help your team devote more time to learning, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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