In today’s fast-paced world the saying, “The only constant is change,” is more accurate than ever before. In this environment of constant change, it has become more critical for individuals and organizations to continuously assess and invest in their relevance. With that in mind, what defines relevance?
Regardless of the level of performance, customers, investors, employers and employees continue to ask, “What’s next?” Our response cannot be, “Look at all that I’ve done.” In most relationships, personal and professional, the value that has been provided has already been compensated for via a bill paid, a paycheck received, a favor returned or a kind act reciprocated. The value we provide to our stakeholders in the 21st century has to be continuous and increasing in meeting their changing needs. Only then do we ensure relevance.
Like beauty, relevance is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, the first step is to understand stakeholder needs. When was the last time you sought to understand your stakeholders’ needs, wants, aspirations, plans, challenges, etc.? When was the last time you sought to understand what you can do to help them close the gaps between where they are versus where they want to be? If it hasn’t been in the last month, week or maybe day, depending on the nature of the relationship, it has probably been too long.
The second step is to take an inventory of your personal toolkit. How up-to-date are your knowledge, skills, and abilities? Do you have the capability and the capacity to effectively help your stakeholders to close the gaps between their current and desired state? The answers to these questions will help define the gaps in your toolkit as well as your relevance to your stakeholders. This brings us to the third step—lifelong learning.
Lifelong learning, whether individual or organizational, means a never-ending pursuit and acquisition of knowledge, skills, abilities, capability and capacity.
It includes self-study, active participation in training/discussions, seeking and implementing guidance from coaches and growing from experiences. This requires goals, plans, execution, assessment, reevaluation, re-commitment, renewed action and so forth.
When we engage in lifelong learning, we increase the probability that we will remain relevant to all of our stakeholders, including ourselves. As members of organizations, we need to challenge each other to engage in lifelong learning. As leaders, we need to provide opportunities for our people to participate in lifelong learning.
I am grateful to all of those at England Logistics who have made the commitment to lifelong learning as demonstrated by being named a member of Training magazine’s Training Top 125. Way to go!
How are you and your organization doing in the pursuit of lifelong learning?
As a Talent Management/HR executive with over 20 years of talent and human resource management experience, I strive to deliver value generating services to internal and external clients. This has provided me with the ability to lead or influence people in developing solutions to achieve higher levels of measurable success. My professional interests are targeted toward helping clients achieve their optimum performance through people solutions.