David chats about how he uses goals to create his future.
This year’s Learning at Work Week is based on the theme ‘Create the future’. Having a week dedicated to learning is a great reminder of the importance of learning. But I believe it should be taken in the spirit that it’s there to remind you to put learning at the forefront of your mind, to truly achieve a culture of continuous learning… it’s not something to dust off once a year!
This made me think about how we approach learning at Rambutan… something we’ve definitely improved over time. Now that we have a clear vision and mission, it’s much easier to see what our future looks like. It’s easy for me to look at the wording of our vision, ‘To be the world’s most respected behaviouralists…’ and know what personal development I need to do to achieve this. I can watch out for seminars, podcasts and TED Talks. My ‘True North’ for development is clear! I might really fancy underwater basket weaving as a course. If it’s for fun, then that’s fine. But, if it’s intended to get me somewhere in terms of the future, I need to reflect if that course is a good use of my time.
At Rambutan, we budget for training and development every year, which helps each bunch member improve whatever areas they need, whether this be Marketing, Finance, Consulting, etc. We like to put our money where our mouth is (so to speak) because we truly care about our team developing to be the best version of themselves they can be. Bosses (we use this title more tongue in cheek… coach and mentor would be a more accurate description) are there to help guide you with your development plan and ensure your welfare. They take a keen interest in your future and where you’re heading, rather than micromanage (or manage at all for that matter).
Something I believe works extremely well is having get-togethers with all of the team on a regular basis. Every month, we have big all-team meetings… the content of which is 90% developmental. This way, we’re ensuring continuous development throughout the year, creating a culture of learning. Developing each other and sharing expertise is a huge gift, which we all generously enjoy offering to each other.
I find continuous improvement is easy if I’m fascinated by the topic. If I was told I had to know all about gardening, I’d find it painful. I’d find any excuse not to read about it or gain the knowledge because it doesn’t interest me. Whereas, if it’s behavioural science, I’d take a book on holiday about it. I don’t see it as work because I find it fascinating. I encourage everyone to find their fascination and, if you can line that up with your profession, bingo!
To create my own future, I continuously reflect on my goals. Once every year, I reflect on and update my five-year goals. I turn these into affirmations, to ensure I’m always heading in my best direction. One goal I had back when I was in my 30s was to start a Management Consultancy… safe to say I achieved this one! Reflecting on what I’ve achieved helps me to acknowledge the successes I’ve had already and motivates me to create more goals. I believe that goals are a directional thing that you should commit to, but not be held hostage to. You may not have fully figured out the possibilities of your life, or where you want to end up, so don’t be limited by goals you set 10 years ago. Creating your future takes time and is likely to change as you grow!
A brilliant book on goal setting is ‘Awaken the giant within’ by Tony Robbins. Stephen Covey also talks about how you should begin with the end in mind when setting your goals, in his book ‘The seven habits of highly effective people’. Having a picture of where you want to end up helps you to create your overall goal and any sub-goals that’ll help. Putting aside an hour a month to stop and contemplate the questions, ‘Where am I going? How will I achieve my goals? Will I be happy when I achieve them? Is my development helping me get there?’, will help you to ensure you’re on the path you want for yourself.
I love the phrase, ‘We don’t stop dancing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop dancing’. You should have goals for all aspects of your life, whether that be physical, financial, relationships, intellectual, etc. Keep dancing and keep learning (even from mistakes). Carol S. Dweck’s book ‘Mindset: The new psychology of success’ helped me with this. It highlights how important it is to have an open mindset… seeing mistakes as something to learn from.
Emma, who is the brains behind this blog, asked me if there was something that originally inspired me to take a lifelong learning approach. There was. It’s my all-time favourite quote, by Gandhi, ‘Live as if you will die tomorrow but learn as if you will live forever’.