At the risk of striking too sombre a note, death and loss have troubled me lately. Perhaps it’s just that I’m getting older, but a number of recent deaths have prompted me to reflect on the strapline of this blog, and lessons for how we learn.
JackieOrme, whom I never knew or even met, but was leader of my profession, stepped down from her role as Chief Executive of the CIPD earlier this year to fight cancer, only to succumb this month, at the age of just 46.
My old student friend Kenny Harris died suddenly last month, at age 53 perhaps too old for the usual platitudes about dying too young, but as a near-contemporary I feel his untimely loss no less. Kenny’s “headsurfing” philosophy, about maximising and utilising creativity, struck a chord with me.
And Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, also passed away this month. Among many great insights, Covey said that principles should underpin our behaviour.
From Covey to Tovey – I recently discovered David Tovey, who points out in his blog post on “muscle learning” that we often develop ingrained habits for doing things the wrong way, and have to unlearn them before we can learn the right way. This, I think, is a crucial improvement on the work of Roberto Moretti (see a previous blog post). It also chimes with the work of action learning sets, which emphasise unlearning as a key stage in tackling a problem and learning what the solution should be.
So we may not die tomorrow, but if we live every day like we will, then one day we’ll be right. Hopefully we’ll have learned all we can along the way, and passed on as much of that learning as possible. It looks like a necessary step along the way is to unlearn the things we’ve got wrong, so let’s keep questioning, and let’s keep our minds open.
Long life and happiness.