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Why Leaders Should Put Learning Front And Center

“When you put learning at the center of everything you do, you'll grow your career, boost your leadership skills, enrich your relationships, and increase your joy and fulfillment in life,” explains David Novak, author (with Lari Bishop) of the new book and practical guide, How Leaders Learn.

 

He adds that, “Learning is the mindset, the differentiating skill, and the approach to life and the world that defines the most successful leaders.”

 

Novak emphasizes that even for people who are naturally curious and interested in solving problems, being an effective learner – one who can turn learning into action – takes insight and practice.

 

Through engaging stories of wins and losses, missteps and miracle saves, challenges tackled, and problems solved, Novak shows you all the ways you can become an active learner.

 

The book includes a collection of wisdom and practical habits from more than 100 of the most successful learners and leaders in the world, deeply researched by Novak. These individuals include CEOs from many industries, military and political leaders, sports greats, subject matter experts, and coaches.

 

Chapter by chapter, Novak highlights these leaders through candid and entertaining stories while also telling his own life and career journey. Novak’s impressive journey includes being a trailer park kid who lived in twenty-three states before high school, rapidly ascending the ranks at PepsiCo, and then to become cofounder and CEO of one of the largest corporations in the world, the global restaurant icon Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and The Habit Burger Grill). And he credits active learning with getting him there. 

How Leaders Learn helps readers develop three essential behaviors, each described in the book’s three distinct parts: 

  1. Learn from anybody and any experience that has something new, interesting, or valuable to offer. 
  2. Learn to maintain an open, curious mind and positive relationships (because we learn the most from and with other people). 
  3. Learn by doing the things that need doing or that will make the biggest difference. 

“An active learner is somebody who seeks out ideas and insights and then pairs them with action and execution. They learn with purpose. The result is greater possibilities – for them and the people around them,” shares Novak. 

Finally, some key takeaways for me from the book include: 

  • You cannot learn if you cannot listen. 
  • Active learners know that one of the best tools for learning is a well-aimed question. 
  • Humility is just the recognition that you can’t do it by yourself. 
  • Confidence is simply the expectation that you’ll find a way to win – somehow. 
  • Failure is 100 percent information, only information. 
  • Active learners know that good preparation helps us get the most learning out of any experience. We learn throughout the process of preparing, and we learn more when we’re prepared. 
  • Active leaners understand that we learn by sharing what we know with others. 

___

In addition to David Novak being the cofounder and former Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, he is also the founder of David Novak Leadership, a leadership development organization and platform.

 

Novak hosts the top-ranked podcast, How Leaders Lead, where he interviews some of the most high-profile leaders in business, sports, healthcare, and government.

 

Profits from the book sales will go to the Wendy Novak Diabetes Institute to support the family’s ongoing effort to help those inflicted with diabetes.

 

Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

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