Chief Learning Officer, 10+ Years in Business Development & Leadership, Former Infantry Officer
January 22nd, 2018
I did it again. I'm 60 seconds away from my alarm going off, and I’ve carelessly wasted the extra minute of sleep I could have gotten.
Another day begins.
4:30 a.m.: Get out of bed 4:45 a.m.: Get stuff for workout 4:50a.m.: Meditate 5:15a.m.: Work out 6:20a.m.: Sneak back into the house (so I don’t wake the kids up) 6:20 to 7:00a.m.: Go through yesterday’s email, respond as necessary 7:00a.m.: Shower 7:10a.m.: Get dressed 7:15 to 8:00a.m.: Back to email - this time focused on my daily blog subscriptions 8:15a.m.: Take kids to school 8:45a.m.: Drive to office 9:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.:Get after it! (i.e. "work," "meeting after meeting") 5:30 p.m.:Drive home 6:00 p.m.:Dinner with family 6:30 p.m.:Help with homework 7:30 p.m.:Put kids to bed 7:45 p.m.:Say hi to my wife 8:00 - 9:30 p.m.:Read / Watch TV 9:45 p.m.: Sleep
To most of you this probably sounds eerily similar.
"Where did my day go? How am I going to fit anything to make myself better into the day? What can get cut? How can I find time to learn?"
"Why Aren't There More Hours in the Day?"
I don’t have the answers to these questions. I can only share with you how I attack these problems, and how we are trying to build an organization focused on lifelong learning.
Because while I can't fit everything I'd like into my schedule, making space for a daily commitment to learning is something no leader should depriortize for themselves or their team members.
"You need to get better everyday. Continuous learning is a must. You have to make time for professional development."
Ask any IMPACTer, I probably say each one of those 10 times a day and with good reason.
As I’ve mentioned before, my background isn’t in marketing and sales; it’s in leadership, so there is a learning curve I’m working through to best serve our team.
To combat this learning curve and be a better leader for the company, each day I immerse myself into becoming a student of leadership and of IMPACT.
It's funny; This post was supposed to simply be an article highlighting the five most influential books I read in 2017, but here we are….
Here is how I am attacking being a student of leadership and a student of the organization I lead.
The description of my day above is pretty accurate.
Doesn’t look like there is a ton of time to do any studying or learning right? Here’s the secret, thought…
My “Secrets” to Continuous Learning
1. Make the Most of Your Commute
For the most part, when I’m driving, I’m either listening to a podcast or an audiobook. Here are a few I turn to the most:
The Learning Leader Show. I listen to this on my way to and from the gym on Monday mornings. It’s a weekly leadership show put on by Ryan Hawk, who is an amazing interviewer, a true student of leadership, and a very inspiring person.
The Hubcast. Started by our friends at The Sales Lion and now continuing at IMPACT, I listen to this one to make sure I am up to date with all things HubSpot and what George and Marcus’ thoughts on them.
I also listen to each of the IMPACT podcasts (The IMPACT Show, Inbound Success, Creator’s Block, and MarketHer). These provide great insight into what we do at IMPACT, but also into the team at IMPACT.
2. Read the Right Blogs/Books
Podcasts aside, I subscribe to several blogs that I browse every day before leaving the house:
Each of these provides me an opportunity to either learn, ask questions, or better understand the team.
Books, however, are my primary love, in terms of content. I enjoy getting fully immersed for hours on end in a topic. My mother is and has always been a ferocious reader, a trait that has definitely rubbed off and one I hope to pass on to my kids.
I have a tendency of getting sucked into a book for the better part of a weekend… I am usually reading two books at a time (one I am actually reading, the other I am listening to). I like to finish two books a week, but I’ll settle at one a week.
As I joked earlier, here are seven books I’ve read recently that I’ve found incredibly helpful.
They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. I read this book in three sittings before IMPACT Live 2017 and it’s a must for inbound marketers, sales teams, and leaders. There have been several posts in IMPACT Elite lately about what people are reading or what people recommend, and They Ask, You Answer is always on the list. (It’s also pretty cool to say that Marcus is a friend and one of the best people I know).
Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. Now,this is one of the best leadership books I’ve ever read. It highlights the behaviors of leaders who act as “multipliers,” getting the most out of their teams, and leaders who act as “diminishers,” generally getting the minimum. Another must-read for leaders and aspiring leaders, this book had such an impact on me, I asked all of the directors at IMPACT to read it.
One Missionby Chris Fussell. The follow up to Team of Teams, Chris tells the how to build a team of teams in this book. As I’ve discussed before, One Mission, has helped us figure out how to align our team and ensure that we maintain a shared consciousness.
Killing Marketingby Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose. Another must-read for all marketers, this book teaches you how you can turn your marketing department into a profit center rather than an expense. We’re implementing a lot of this at IMPACT right now.
Permission to Screw Up by Kristen Hadeed. This book highlights the trials and tribulations of a leader who learned a ton of lessons the hard way. The transparency that Kristen shows us in this book is amazing and at times brought me to tears.
The Coaching Habitby Michael Bungay Stanier. Out of the all of those mentioned above, this book had the most actionable advice. Michael truly teaches us how to conduct meaningful one-on-ones where we coach people through issues, rather than simply solve their problems. This is also going to be mandatory reading for all IMPACT leaders.
Above is my process.
It is how I attack professional development (which is also truly personal development). It is also how I keep a pulse on what is going on in our industry and with the team at IMPACT.
If you’re reading this, you are committed to getting better each day. You have a desire to learn, lead, and to develop others. Learning is a priority for you, which is how you’ve found the time to read this.
The question is, how do we get our people to join us on the journey of lifelong learning?
Finding time for development isn’t a time management issue, it is a priority issue.
Simply talking about lifelong learning isn’t enough. It needs to be part of your organization's DNA, its culture. You need to not only talk to your team about development, you have to show them you’re doing the work as well.
Ask questions like, what did you learn this week? Make it part of your interactions. Share the articles you’ve read, the books, the podcasts, the videos, etc…