Applying your learnings deliberately and experimentally is an act of leadership.
Learning, most of the time, is a process of consuming information that gets turned into knowledge. While reading this blog post, you are consuming information. The percentage of information that gets retained and integrated into your existing neural networks is knowledge.
Sometimes, you consume information by engaging with it presently and projectively. This is the process of reading, watching, and/or hearing information in real time while beginning to imagine its application.
For example, you are listening to a podcast, watching a documentary, or being given feedback on your performance.
Other times, you consume information by engaging with it through reflection and introspection. This is the process of remembering, recalling, and reviewing what you previously learned while re-considering how the information is relevant to you.
For example, you are driving home from work and replaying the experience of receiving feedback from your colleague. In each of the examples, the context of learning tends to be more thought oriented than action oriented.
In contrast, I am asserting that the context of leadership tends to be more action oriented than thought oriented. Through this framing, learning and leadership are a kind of yin and yang. They complete one another and cycle around one another. In the same vein as what Tom Peters was communicating when he said “soft is hard and hard is soft,” learning is leadership and leadership is learning.
Learning creates insight. Leading creates change. As two sides of the same coin, it is hard to determine where learning ends and leadership begins.
Nonetheless, at the center of the two is the outcome of adaptability–flexibly recruiting the right mindsets and behavioral tools at the right time for the right reason.
The sum total of your successful AND non successful applications of adaptability is what contributes to your wisdom.