I’ve Learned Enough…Ha!

One thing that I have learned in life is that you never stop learning. Just when you finish college, there are advanced degrees that beckon. And just when you finish an advanced degree, there’s books, articles speeches, etc. talking about “What They Don’t Teach You at _______.” Well, I fundamentally believe in what John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” What this means to me is that leaders understand the value of continuous learning. And to be clear, learning is not about reading books, taking classes, attending seminars and the like. But rather, it is a combination of all of these plus surrounding yourself with bright people who offer differing perspectives on topics we must deal with in the course of our lives – be it professional or personal. Leaders, at least the best of them, know what they know and more importantly, they know what they don’t know. Surrounding themselves with people who know what they don’t know is critical for continuous learning. In my role, I have had the great fortune to work with some people for many years, through roles at more than one company. These individuals, like me, realize that we are able to continue learning from each other and push one another to higher levels. This has afforded me the opportunity to learn from them each and every day. Of course, we are also fortunate that new people have joined our team and infused new perspectives, new experiences and new networks. This allows the team to continuously learn and, ultimately, to achieve higher levels of performance. One very important...

The Currency of Knowledge

In today’s hyper-competitive corporate world, companies are constantly seeking ways to differentiate themselves from and gain advantage over their competitors. But in our information-based economy, where human capital is the predominant “asset” that a company possesses, getting that advantage is truly a factor of the people within the organization. In fact, I would argue that the true value of an organization, rather than being measured by traditional financial measures such as market capitalization, is the cumulative product of the organization’s employees’ knowledge quotients. To simplify this a bit, whereas in financial terms a company’s valuation is calculated by taking the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the value of each share, in my view, a more realistic valuation in a human capital dominated economy, is obtained by taking an employee’s knowledge quotient (the calculation of which is the subject of a future post) multiplied by the number of employees within the organization. Taking corporate valuation from this perspective, it is clear that maximizing corporate value can only be achieved by maximizing the knowledge quotients of your employees. This simple shift in how one views corporate valuation shines a bright spotlight on the value of employee education. Rather than viewing it as many companies today do – as a one-time event – employee education can be seen for what it truly is – an ongoing process wherein employees are continuously upgrading their skills, learning new things and, hence, increasing their personal knowledge quotients. It is only by understanding employee education from this perspective that senior management will fully understand the value that such education brings to the bottom line of...