3 Reasons You Should Learn From People Different Than You

Here’s a questions I’m working through:

Does the breadth of your learning impact the depth of your learning?

I know… I think in tweets. But to say it a little less 140 character’ish: How much more could we learn by expanding the context of our education? And I don’t mean studying more people in your current industry. Granted, it’s not natural to study other industries and organizational leaders unlike us, but I think finding breadth could be a hidden ingredient to accelerated growth.

This idea hit me recently while at a conference. It was a great conference full of wonderful leaders – who I’ver heard from too many times to count. I saw an advertisement for another conference. Guess who was speaking? Basically the same people. Don’t get me wrong. I love and respect these leaders. They’re my mentors – some directly. But I wonder – does a homogenous learning community stunt growth at some point?

When we only learn from our own kind, we become critical more than curious.

As a pastor, I primarily learn from other churches, church leaders, and church models. As a younger leader, that was a great place to start. Seeing other perspectives and approaches to church helped solidify how I wanted to create and lead a local church. There was great clarity found in watching those who were already doing it. Yet, the more comfortable I got as a leader in my church, the more critical I became of leaders in the church. I accidentally replaced learning with critiquing.

Of course, that’s not a healthy dynamic, but it is a natural progression. When we visit other organizations within our industry, we are hyper-critical of what we understand (or think we understand).

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