Are you ‘old smart or ‘new smart’?

Apparently learning has become the single biggest predictor of income for individuals and nations. But learning has changed. There’s ‘old smart’ and there’s ‘new smart’.

Watch this TEDx Talk to find out more:

The ‘old smart’ is something you have or you don’t have. A degree or a formal qualifications might be necessary (for now), but these are ‘old smart’ idea.

The ‘new smart’ is about development; it’s about improvement; it’s about creativity, curiosity, critical thinking and real understanding. It’s ultimately about learning to learn, about getting better at getting better.

How can you get ‘new smart’? Here’s a summary of how:

  • Metacognition

Think about your thinking. Provoke yourself. Question your assumptions and worldviews. Or be really bold and find out how WHO you are shapes HOW you think which affects WHAT you do. There’s no more plan A, plan B, plan C – this means you’re stuck in the first loop of learning. Get to the next loop and then strive for the third loop of learning.

  • Patterns

Look for connections. Understand how facts come together, instead of just focusing on the facts themselves.

  • Struggle

Make learning hard. It shouldn’t be passive, people should actually have to work at something to get better at it. Learn by doing. Not by ‘fake doing’ in a classroom somewhere, but by making sure it’s real – get some skin in the game. Realise this type of learning is tough, it’s embarrassing and it’s awkward, but don’t let that stop you.

As most of us know, in the typical organisation nearly everyone is doing a second job that no one is paying them for. And that is, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best and managing other people’s impressions of them. There’s no bigger waste of a company’s resources. The ultimate cost: Neither the organisation nor its people are able to realise their full potential. A tragedy for the 4.0 world.

Our MOOC recommendation:

Our book recommendation:
A book that gives leaders and L&D professionals a recipe for helping people get ‘new smart’ is, An Everyone Culture: Becoming A Deliberately Developmental Organization by Robert Kegan & Lisa Lahey. I agree with Gary Hamel when he says, “This book is the most provocative recasting of human and organisational potential since the advent of Peter Senge’s learning organisation”. Know this: The book’s easy to read and hard to implement. Read more here:

Our provocative thought:
How come it seems that some of the smartest ‘old smart’ people have left us with the challenge of overcoming and preventing some of the biggest global catastrophes – the credit crisis, the Gulf of Mexico disaster, global warming, ocean pollution, environmental destruction? Perhaps we need ‘new smarts’ to help us balance the short-term drive for profit with the longer-term drive for sustainability?

Our big question:
How can leaders, L&D folks and employees make significant contributions to the triple bottom line (an accounting framework with three parts – social, environmental and financial – that some organisations have adopted to evaluate their performance from a broader perspective to create a wider definition of business value)?

We think, part of the answer lies in becoming ‘new smart’.

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