My leadership role at McMaster requires that I spend time learning and not just doing. I have written before in my blog about the Growth mindset and I believe very firmly that leaders require a growth mindset, with more adaptability and willingness to learn than anywhere else along the career ladder. We are steering strategy and strategic direction, leading and guiding others, and generally have more responsibility for ensuring our organizations achieve success. We need to know where the puck is going, not where it is. And we have to adapt and be agile to avoid stagnation and irrelevance ourselves.
Learning has many flavours, including studying theory by pursuing certifications or degrees, experiential learning (learning by doing) and being mentored or coached by others. I will admit I am unlikely to pursue another degree or certification anytime soon, however I learn ‘on the job’ every day, and many of you are great teachers, so thank you! I also look to peers and others for mentoring, and am very thankful for the strong level of sharing and support that the CIO community offers. On occasion I seek out professional coaching, including very recently when I have been working my way through some work/life ‘flow’ hiccups.
One of my fun recent purchases was a membership to Master Class. It was a spontaneous purchase at the end of April when they had a buy one/get one free subscription drive. So I bought one and gave the other one to my brother in Calgary. You can get access to all classes for about $240 a year. Less than a dollar a day! And I know I shouldn’t say this, but if you are in a household, why not share? I love it – although I haven’t even scraped the surface yet. In my mind it is like a combination of Ted Talks- BIO pic – documentary – Online Courses, but all wrapped up and delivered by industry heavyweights – famous ones. High production value, great entertainment. And if you like, you can take it pretty seriously and do coursework etc. As per above, I am not aiming for a degree or certification so I just watch, but have scribbled a note down here and there. My classes so far: Anna Wintour, Neil Gaiman and David Sedaris. My brother has viewed way more including Steve Martin, Annie Leibovitz, Wolfgang Puck, and Alice Walters (his fave so far).
Perhaps a bit more mundane but more readily accessible, most of my day to day learning comes from reading various industry publications, and especially periodicals. I subscribe to many of these which can easily fill my inbox daily. I have most of them go to my personal email to avoid losing the trees for the forest in my McMaster inbox. And I find a lot of reading material on Twitter, too, although I have to work hard to avoid rabbit holes. With gratitude for all these sources, I am constantly ingesting information about the Higher Ed landscape, about Higher Ed IT, and about the IT sector. I also read across topics which aren’t specific to Higher Ed and/or IT – Leadership, Strategy, Health, Human Resources, Finance and Economics, Innovation, Fitness, Literature and Philosophy – combinations (isn’t everything interrelated?).
What do I do with all that information? Sometimes it just gets added into my already full brain and adds flavour or colour to something that is already resident up there. Every now and then if I find something really good I push it along as it pertains to someone’s area of responsibility (some of you are on the receiving end of that!) If there is something particularly poignant it can at times spur me to action. Often it informs what I write in my blog. And now and then what I read is quickly forgotten – entertainment in the moment – although maybe it returns through my subconscious when I am dreaming.
Regardless of what I do with the information, I think it is my responsibility and my fortune to just keep learning. You never know when the next big idea will be planted! And with that, here is the best item from my readings over the last week. Enjoy!
Let me know how you like to learn, or if you have read or learnt something really great of late. Sharing is caring!
That’s how I see IT this week – have a great week, everyone!