By Steve Trautman February 28, 2018

Learn or End Up Floating Face Down in the Deep End of the Pool 

The 5-Hour Rule

Posted by Steve Trautman on Feb 28, 2018 1:31:17 PM

"When your clients balk at committing their experts and apprentices to 4 hours of knowledge transfer a week … point them to these smart people!" The note was from our COO, Teresa Canady. And these "smart people" include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk who each spend at least 5 hours a week learning.

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." – Alvin Toffler

The author of the article Teresa referenced was Michael Simmons, who coined the 5-hour rule, defining it as setting "aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) … for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning." Michael went on to describe how these life-long learners create space to read, reflect, and experiment. In particular, he quoted billionaire entrepreneur, Marc Andreessen, who's practical (if slightly morbid) perspective resonated with me:

"I think the archetype/myth of the 22-year-old founder has been blown completely out of proportion ... I think skill acquisition, literally the acquisition of skills and how to do things, is just dramatically underrated. People are overvaluing the value of just jumping into the deep end of the pool, because the reality is that people who jump into the deep end of the pool drown. There's a reason there are so many stories about Mark Zuckerberg. There aren't that many Mark Zuckerbergs. Most of them are still floating face down in the pool. And so, for most of us, it's a good idea to get skills."

I couldn't agree more.

How do you help your employees make time to learn?

Do you have a structure that holds space for learning and experimenting in the busy day-to-day? Do your teams read and discuss relevant articles in staff meetings? Do you block time on your calendars for reflection? What are your practical tips for skill development? 

Share your thoughts on LinkedIn and come back next week. I'll share a story of my own and some simple tips that work for me -- but first I'd love to hear from you!

Topics: knowledge transfer, 5-hour rule

Steve Trautman

Steve Trautman

Steve Trautman is corporate America’s leading talent risk management and knowledge transfer expert. With two decades of application inside blue chips and Fortune 1000s, his pioneering work in the field of talent risk management and related knowledge transfer tools are now the nationally-recognized gold standard. His clients have included Boeing, Costco, Goodyear, Aetna, Farmers Life Insurance, Bank of America, Microsoft, and Qualcomm, among others.

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