Lesson: Track What You Learn

January 9, 2016 – 8:27 pm

When I was recruiting the fabulous Chris McDowall for a job, he asked me “why do YOU work here?”  I replied that I was learning lots.  He then said the most important thing anyone has said to me this decade: “what are you learning?”

I goldfished for a few seconds and then had to say, “I can’t remember right now, but it’s all GOOD STUFF.”  See, I was learning but I wasn’t paying the right amount of attention what I was learning, so it wasn’t sticking.  This matches good educational practice too: after you do something, take time to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t so you can be more deliberate in improving the next time you tackle it.

That day, I started to record what I was learning.  I use EverNote, and keep a single note.  Each day I might learn several lessons, so there are several entries.  The lessons range from small (“The time before meals arrive is great for conversation because you’re out of the office.  Food courts are suboptimal for this reason.“) to weighty (“Everyone needs someone to talk to“).  I attempted to be epigrammatic rather than long and expository, so each “lesson” turns out to be the handle upon which a set of experiences and some deeper thoughts hang.

I’ll be blogging those lessons.  I won’t blog the lessons about coworkers or business situations that are still too fresh for me to be able to talk about in public, but that still leaves plenty to share.

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