An Important Lesson Most IT Leaders Have Forgotten

To be a digital leader, you must be well versed in a wide range of constantly changing subject areas, which will require that you exist in a constant state of learning and exploration.

knowledge worker

The stakes are huge.

In the digital age, life and business are moving at a breakneck, never-ending speed. Any knowledge we possess may lose it value or become worthless at any moment. The days of deeply learning a single skill and letting it carry you through your career has long since passed. In fact, many progressive IT organizations are beginning to look past specific technical skills during the hiring process and are focusing their attention on the ability to learn new technologies as the most important competency to possess as an incoming employee.

To be a digital leader in this fast-paced and ever-changing era, you will need to unleash a continual love of learning within yourself, embrace it as a way of life, and pass it on to your team.  

A Future of Continual Learning

I am not alone in my belief that continual learning and a focus on how to learn is going to become vitally important in the near future—and, in fact, may change some of the foundations of formal education itself. Vishen Lakhiani is about to launch what he calls Mindvalley University. And through it, he hopes to reshape higher education. His basic belief, which some may consider heretical, is that higher education must shift from teaching facts to teaching students how to set and reach goals, how to create the right attitude, how to learn, and how to live life. It’s an experiment, but an intriguing one that is attracting a lot of interest—a sure sign the world is recognizing that the old approaches are not working well enough to remain relevant in this rapidly changing digital world.

Whether you think Lakhiani is a genius or a bit outlandish, the fact remains that the days of obtaining an education and being done with learning are long gone.

To have an impact, to be a leader in this digital age, you will need to be someone who is well versed in a broad range of constantly changing subject areas so that you can synthesize ideas from across this broad spectrum to find unique ideas and solutions. That will demand that you exist in a constant state of learning and exploration—learning from everyone and everything around you. It is the hallmark of a Digital Renaissance Man and Woman and will become one of the primary barometers for every hiring manager in the near future.  

Hear that bell faintly ringing in the distance? It means that school is in session. So what will you learn today? 

About the Author

Charles Araujo is a recovering consultant and accidental author of the book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. He is an internationally recognized authority on IT Leadership and liberally shares his message of hope about the future of IT and what it means for all of us. He is the founder and CEO of the IT Transformation Institute and serves on the boards of itSMF USA and the Executive Next Practices Institute. You can follow him at @charlesaraujo.

Editor's note: This is the third installment of a six-part article series titled "What It Means to be a Digital Renaissance Man." To read the second installment, "Creating the IT Organization of the Future," click here.

This article was originally published on 07-23-2014
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