Learning Before Others is The Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Learning Before Others is The Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage

In a society where opportunities are, at the same time, more frequent and difficult to seize, knowledge is the path that can help us achieve our goals. But we only sometimes know how to obtain and use it. The speed with which the hyper-connected world moves, linked to ever-increasing competitiveness that crosses borders, can only be addressed through innovation. But how can we develop our capabilities in this constant and fleeting change? What skills will make us able to be innovative and achieve our goals? Do we have the necessary knowledge? Do we know how to learn?

A paradigm shift in learning

The old ways of life that marked previous generations are not valid today. The study-work-retire scheme sounds like a distant echo of the 20th century, and the question arises as to whether today’s training centers are capable of meeting the concerns and needs of new students:

Today we live in the Knowledge Society. That means that value creation is produced by what we humans know. The competition to acquire better opportunities depends on what we can contribute with our knowledge. We need to move from education by cycles to lifelong learning. You need more than just saying that you have passed the university cycle by doing all the assignments and writing dozens of essays examples. Now you need to constantly learn because we live in an exponential time that forces knowledge to have a short obsolescence period. 

Learning before others is the only sustainable competitive advantage.

Cross-cutting skills

We must learn more, learn better, and learn sooner. To do this, we must train a series of skills: on the one hand, personal skills, such as hard and soft skills, and on the other, the ability to combine learning from different areas of knowledge, the transversal skills. 

Leadership as a driver of learning

Learning is not something that only affects people as individuals and must be encouraged, especially in teams. Leaders cannot be passive objects but facilitators of change and promoters of knowledge:

The job of the Leader in the Knowledge society is to ask hard questions, push the frontiers of their team’s knowledge, learn before others through daily study and motivate through continuous creative learning.

This vision of leadership can help companies in the current “war for talent,” which pits institutions and companies around the world against each other to attract and retain the best professionals, and even curb trends such as the so-called “Great Resignation” experienced in the US in 2021, whereby many professionals left their jobs to focus their lives on occupations or companies that are friendlier to their personal needs. Can transversal skills help a company retain talent in such a competitive environment?

Human beings are in permanent pursuit of happiness. If a job offer offers sacrifice and suffering in exchange for money, and market conditions change, these people will leave their jobs. The job of an empathetic leader is to promote the creation of new shared knowledge. Human beings are intelligent and friendly by nature, and jobs that require using both characteristics bring happiness to our day-to-day lives. Human beings who enjoy their cognitive growth for their work are more productive and happier. That is the primary function of an empathetic leader.

We have at our fingertips the new learning formulas that have led to a paradigm shift in how we see our work life today. Training transversal skills and connecting the knowledge of different areas and people with solutions to our challenges will allow us to continue growing and improving as long as we maintain the motivation, effort, and perseverance to learn every day.

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