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“The more involved you are, the more significant your learning will be.” Stephen R Covey

I regret something. When I was in my job I tended to learn reactively. I learned, certainly. I occasionally made some startling decisions, one which changed mind-sets and redirected projects for the better. I prided myself on learning some things better than others, but I still regret something.

That while I proactively sought out training, I didn’t learn to deduce. I took facts, applied the system, and results followed. I was a great ‘left-brain logic’ thinker. But I never quite developed the skill to see behind what was going on.

For example, we interviewed one lady who’d allegedly stolen a chap’s camera. She denied it, I went through the logic of her being in the premises from which the item was pinched, her being the only one present, and so on. But the detective with me was the one who said, “He took embarrassing pictures of you, didn’t he?” That was deductive.

Looking back I wonder if the reason for this lack of insight was a reluctance to get overly involved in things. Over time, as interruptions would stop me doing what I had planned, I began to consider all new work as an interruption, to the point at which I would create a good result but stopped learning new, more subtle distinctions.

I also manifestly failed to learn the skills I would need to climb the promotion ladder, so even if I had passed the exams I had no faith that I had the ‘soft skills’ need to lead others. I may have been a great leader, but perhaps if I had been, I wouldn’t have known why and would have been all the less for it.

I saw some masters at this, people who knew their professional ‘stuff’ but also knew how to lead. I wish I’d watched them more.

If you can, get involved. Ask questions – when someone does something, ask them their thinking behind what they’re doing. Not the logic or legal reason – why they are doing it now, what they expect as a consequence, and anything else that will increase your involvement and so help you to learn those distinctions that I so frequently missed.

That’s Second Resolution work. And remembering the continuum from Resolution 1 to Resolution 3, the discipline required to remember and to apply learning will develop your character and competence and thereby improve your ability to serve those you want and need to serve. And you’ll also increase the number of opportunities you get.

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