I started an interview saying he should fire me.
This was in a meeting with a VP of “Special Projects”. I was his last appointment of the day.
In 10 minutes he knew exactly how I ran my department. I handed over the process flow diagrams, document templates, our group org chart and the sales funnels.
I showed that it would benefit the company twofold that I was no longer the director of my team.
- save money and hire a second manager for ½ the salary
- continue the intake of new business having two managers with resource failover, reporting directly to our VP.
First, he asked where I got my MBA. Then he asked if I would help him restructure the company, even after I told him I had no MBA.
I studied languages and sociology. A whole lot falls under those categories.
When you are born super curious, you might get spanked a lot. As a kid, I got into a LOT of trouble. It’s a miracle I have any subsequent siblings.
I blame my parents though. No subject was off limits growing up. We still talk about anything.
Our Sunday big family lunch discussions are pretty insane and you won’t ever leave without learning something useful.
So here is how I got my MBA smarts for free:
I want to know everything about everything. Almost.
The cut-off for my hyper-intellectualization obsession follows the T.H.I.N.K criteria.
T- Is it Truthful
H- Is it Helpful or Humourous
I – Is it Inspiring
N- Is it Necessary
K- Is it Kind
Add to that the perfect storm: I was given and I hunted opportunities to grow in corporate environments and startups.
My hyper-intellectualization genes went to work. I absorbed lessons on how to run and how to ruin a business very fast. It was probably the steepest learning curve in my life so far.
The time in my life was right (young and no kids and the dot.com boom and bust) and I was motivated.
The faster I learned, the faster I could change jobs and the faster I learned….repeat cycle 10 times. Bonus: I demanded better pay each job jump. The more useful my skills were, the more I got paid.
So how to here are my 5 tips for learning something you (formally) know nothing about.
- Define what your criteria is for what makes the cut to learn
- Determine who the contemporary and historical “experts” for that specialty are.
- Dedicate specific time every day to play to read and watch and listen to your “experts” daily.
- Develop fresh ideas in that specialty every day and give them away. Share them via blog, email and any media format you have.
- Decide if the specialty really lights your fire. If not, STOP. Do it all again.
May you fail fast, learn faster and follow what lights your fire.