On today’s rapidly-changing business landscape — where today’s best practices quickly become tomorrow’s outdated approaches — the maxim “knowledge is power” no longer applies. As success is no longer rooted exclusively in what one knows: it is largely determined by one’s ability to learn.
According to Buckminster Fuller’s oft-cited “Knowledge Doubling Curve,” in 1900, it was estimated that knowledge doubled every 100 years. The speed increased to every 25 years after World War II, and today has dwindled down to 12 months. And if that isn’t enough to establish that the capacity and ability to learn is as important — or often, more important — than one’s storehouse of knowledge, consider this: according to research by IBM, once the Internet of Things and Big Data build out over the next few years, it will take a scant 11-12 hours for knowledge to double.
Granted, while some people find this coming knowledge daunting and intimidating, others are using it source of fuel to power their learning goals — and elevate their careers to a whole new level. Among the latter is Tulsee Nathu, a hospitality development associate with Rahm Investments, and who in 2018 was named by Hotel Management Magazine as one of the hospitality industry’s Thirty Under 30.
According to Tulsee Nathu, here are some primary ways to support continuing education and professional development goals, and ultimately keep up with the velocity of knowledge rather than get left behind.
- Join Relevant Professional Associations
Professional associations provide members with a wealth of formal learning opportunities, as well as the opportunity to connect and network with peers. And on a psychological — but by no means less important — level, professional associations can help members re-ignite their vocational interests, passions and pride, and avoid disengagement and burnout.
Tulsee Nathu, who is a member of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, Commercial Real Estate Women, the West Oakland Commerce Association, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce says that relevant professional associations are an extremely smart investment of both money and time. In addition to being exposed to emerging and anticipated trends — including a lot of content that is not available to the general public, such as white papers and industry analysis, members can build strong, mutually beneficial relationships that last throughout their career. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities.
- Make Reading a Regular Habit — Not an Occasional Hobby
Many aspiring and established professionals remember a time in their lives when they read voraciously; often immersing themselves in two or three books at a time. However, those days are long gone for a simple, singular reason: there just isn’t enough time. While this lack of bandwidth is certainly understandable, it is nevertheless something that professionals should address in order to support their education and development objectives.
Like anything else worthwhile in life — such as exercising, getting enough sleep, spending quality time with family and friends, or being financially disciplined – individuals need to make reading a priority, and most importantly, a habit, says Tulsee Nathu. What matters most isn’t the volume, but the routine. With this in mind, professionals who need to be very judicious in their choice of reading material and focus on topics that enhance their knowledge and competence; whether that means negotiating complex deals or working with challenging colleagues or customers. Asking for recommendations from industry peers on LinkedIn can be a great way to build a reading list.
- Don’t Neglect Right-Brain Development
Many professionals who commit to boosting their knowledge significantly boost their technical skills — for example, if they are a project manager they learn about new methodologies, if they are a human resource professional, they learn about HRIS technologies and platforms, and so on. However, they can sometimes focus so much on left-brain development, that they overlook the vital importance of right-brain development — e.g. creativity, imagination, and emotion-based perception and reasoning. This not only undermines their overall professional success, but also diminishes the impact and enjoyment they deserve to experience.
There are many ways to foster right-brain development, which in some situations can be far more valuable and useful than applying left-brain skills such as objectively analyzing details, remembering facts, and so on, Tulsee Nathu claims. Two of the most powerful methods are to push oneself to experience new and different scenarios and adventures, and to strive to put oneself in another person’s shoes and reflect with compassion and empathy rather than mechanically and atomically react with fear or frustration. I have also found that being able to do this has a tremendous, and often profound influence on the behavior of others, and on outcomes to difficult challenges and problems.