Last weekend I attended a conference in Los Angeles for my fellow Vistage Chairs around the world. 730 of us gathered to learn, build our skills and connect with our community. I’ve been facilitating a CEO roundtable for 6 years now and am just beginning to feel adept at leading our group. What struck me most about my time with so many other more tenured Chairs is that everyone showed up eager to learn, including many of the “experts” who taught some of the breakout sessions.
Going over my notes on the plane back to Chicago it struck me that this community was entirely devoted to helping others – in this case, C-level leaders – get better at what they do. The impact of coaching over 20,000 CEO members around the world has a ripple effect on the businesses they run, the communities they live in and the families they go home to at the end of the day. This is also true of professional leadership coaches around the world who, at some point were called to live a life of wholehearted contribution. Suddenly millions of people are positively impacted, all because a practitioner chose to be of service to others.
This ripple effect is effective in part because the “expert” practitioners STAY IN A LEARNING STANCE and are always trying to get better at practicing their craft. I think this is a stance that anyone in a leadership position – parent, a non-profit founder or person running for political office – can take. Socrates, the father of learning by questioning, said, “The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.”
That’s refreshing to me as I gain more years and apparent credibility – if I am to keep getting better at my work, keeping a beginner’s mind will suit me well. How do you stay in a learning stance?