101: Foster learning



Nobody likes a know-it-all, and in business, the ramifications can potentially impact your bottom line. Maintaining what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calls a beginner's mind is good for employees, good for leadership and good for innovation overall. Here are three things to keep in mind concerning what should be a continuous process – learning:

Bring career paths to employees. Susan M. Heathfield at says all employees should have opportunities to develop their skills through not only on-the-job learning, but education, as well. “Employees feel as if their manager cares about their careers and progress. This is one of the most significant factors that employees need from work,” she writes. Whether workshops, online seminars or conferences, employees who are encouraged to continue to grow and develop tend to be happier in their jobs.

Don't get jaded. Bezos, in an Adam Lashinsky article at, says it's not easy to maintain a beginner's mind, but it's imperative to inventing and pioneering. “You have to be an expert in the state of the art and then somehow let that expertness not make you jaded,” Bezos is quoted as saying. Come into it with a naïve outlook, he advises, to open your mind to new ideas.

Explore what's available online for your professional development, and encourage your employees to do the same. Online courses from LinkedIn Learning, edX, Khan Academy, Coursera and others are now offered in abundance, says Dan Schawbel at “Pew Research reports that self-directed learning is driving the need for new credentialing systems. More employers will be accepting different types of credentials as they seek to build diverse talent pools and expand their reach,” Schawbel writes.