Perpetual Growth of Leaders Through Lifelong Learning #MondayBlogs

Perpetual Growth of Leaders Through Lifelong Learning #MondayBlogs

Guest writer Virginia Cooper returns this week with another look at ongoing education in “Perpetual Growth of Leaders Through Lifelong Learning,” our contribution to #MondayBlogs.

In an ever-evolving world, the concept of lifelong learning stands as a cornerstone for community leaders. It’s not merely about the accumulation of knowledge but rather a continuous journey of personal and professional development. This article from Learning Without Scars aims to underscore the significance of lifelong learning for community leaders, focusing on how it can shape their skills, perspectives, and effectiveness. By embracing a culture of perpetual growth, leaders can better serve their communities and foster environments of innovation and resilience.

Enhancing Leadership Abilities

Strong leadership is not an innate trait but a skill honed over time. Lifelong learning plays a pivotal role in this process.

  • Adopting New Leadership Styles: Exposure to diverse perspectives encourages leaders to adapt their leadership style to different situations and individuals.
  • Strategic Decision-Making: Continual learning fosters the ability to make informed, strategic decisions in the face of complex community challenges.
  • Emphasis on Self-Discipline: The essence of leadership lies in self-discipline. It enables leaders to model the values and work ethic they wish to see in their community.
  • Conflict-Resolution Skills: Learning about and experiencing various conflict-resolution strategies equips leaders to handle disagreements constructively.

Furthering Your Education

The pursuit of formal education, at any stage of life, can significantly enhance a leader’s expertise and credibility.

  • Online Computer Science Degree: When a person works to complete your online computer science degree, leaders are empowered with digital literacy, which is crucial in today’s technology-driven world. 
  • Interdisciplinary Studies: Engaging in interdisciplinary studies broadens a leader’s understanding of various sectors, promoting a holistic approach to community development.
  • Cultural and Ethical Understanding: Courses in cultural studies and ethics enhance a leader’s ability to navigate and respect diverse viewpoints and moral considerations.

Networking and Collaborative Learning

Lifelong learning often involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone to connect with others, fostering a network of collaboration and support.

  • Joining Professional Groups: Engaging with professional networks offers opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and shared learning.
  • Attending Workshops and Conferences: These gatherings provide a platform for exchanging ideas and staying abreast of current trends and challenges.
  • Community Engagement: Participating in community events and projects helps leaders understand the real-time needs and dynamics of their constituents.

Staying Abreast of Technological Advancements

In a rapidly changing technological landscape, staying updated is key for effective leadership.

  • Regularly Attending Tech Webinars: This keeps leaders informed about emerging technologies and potential applications in community development.
  • Hands-on Experience with New Technologies: Experimenting with new tools and platforms enhances a leader’s ability to integrate technology into community initiatives.
  • Promoting Digital Literacy in the Community: Leaders can advocate for and implement programs that increase the community’s engagement with technology.

Personal Development and Wellness

A leader’s personal well-being is integral to their effectiveness and resilience.

  • Mindfulness and Stress Management: Learning and practicing mindfulness techniques can help leaders manage stress and maintain clarity of thought.
  • Physical Fitness: Regular physical activity contributes to overall health, energy levels, and mental sharpness.
  • Lifelong Reading Habit: A habit of reading not only expands knowledge but also promotes empathy, imagination, and cognitive flexibility.

Lifelong learning is an indispensable tool for community leaders. It equips them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and perspective to navigate the complexities of leadership effectively. By committing to continuous personal and professional development and furthering their education, leaders can inspire change, foster community growth, and create a lasting impact. In this journey, the pursuit of knowledge becomes not just a professional obligation but a personal mantra for growth and resilience.

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What Is Your Why?

What Is Your Why?

Why do we do what we do?

This is a question that is often asked of classroom teachers. I disagree with the motivation behind what we do being something we deliberately overlook. In every career, it is important to understand YOUR why.

We can all say what we do, we can teach someone how we do it. But the why is always unique. Yes, we all want to make a living, so of course that is a “why” behind what we do. That only scratches the surface of who we are to our companies and who we are to our customers and who we are to our coworkers. What is your why?

This is a question I can’t answer for you. I can only answer what my own why is. It’s a pretty simple answer, really. YOU are my why. Even though our format is one of online learning now, my days of classroom teaching still drive what we do here at Learning Without Scars. Contributing to someone’s improvement and understanding is the reason I do what I do. Every student, every manager, every individual who comes through our virtual doors is a student. Helping students to succeed is the best why of all.

I encourage you to take a look around today as you are at work. Pay attention to your interactions and your processes throughout the day. I challenge you to answer the question: what is YOUR why?

The time is now.

Change #MondayBlogs

The past two weeks I spent reviewing two great dealers in Europe. One was in Norway and the other in Belgium. They were both family owned businesses with a strong history and terrific presence in their markets.

What I wanted to point out, however, is not how good they are at what they do, nor how skilled their employees are or how well their leadership executes strategies. No, it is how they view change.

