Tracey Daniel discusses the key reasons why having the ability to continually up your game is an increasingly non-negotiable part of staying the course in business.

There’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube – the rate of change we’ve experienced across all aspects of business and society at large over the last ten years is only set to accelerate. therefore, whether you’re running a plumbing business in Perth or Peking, the coming years are going to bring opportunities and challenges galore as the landscape continues to shift under our collective feet on an increasingly rapid basis.

In this type of inherently uid environment, the importance of committing to lifelong learning has never been greater – for both you and your business. Here’s why:

Learning turbocharges your personal productivity

Whether it’s in terms of avoiding mistakes others have made, or radically expanding your own potential, having the ability to quickly grasp and implement new concepts is verging on a superpower. Continually adding to your skillset via ongoing learning will radically transform your productivity and output.

Increased knowledge in any one field has obvious bene ts, but the real magic comes when insights from one discipline are instantly applicable in another. As you expand your abilities over time, you’ll nd that this is the case across an incredible array of scenarios.  By continually approaching new situations with a learning mindset, you’ll quickly nd yourself blasting through work at a rate of knots that’s astonishing to those who are more stuck in their ways.

Everyone’s a generalist nowadays

The reality of the modern world is that absolute specialisation is no longer really possible. Regardless of what your primary realm of expertise is, you’re also going to be expected to master any number of tangential areas along the way.

If you’re a solo operator, your bread and butter might be in bathroom renovations, but you’ll also have to be pretty handy across client relations, project management, invoicing, and a host of other areas. If you’re running a larger business, you’ll have to be able to at least navigate hiring, marketing, and any number of other disciplines.
There’s simply no way of effectively rising to the challenge of the modern working world without being able to continuously learn on the job. It’s not just the range of areas you’ll encounter that’s the issue, it’s the fact that each one of them is also continuously changing. If you’re not committed to ongoing education, you’re very quickly going to fall behind across the board.

Your role will change

Another factor to consider is that your own role will inevitably change over the years – both personally and professionally. Life events such as rearing children and facing bereavement place a significant strain on even the best of us, and we’re all forced to considerably level up along the way and learn by doing under less than ideal circumstances.

Similarly, no matter where you are on the professional side of things, your role will naturally change over the course of your career. The journey from apprentice to medium-sized business owner, for example, contains an awful lot of steps, and you’ll be expected to learn quickly

at every single one of them. Learning how to learn is an invaluable skill to pick up along the way, and one that will stand by you over time.

Stagnation means death in today’s market

In a wider business sense, entire companies also need to be constantly learning in order to simply stay alive. Whether it’s in terms of equipment, technology, or regulations and legislation, the entire landscape your business is operating in is in a state of constant flux. To put it bluntly, if you’re not continually learning in this type of environment, you’re dying.
We can probably all think of ex-colleagues or local businesses that we’ve seen who’ve eventually ended up going under as they simply refused to take on new challenges and change with the times. Particularly when things are going well in the short term, this is a surprisingly easy trap to fall into. Having ongoing learning constantly on your radar is your best means of avoiding it.

Teams stand or fall on the basis of their ability to learn

It’s virtually impossible to build a successful plumbing business unless you’ve put serious e ort into assembling the right team of experts to power your pro ts. Even if you’re dealing with a tiny team, the importance of ongoing learning soon becomes crystal clear.

Building a successful team over time involves keeping them happy, motivated, and engaged. You also have to give people the chance to progress in their careers and provide a better future to aim at. Doing any of those things over the long term without a firmly embedded learning culture at all levels of your organisation is more or less impossible.
A commitment to lifelong learning is
the hallmark of every successful business and entrepreneur and that’s as eternally true in the plumbing business as it is everywhere else. If this isn’t currently a priority for you and your team, consider putting it at the forefront of your e orts and you’ll soon see the incredible results it can deliver!