Alvin Toffler said, the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. If this doesn’t speak to the issue of change, then I don’t understand much about change at all.
The need to learn and change, or at least cope with the constant world of change, is never more important than it is today. However, it is not just learning something new that is needed. It is also the unlearning of the past or the no longer needed skill or knowledge that is critical to being relevant. Therefore, in today’s world it is a must to get better. And getting better is critical to developing trust.
Who do you trust more, the individual or organization that improves continuously, always staying abreast of the current needs of the clientele, or the individual or organization that continues to perform the same time after time with the same level of knowledge and skill for every situation regardless of the need? People will trust the individual who they see as learning in their knowledge base and improving their skill level. They will trust the organization that continues to improve on the product and that is looking for ways to get better. We all know what happens to individuals who don’t continue to learn and even unlearn so that they can relearn. Think of your old high school teachers or college instructors who are still using the same outlines and information today that they used when they taught you. We view them as not competent or having no relevance to today’s needs. We view them as old regardless of their age. No one has confidence in their ability. And the same is true for organizations.
We talk a lot about building trust these days. Well, perhaps one quick way to build trust is to be seen as competent, confident, and relevant. And the way to do this is to constantly be looking for ways to improve, to learn, and to grow. Sometimes, in order to learn, we must unlearn what we knew before that is no longer relevant or useful. One of the most difficult tasks is not learning new skills or knowledge, but unlearning those old skills or knowledge. We may need to give up the old before we can accept the new. We may need to change the status quo before we can get better and be trusted by others.
What are you doing in your professional life to get better? What have you learned lately that has resulted in you changing or improving your skills? What have you unlearned in order to help you see the world anew and result in relearning something to make you more relevant and trustworthy? Make a pledge to yourself. Promise to read for at least an hour a day. Or join a book club. Or take a class. Or join a discussion group or a blog. Find a way for you to learn, unlearn, and relearn. When you do you will find that getting better will result in others trusting you more.
Until next time, explore ways to get better and ask others for their feedback in helping you get better.