Business is Learning and Learning is Business: Part One

Next birthday, in October, I will enter my next decade. Ouch! I think I just put myself into the old age category. With that category comes retirement (would not even think about it), and physical challenges (started with my first hip replacement, in my forties–I have had three). I have always “hung around” learning while I worked in various human resources, safety, and training positions. The importance of learning must be stressed for any organization to be successful. This two-part series will address how they are mutually inclusive – intertwined.

Let’s start with the definitions of both business and learning.

Learning: the process of getting an understanding of something by studying it or by experience.

Business: the activity of buying and selling goods and services.

The dynamic or the value one gets from a business, the product or service, is why one purchases the product offered. When learning is your business, and your business is learning, everyone wins. Learning in business and business in learning is a must for businesses to grow, adapt, survive, and flourish. I am finding that out.

For businesses to succeed and for learning to be successful, communication is integral. How we communicate presents a myriad of opportunities, challenges with opportunities to leverage learning into the value proposition offered by a business.

The communication process is fragile. There are problems in communication that are fundamental to both learning and business. I have experienced most interesting communication issues through the years that I thought I would share with you.

1. I called a forestry service in Wisconsin about land management and never received a call back.

2. Access to land was difficult, if not impossible because of construction at the intersection of Route 13 and 82. I called the Wisconsin DOT. They called me back, five days later.

3. A local company asked me to submit a proposal. I submitted a training proposal, and never heard back. Crickets!

4. I have applied for several positions, and never heard back from the companies. One was a prominent organization.

Lesson learned and applied early in my career:

In the late 1980’s, when I was in corporate life, I had an opening and advertised in both the Des Moines Register and the Quad City Times. We received over 500 responses. Please keep in mind that this was pre-computer. I wanted to make sure that each applicant who had submitted a resume would receive some type of response. I went through, read each resume, selected 10 to phone interview, and decided that the others would need some type of communication from us that another person had been selected. Donna, bless her, would end up typing two, five, or maybe 10 “thank you” letters each day, time permitting. I felt good that the communication cycle was completed.

More in learning, business and communication in two weeks.