Why Study and Learn?

December 16, 2009
180 Views

The more you study, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you forget. The more you forget, the less you learn. So why study? The less you study, the less you learn. The less you learn, the less you forget. The less you forget, the more you learn. So why study?

I recall laughing when I first heard this contradictory prose from my university days, but I had no choice but to ignore it and do the opposite. I was an industrial engineer then at Cornell University competing with top notch high school honors students. There was no option but to study hard.

Why is this relevant to our job and career today? Like many of you, I went to college and took classes and received grades. But when I left my scholastic education, which is formal and supervised, I then began my experiential education working in organizations. This is no different than you, and we all now know that the experiential education is much more behavioral and emotional than in the academic world doing your homework and raising your hand in class to show off to a professor that you know the correct answer.

The experiential education is unstructured and somewhat random. It comes at you. There is no course



The more you study, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you forget. The more you forget, the less you learn. So why study? The less you study, the less you learn. The less you learn, the less you forget. The less you forget, the more you learn. So why study?

I recall laughing when I first heard this contradictory prose from my university days, but I had no choice but to ignore it and do the opposite. I was an industrial engineer then at Cornell University competing with top notch high school honors students. There was no option but to study hard.

Why is this relevant to our job and career today? Like many of you, I went to college and took classes and received grades. But when I left my scholastic education, which is formal and supervised, I then began my experiential education working in organizations. This is no different than you, and we all now know that the experiential education is much more behavioral and emotional than in the academic world doing your homework and raising your hand in class to show off to a professor that you know the correct answer.

The experiential education is unstructured and somewhat random. It comes at you. There is no course syllabus. You just start accumulating knowledge and wisdom through all the interactions emanating from your assigned tasks or projects plus the colleagues, customers, and partners you work with.

With the experiential education your direct line manager is like the professor. Ever work for a lousy one? Real life doesn’t happen in the same way as with your scholastic education. In a university information comes directly to you via lectures and textbooks, and then you get tested and measured. With experiential education you are continuously tested, but you never really see it happen or how it happens. Others, who may have a profound influence promoting or impeding your career progress, are always judging you.

What does this have to do with enterprise performance management? Plenty. The success for how its various methodologies get communicated and implemented is highly governed by managers and employee teams. If there is a culture for learning, metrics, and discovery, that will be a good start. If not, these social issues are barriers that will need to be overcome.