Each part of the world seems to view change through a different lens. In North America one would think that American Companies would be right our front about innovation and change. Not so fast. In Canada you might be thinking about the conservative Canadian being more entrenched in tradition and not that open to change. Hang on there. Europe with all the centuries of tradition would be another case. Similarly, the South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Russia and Africa. All areas approach the need to change differently.

Change is difficult and except for a very small number of us would not be part of our lives. We love predictability. We struggle to learn how to live on our own, or the changes required when we get married or have children. We struggle to learn our jobs and get good at them. And once we get comfortable with our lives BAM along comes change.

I grew up in the late fifties and sixties, the 1900 version folks. Do you think the “baby boomers” see and have seen change? For starters think about this: The “Baby Boomers” were the first generation to have credit cards. No matter what you think about credit cards they have had a dramatic impact on the lives of everyone in the developed world. But the element of the credit card that I want to focus on is the unintended consequence of debt. We all have too much debt. Right? Look at governments, then look at credit card debt, then look at student debt. Need I say more?

Next look at Technology. I took a minor at University in Computer Science and learned how to “wire” Unit Record equipment. That is true. Most people would think about Unit Record computing in the same way that they would think about an “Outhouse” and indoor plumbing. But look how far the “computer” has come in the last seventy-five years. The last set of disc drives that I had to purchase cost over $1,000,000 that is right one million dollars. There were two banks of disc drives each four drives requiring a control unit. Each disc drive held a removed 44-megabyte storage unit. That eight-disc drive set up gave me 352 mega-bytes of disc storage and the cost was more than $1,000,000. Imagine that. Today I can buy a thumb drive with 8 GIGA-BYTES of storage for less than $20.00. How about that? Then we have cellular telephones. They are everywhere. They didn’t exist a short ten years ago. And what about AI, Artificial Intelligence? Big Blue, from IBL, beats the best chess player in the world. Watson wins Jeopardy. The self-driving car, the Roomba Robot vacuum, photography and on and on and on.

Jack Welsh, when he was CEO of General Electric is famous for saying “when the world around you is changing at a rate faster than you are, the end is near.” Look around you. The world is changing very quickly and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.

We need to embrace change as difficult as that might seem to many of you. To resist change is to be run over. So, look around. What could you do differently? What do you do that you don’t even need to do anymore? The world will be a better place and your job will be more enjoyable if you do things more effectively. The only thing in life that we don’t have enough of is time. Take advantage of all the time you are given. Make you job and your world a better place.

The Time is NOW.

Resources and Reading #MondayBlogs

Reading is so much more than an enjoyable pastime.

Reading can broaden the foundation we use to build our knowledge, taking our learning to the next level.

Tonight, quickly, I want to share with you all that we have resources available.

For quick bites, if you’re pressed for time, we have an entire library of articles available to you here.

If you have a little more time at hand, we also have an entire reading list of books that are we highly recommend.  That reading list can be accessed on this page.

I hope you find some ideas and thoughts that help you along the way.

The time is now.

Learning #MondayBlogs

Education has undergone many changes over the years.

From the 1800’s to now learning has changed dramatically. From the days of Aristotle, Plato and Socrates, the heroes of teaching and learning we have been on an interesting road. The quality of education has appeared to be based on the number of PhD’s on the faculty. Nobody talked abut the quality of the TEACHING. That has been one of the flaws of the education system.

In the 1960’s Clark Kerr gave a series of lectures at Harvard that were put into a book called “The Uses of the University.” Harvard had created the “elective” system whereby the student chose the curriculum. This resulted in a lot of people who graduated with very little “learning.” Kerr developed the California system with the UC system on the top, then private Universities, then Junior Colleges. The UC system for the ‘smarter” students to the others at the private to the lower skilled to the Junior Colleges or Technical schools. Imagine.

Yet there still exists a HUGE hole.

Who is it that qualifies the teachers?

How do we measure learning?

Today we have HUGE student loan debt.

How did we get here? When I went to University I paid less than $500.00/year plus books and lab fees. Today we are talking about more than $25,000/year plus, plus, and I am being very gentle. This level of tuition inflation is becoming ridiculous.

There was something else going on at the same time. Parents in the US had been convinced that their children would be better served if they went to a University. They would make more money over their lifetime. As a result, less than 10% of the population had a bachelor’s degree in 1960. That passed 20% in 1970 then 25% in the 1990’s and over 33% today. At the same time, it is said that 50% of the technical schools in America closed for lack of attendance. Quite a commentary isn’t it?

Many ideas of how people think and learn are a mystery to most people. However, at a few Universities learning scientists and computer engineers came together and started to develop educational tools that could be far more effective in teaching and learning. Mark Kamlet, the provost of Carnegie Mellon University, opines that 25 to 50 Universities are the total of the Universities that will survive over the coming decades. That is because teaching and learning are changing. The current universities are creating their own destruction. They are conducting research and they are trying to make things better.

In 1955 Herbert Simon attended a conference at Dartmouth where he and a small group of scientists gave a name to a new field of research called “Artificial Intelligence.” Learning is not a matter of accessing information but rather a matter of organizing and making sense of it. Cognitive scientists started asking the fundamental question. “How do people think and learn?” It is clear that our brain is a very complicated tool. The importance of thinking patterns and expertise means that learning needs to be looked at in different ways. The trouble with this is that this making developing courses very difficult. It is not easy to simulate working environments. Believe me we are in that business. But that is where as a society we are going. The University of Everywhere is here now and will become even more significant going forward.

