Thursday, 2 July 2009

There Is No Briefing

I saw this sign on a building site the other day. Whilst there are some environments where – absolutely - you should be briefed before you start work (building sites, operating theatres, trains, nuclear reactors, you get the drift…) in the ever changing world of work and business, increasingly it’s a case of learning as you go. And in this scrambled up world of work, there is often no briefing.

Most of us were never ‘trained’ in business or whatever we are talented in. I didn’t go on a course on how to write a book. None of us went on a course to learn Twitter or Outlook or the iPhone. I didn’t go to business school either. There are millions of successful executives and entrepreneurs with no formal ‘training’; their training has been doing the job, learning at the coal face.

We are a generation of workers that learns as we go. Having come from an organisation that used Amstrad word processors, I remember using my first PC in 1993, it was the first time I used a mouse. There was no preparation or computer course for that, you just learnt as you went. And that’s the best way to learn, by actually doing it.

So when people say to me they want to be successful in business, should they take a class at business school? Or they say, I’d like to be an author, is there a writing course I recommend, my advice is simple:



dawn said...

Well said Ian! Sometimes jumping right off the cliff and diving in is the only way to learn.

About 5% of us prefer to do it that way (kinesthetic learners).

Richard Harrison said...

Hi Ian,

I think you're right, up to a point, but also believe that people will always benefit from receiving training in copywriting, sales, presentation skills, media/ interviewing and so on.

This is especially true if the attendees are keen to learn, and the course is both relevant and run by an experienced practitioner.

While learning on the job does work, training can be invaluable too.

Ian Sanders said...

Sure, I’m with you for most of that.

I certainly don’t think you can ‘learn’ business, you just have to do it (and the same with loads of other stuff). But undoubtedly you CAN learn certain disciplines and techniques within business. And also, there’s a lot to be learnt from mentors and people who have ‘been there before’ whether entrepreneurs or finance directors or business coaches.