Continual learning is a cornerstone of personal and professional growth, and its importance cannot be overstated, especially in the context of business. Learning is a lifelong journey, and it is crucial for individuals to recognise its significance to thrive in an ever-evolving world. Looking back at history, we can uncover valuable lessons that emphasise the enduring relevance of continuous learning in business.Therefore, we must ask ourselves whether we are striving to continue learning, irrespective of the position you hold in a business?
One of the most compelling reasons to continue learning throughout one’s life is the dynamic nature of the business landscape. Over the past few decades, we have witnessed tumultuous shifts in technology, markets, and consumer preferences. Those who failed to adapt and learn were often left behind, while forward-thinking individuals and organisations thrived. The dawn of the internet and digital technology, for instance, has transformed how business is conducted, making it imperative for professionals to stay updated with the latest tools and trends. In a quote from Brad Field, he says “you don’t have to believe history repeats itself, but you should accept that history rhymes”. Reflecting on this quote, should we be actively seeking out stories of the past so we can continue to learn?
Sir Garry Hawkes stood a leader and CEO who strongly believed in a growth mindset. The acquisition of Kenley House for one, showed true commitment to the investment and training of the people at Gardner Merchant. Are there examples of businesses today that demonstrate investment in training and development of their people? The management approach was ahead of its time as inclusivity and the absolute support of all individuals was embedded in the culture, understanding that talent knows no bounds. An incomprehensible strong sense of values emanated throughout the business which in turn created a sustainable business that could stand the test of time. There is undoubtedly a strong lesson to be learnt from the tale of Gardner Merchant. It was built with incredibly strong foundations, but is this enough? Some would say not, as a legacy doesn’t not make a business untouchable. Do we place enough focus nowadays on the ethos and values that make the foundations of businesses? One of the most powerful takings home from the story of Gardner Merchant, is the safe space created, which supported employees to be bold and courageous and not afraid to fail. Much success comes from moments of failure, but that does not mean people are still not afraid to make mistakes. Does that place some responsibility on the company culture to essentially ‘welcome’ failure?
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, individuals must adopt a growth mindset, a belief that they can develop their abilities through dedication and hard work. This mindset encourages learning to achieve personal and professional goals. In business, this translates into staying informed about industry trends, acquiring new skills, and fostering adaptability. Furthermore, continual learning fosters resilience. The ability to bounce back from setbacks and learn from failures is a crucial trait for success in any field. By embracing the lessons of the past, we can navigate the challenges of the present and prepare for the opportunities of the future.
To order a copy of Sir Garry Hawkes’ Memoir – please click the link below.
Written by Izzy McHattie, EP Business in Hospitality