If a company has no established set of core values, they still operate from values.
They just don’t know what their values are. They are not expressed, but they are still profound.
The best situation for a company is to express their core values clearly. They should be both visible and discussed. They should be understood fully by the staff.
I am blessed to work at a great company, one where we express core values and strive to live them out. They keep us focused; they make us better at what we do and how we do it.
One of our core values is “Pursue Knowledge”.
You might be wondering why this is a core value at our company or any company. After all, don’t most companies hire smart people who already possess all the knowledge needed when they hire them?
Well, that might be true if the world was a static, unchanging place.
We don’t live in a world like that.
The world we live in changes constantly, and that includes the world of business.
A Friend’s Tale
The other day I was talking with a friend. He is a very accomplished executive over 50 years of age.
We were talking about the need for continuing education, in order to stay current in our skills.
He was talking to me about a previous position he held. He told me about the requirements of a position he was considered for at a very prestigious hospital.
He used this exact phrase: “I didn’t keep up with any developments in management or leadership”.
His statement caught me off guard a bit.
But what he was reflecting is a real problem for people in the workforce. If we don’t continue to learn, the “fit” of our skills to a job can begin to degrade.
In other words, we have to pursue knowledge. When we fail to continue adding knowledge, we begin to become irrelevant.
The Antidote to Irrelevance
If we want to keep our skills current we need to add to our knowledge. Here’s how:
1. Read. Frequently. There is nothing more beneficial to adding to our personal knowledge than to read.
2. Read. Broadly. A danger for us is to read solely in our chosen field. Yes, we need to strive to be subject experts. But we also need a breadth of knowledge.
3. Take classes. One article I recently read said that “stacking certificates” may soon become more valuable than a formal degree (or advanced degree). Certification in a given area is already less expensive than a formal degree.
4. Take classes online. This is differentiated from the above only because I want everyone to remember that the Internet allows us to participate in some amazing educational opportunities, frequently at little or no cost.
5. Train someone else in what you just learned. Adult learners internalize what they learn far more readily if they teach it to someone else.
What about you and your company or organization? Are you continuing to add knowledge to your arsenal?