Learning Zone vs Performance Zone
Developing. Improving. Progressing. These are things that we all want, especially if you are a business owner and your livelihood depends upon it. However, how many of us are putting the fundamental building blocks in place to ensure that we actually achieve this in a consistent way!?
It is easy to get lost in the doing; opening the doors for another day, speaking to suppliers and customers, and grinding away until we fall asleep in exhaustion. This is the performance zone. We spend most of our time in the performance zone because that’s where we assume we should be. Logic dictates that if I run a bar then I should spend the majority of my time running my bar, or if I sell a landscaping service then I should be out all of my day speaking to potential clients and actually landscaping gardens. This is how I make money. The problems arise when your growth stagnates, when competitors enter your marketplace or, as is pertinent for every business in the world right now, the way in which consumers access and engage with companies fundamentally changes. At these moments, being in the performance zone for all or the majority of time will bring an increasingly diminishing return.
This is where the learning zone is so important, not only during times such as those mentioned above, but at all times. The learning zone is that time spent reflecting and growing, understanding what is working for you and how to do more of that stuff, whilst taking on board new ideas and insight to improve in areas that are not currently being maximised. Most of us shy away from the learning zone on a consistent basis, because in the micro it doesn’t make us money or get us more clients and contacts. In fact many of us don’t invest in the learning zone at all or only if we feel that we have to, as a last resort in a moment of blind panic.
We were once told something by a mentor that really resonates and describes just why this is so important. They said, and I paraphrase, ‘Everyone has a natural ability, skill set and talent in the thing that they do. This will take them so far, and in some cases very far. However, if you don’t continue to grow and develop, to step outside of your comfort zone, and to move forwards, then there will inevitably come a time when you will hit a wall. The wall is reached when you reach the peak of your natural talent, and in not being in the culture of learning and developing, don’t know how to overcome the obstacle in front you. This is why developing for everyone at all stages is so key’.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, talks about Day 1 as a philosophy to their success. One of the strands behind ‘Day 1’ is that he wants to view Amazon each day as a new business that exists in a world with an evolving customer base and an ever changing marketplace. As such it is imperative to continue to evolve and develop. In such a philosophy, spending time in the learning zone is absolutely critical.
As part of our service to businesses we act as a facilitator of getting into the learning zone. We help businesses transform the way they market their business, interact with current and future clients, and structure their proposition and product range so that they can continue to grow. We also spend a significant proportion of our own time in the learning zone, both for our own business, but also to ensure we fully understand the mechanics behind the businesses that we advise and can provide the best advice.
Here is a brilliant TED talk on the topic:
We’d love to hear about your take on this – our questions to you are:
-How much of your time do you invest in the learning zone?
-When you’re learning, what are you focusing on? and
-What are the biggest benefits you’ve had from this?
Get in touch for a no obligations chat about how we can help you to grow!