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Survey: 30 of the best learning hacks from CEOs, entrepreneurs and executives

PD time is in the gym, on road, and when walking the dog

Hacks and habits from Australian CEOs and executives

Whether squeezing in five minutes a day or scheduling deliberate professional development (PD) time for 3-5 hours a week, the members and friends of The Growth Faculty show they are committed learners, according to our latest survey.

Here are the respondents’ answers to “Your best hacks/ideas for PD”:

  • Audiobooks (and occasionally podcasts) in the car - on 1.5 times speed or more. Brain can take it in faster than I can read it.
  • Allocate 1 hour every week to training and have a recurring task per week to do some sort of networking (can be as simple as posting on LinkedIn).
  • I take every Friday off for 2 months a year and just focus on learning.
  • I read in the train, and listen to videos while doing other things, like walking the dog.
  • Each morning and afternoon on the drive home I listen to the same podcasts. The one in the morning puts me in the mindset to attack the day. The one in the afternoon puts me in the mindset to leave work at work and be present with my family. I always listen to Fearless Motivation.
  • I listen to two audio books a month during my long, daily commute.
  • I treat my personal development appointments (podcasts, reading, webinars, courses etc.) as if they are client meetings - important and not to be juggled/moved without serious consideration.
  • Podcasts provide my 'breakfast' on my way to work. I am alert and more receptive in the mornings.
  • An open curiosity in all conversations.
  • EO forum for me. Also, the discipline of having strategy and think days diarised out.
  • I invite guest speakers to present at team meetings.
  • Have a "Think-tank" group of people and spend regular time with them bouncing ideas off each other in a relaxed environment. Then every now and then, inject a stranger's thoughts to keep you on your toes.
  • I swap development books with peers and friends.
  • Read business blogs and content every day. Cut through the sales pitches masquerading as content very quickly.
  • I try to do 30 minutes of growth reading each morning.
  • Listening to audiobooks while doing housework with my iPad open so I can take notes when something useful is read.
  • I read the books, and go to Growth Faculty seminars.
  • Take one idea/concept/inspiration from any speaker/article and action it (change in thinking/attitude, process etc.) straight away.
  • I try to ensure I do at least 2 external professional development courses every twelve months.
  • Get a member of my team (or me) to attend developmental sessions, then ask them to de-brief the group on what they learnt.
  • I attend lunchtime webinars where possible, and bring along my team. I follow Harvard Business Review on Twitter and can easily get a quick gauge on whether an article will be relevant to me.
  • Investing 5% of my gross income in professional development.
  • I read blogs and articles relating to the topic of interest when I get free time. Substituting social media time for learning time is my new hack!
  • Remembering there is always more to learn - seek input from others whose leadership I admire.
  • I read a book a quarter, I listen to podcasts, I attend events, I read blogs.
  • I read 30 minutes every day. I write down my thoughts every week on what I learned and need to focus on. After any podcasts or reading I write down things I learned and share with my team so there is a journey which is continued.
  • I read journal articles about new research in my field- time consuming but means I know where it’s going.
  • Audible books while walking. Seminars. Workshops.
  • Schedule time each week for learning - 3 - 5 hours is my goal.
  • I seek recommendations from others and share when I have found useful content.
  • I learn something new every day. Great minds are stretched by other great minds. There is gold to be found at every event regardless of how familiar you are with the topic.
  • One day of weekend content is work related, one day not (reading, podcasts etc).
  • I read a chapter of a book every night; watch a random documentary once a week; attend a networking event each quarter; participate in speaking panels when the opportunity arises.

Hack from the top 

Amazon's newest board member and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has a professional development hack (or habit).

She talks to people who have gone through big transformations.

"They can tell you about how they came to recognise the need for change and how they responded to it. I talk to a lot of transformation leaders to understand how they think,​​​​​"  she said in conversation with  New York jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

Rare chance to bolster your professional development

Hear and see first hand the transformational leader Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo former CEO at an exclusive executive dinner event in both Melbourne and Sydney in June 2019, hosted by The Growth Faculty. Highly recommended for CEOs, Managing Directors, Non-Executive Directors and executive leaders. To secure tickets click here. 

Members receive discounts to events hosted by The Growth Faculty. To become a member and get access to our popular online business book club, with interviews with international business authors and highlights from past speaker events, click here.