We are perpetuating the class society with our education system.

Clark Kerr institutionalized this within the California system. If you have access to money you can get into a different school. Not a good approach to anything.

The new barriers of entry should be based exclusively on ability. Wouldn’t that be a nice change? That is where learning Management Software is taking us. That is where non-traditional teachers are coming from. We have to be extremely alert to the changes in learning.

We are mindful of these changes and watch the result of the student assessments from our online programs, not just to evaluate the student but also to evaluate our ability to transfer information. That is where we all have to go. Making learning easier and more effective.

The Time is NOW.

The Year in Review #MondayBlogs

2017 has been an eventful year for us.

We have been very busy.

The product offerings are filling out. We will have more individual subject specific classes (Learning On Demand – LOD) than anyone in our Industry. We introduced Job Function Specific Programs (Planned Specific Programs – PSP) this year and have ten available currently. We also have introduced the Virtual Classroom – VCR series which allows each employee within the Parts and Service groups to develop and obtain all the knowledge required to work effectively. Our foundation, management and supervisory training, we now call the Planned Learning Programs – PLPs. We are excited about all of these programs. We are well along the road to obtaining International Association for Continuous Education Training certification. We have created over five hundred minutes of film clips which we add to our learning programs to provide dynamism. We have opened a Vimeo Channel which contains some of our film clips as a “taste treat” for companies and individuals who are interested in seeing for themselves our style and content. And importantly, we introduced Socrates our mascot to the world.

Our goal is to provide you with the learning tools to allow your employees to become the best that they can be.

Let’s turn to your employees and their personal development. What is your goal for them?  What is their goal, personally?  What is their purpose in their job or their career? What is the purpose of your business? Surveys clearly indicate that people want to work for companies that have a clear purpose. Clarity of purpose is not that common in businesses today. In America surveys tell us that over 80% of business fails to achieve their strategy.  This failure in achievement is caused by lack of clarity. 95% of employees cannot state the strategy of the business.

There are a few truths to be exposed.

  • Know your goals and what can be achieved.
  • Have clear targets but recognize they are constantly moving.
  • Don’t let technology take over – business is very personal
  • Seek common ground with your market and customers
  • Constantly be doing research
  • Celebrate your successes don’t be afraid to be good.
  • Be extremely visible
  • Make it personal
  • Seek outside opinions
  • Keep it simple.

Skilled people are strong in building and maintaining relationships with your customers. They are your heroes. Let’s not forget to invest in their continuing education.

The time is now.

What Is Training? #MondayBlogs

During the economic downturn, the first budget to be slashed was the training, or employee development, budget.

When it’s time to tighten our belts, training is the first thing to go.

But it is clear that employees need to invest in your business, just as you invest in your employees.  One of the things I teach in our classes is that our procedures and methods must be understood, and agreed upon, by the team.  In other words, your employees must not only understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, but agree with the goal and the approach to that goal.

Lately, we’ve seen more room for employee development again in the budgets.  We have also seen employees taking a greater role and a more vested interest in their business’ success when they are provided with a foundation through training.

People are our greatest asset.  They are your heroes with your customers, and they help to build the relationships that give a business “customers for life.”

It is crucial that we never forget that, although our industry is equipment, it is the people who make or break it for a business.

We must make an investment in the future through providing our employees with the training and tools they need to grow in our business.  This is an investment that benefits every aspect of the business.

The time is now.


Customers for Life #MondayBlogs

In selling, we often look towards finding new customers and cultivating a relationship with them.  But what about the customers we already have?

Japan taught us the concept, and value, of “customers for life.”  With proper care, via a “hugger” or a “hunter,” there is no reason for us to lose our existing customers.

Customer Retention is often overlooked in our average marketing focus, as we seek to broaden our reach.

We must be wise, and be sure to appreciate and nurture the relationships we already have.  There is no “old business” in our business: our relationships are dynamic, and changing as our industry does.

The time is now.

Rejection #MondayBlogs

Have you ever noticed that professionals have a hard time with hearing “no” from their customers?

We take it personally.

We feel we are being rejected.

I contend that every “no” you hear from your customer is a gift.  It brings you that much closer to the sale, to the “yes” that you want to hear when you are trying to make the sale.

When it comes to overcoming objections, we have to remember that it isn’t personal.  The objection doesn’t mean that we are in some way “less than.”  The objection tells us about our customer, about our competition, about how our company is perceived within the marketplace.  The objection doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us.

We often forget this fact.


Don’t be afraid to close the deal.


The time is now.


How Does Training Work? #MondayBlogs

To say that we are excited about our employee development programs would be an understatement.  We know that what we do is groundbreaking for our industry, and a positive movement for employers, employees, and customers alike.

For too long, training budgets were non-existent.  Now that we have clear paths forward for employee growth and excellence, the video below shows you a glimpse of how a Learning Without Scars program works.

The time is now.