How much are you learning every day? Are you keeping pace with your market or are you falling behind? Whether you like it or not, the world is accelerating forward in a never ending, relentless quest to advance, create better products and provide better services. This relentless pursuit of improvement means that, as leaders, we must maintain at least the same level of personal growth as the market space we are in, or we risk becoming irrelevant. As General Shinseki stated;
“If you don’t like change, you’re gonna like irrelevance even less.“
There are many examples of irrelevance overtaking businesses over the last few years. From Blockbuster completely missing the streaming video space to Blackberry’s disintegration and Nortel’s obliteration, irrelevance can be devastating. There are many reasons why these companies failed but the underlying reason is that they did not keep pace with the rate of change of business in their market space.
The same thing can happen to us as individuals if we are not keeping pace in our area of expertise. The world is changing continuously and this change is happening at an accelerated rate. If we do not continually and purposefully learn, we will become irrelevant very quickly! For example;
- If your market is seeing a 10 percent growth rate in knowledge every year, that would mean that knowledge doubles every 7 years. So, if you are not doubling your personal knowledge every seven years, you are falling behind the market and you will become irrelevant.
- If your market is seeing a 15 percent growth rate in knowledge every year, that would mean that knowledge doubles every 5 years. So, if you are not doubling your personal knowledge every five years, you are falling behind the market and you will become irrelevant.
The interesting thing about this rate of growth of knowledge is that much of the knowledge in many markets is totally new and the knowledge that you learned in the past is no longer even relevant. For example, the knowledge required to build a business consisting of purchasing DVDs and renting them is completely different than the knowledge required to purchase video streaming licenses and building an online system capable of streaming millions of videos simultaneously to your service subscribers.
Rather than mindlessly hurtling towards irrelevance, we must purposefully carve out time every day to spend learning and growing so that we and our businesses can stay in front of the knowledge growth curve.
What are you doing today and every day to maintain your knowledge edge and avoid irrelevance?