11.29.18 | Chris Daily |
“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” – Matty Mullins
In many of my Agile classes, typically the time we’re talking during a retrospective, I boldly proclaim…
“If you get nothing else out of this class, leave with an understanding that you need to improve continuously. If you do this, you will be able to fix the problems you encounter.”
During the last 10 years, I have certainly tried to improve continuously. It typically wasn’t by choice, but out of necessity. I originally had left an employer due to cost-cutting initiatives and found that I was between the proverbial “rock and a hard spot.” I was leading a large group but had general management skills that were not in demand in Indianapolis. I needed to figure out something, and that’s when I stumbled upon Scrum.
But that was just the start. What was I going to do next? It was apparent to me that achieving a CSM certification was just the start, not the end.
So that’s when I learned that I needed to embrace the idea of being a continuous learner. The will is there: I have about 20 books that I need to get through stacked on my desk.
“Too Busy to Be Better”
As I train and work with Agile teams, I am consistently surprised by how many people are not continuous learners.
As we continue the dialogue during the retrospective, I’ve been witness to a few primary reasons (or excuses, whatever label you desire to use) for not prioritizing continuous improvement.
- The 1st reason is the tried-and-true “I’m too busy.” I’m not going to spend any time on this one because you know it’s a matter of prioritization. Often, we value and rank other things above learning right now. This is reflected in our core values of “not wanting to get too far behind.”
- The 2nd reason I hear – “If it’s part of the job, then the company needs to allow me time to learn.” Unfortunately, the days of employees being taken care of by their employer are over. What’s more – should you leave the company, not having relevant and current skills will make finding your next adventure that much more difficult.
Improvement Fueled By Curiosity
So what is one to do?
Live curiously by becoming a continuous learner.
Get started by spending one hour a week learning something new. The topic doesn’t even need to be related to your job today, nor does it need to be tied to work at all. Pick a time that you can commit to every week. After four weeks, renew your commitment by increasing to two hours a week. Spending two hours a week translates into 2 ½ weeks of robust learning throughout the year.
This can make an incredible difference in your job performance and your life. Think of how 2 1/2 weeks of vacation can completely change your mindset, your perspective, and your drive.
Pick something you’re passionate about and get started. I promise you’ll be more engaged and energized. Repetition creates a habit – this is a habit you want to keep.