As We Age, What Do We Learn? February 21, 2013, by Peter Mirus in Marketing, Coaching

Both as organizations and individuals, it is assumed that we will learn as we age. But do we?

Years ago, a senior colleague in marketing strategy once told me that he has a lengthy “not-to-do list”, which far exceeded the length of his “to-do list”. I could say the same thing. Having tried many things over the years, my not-to-do list is lengthy, and my to-do list has organized itself into a set of fundamental principles.

However, I meet many businesses that seem institutionally uncertain as to what they know, and how they learned it. Such organizations doom themselves to mediocrity; companies that learn the truth about themselves and about their markets typically experience the most growth.

Are we rigorous about learning from the past? Do we take the time to catalogue and make sense of our successes and failures? It is often said, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” But that is a glass half-empty perspective. In the pursuit of excellence, we should say, “Those who do not learn from history cannot repeat it.”

As a group, we in business should take some time to collect data, assess, and reflect. We’ve been around for a while—we’ve done a lot and seen even more.

But what have we learned?