Here’s a question I’m working through:
Does the breadth of your learning impact the depth of your learning?
I know … I think in tweets. But to say it a little less 140 character’ish: How much more could we learn by expanding the context of our education? And I don’t mean studying more people in your current industry. Granted, it’s not natural to study other industries and organizational leaders unlike us, but I think finding breadth could be a hidden ingredient to accelerated growth.
This idea hit me recently while at a conference. It was a great conference full of wonderful leaders—whom I’ve heard from too many times to count. I saw an advertisement for another conference. Guess who was speaking? Basically the same people. Don’t get me wrong. I love and respect these leaders. They’re my mentors—some directly. But I wonder—does a homogenous learning community stunt growth at some point?
When we only learn from our own kind, we become critical more than curious.
As a pastor, I primarily learn from other churches, church leaders and church models. As a younger leader, that was a great place to start. Seeing other perspectives and approaches to church helped solidify how I wanted to create and lead a local church. There was great clarity found in watching those who were already doing it. Yet the more comfortable I got as a leader in my church, the more critical I became of leaders in the church. I accidentally replaced learning with critiquing.
Of course, that’s not a healthy dynamic, but it is a natural progression. When we visit other organizations within our industry, we are hypercritical of what we understand (or think we understand).
Here’s what I’ve discovered: My leadership growth for my church is limited when I only learn from leaders in the church. This principle extends to EVERY industry, company and organization. Back to the principle (and tweet):
The breadth of your learning will influence the depth of your learning.
Maybe that’s not new to everyone, but for me, it has created a new category from which to learn. When I seek out leaders in other industries, it helps me in three specific ways: