Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend a day with 25 other colleagues at an intimate one-day conference for the Society for the Advancement of Consulting (an elite group of business consultants into which I was accepted at the end of 2009).
It was a great day of learning from our mentor and facilitator Alan Weiss. We shared best practices, practiced consulting on case studies to hone our skills to serve our clients even better.
As I was sitting in the room I realized that much of what we were discussing I had heard or read about in one format or another over the previous few years. Some of it I was fully applying in my business, other stuff I was just dabbling in and others I hadn’t gotten around to yet.
I realized in that moment there is a distinct difference between “continuing education” and “continual learning.” I think ‘til now I was primarily engaging in “continuing education,” which is really not a requirement in my industry. But, it is a requirement in many of industries in which I consult such as, insurance and accounting/CPA.
So, my question to you is, are you making the most of your “continuing education” requirement by transitioning it to “continual learning?
I differentiate “Continual Learning” from “continuing education” by its application.
Are you taking what you learn in that continuing education program and immediately applying some component of it in your work with your clients?
The farther away you get from the day of the education the harder it is to apply it.
Something I learned in yesterday’s program I am already (on the commuter train ride home) designing a way to incorporate it to immediately help my clients think about their business strategy in a whole new way. Look for it in a blog post next week.
If you are not doing the same after your continuing education courses, all you are doing is fulfilling your licensing requirement and not adding value to your clients.
By identifying immediate areas for integrating the “continuing education” into your client work you are applying my concept of “continual learning.” In doing so your new education will become much more a part of the value you bring to your clients. As such, the “education” will become practical application, and will be transformed into your “learnings.”
You will now always have it as part of your offerings, thus raising the bar on the value you offer your clients, allowing you to increase your fees while building a deeper relationship with them, leading to more business from them and higher level referrals.
Seems like a no-brainer to me?
How can you apply something today you learned recently? One easy way is to send out a note to your existing clients about what you learned and how it will add value to the products and services you provide to them.
What are your ideas?