Learn, unlearn, relearn (Part 4): Re-balancing your knowledge portfolio

Forget chasing the points or beefing up your CV. Lifelong learning is now a requirement for executives and thinking professionals marching confidently into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Executives revealed to Kate Ferreira.

It’s not just your investment portfolio that requires regular rebalancing. 

Paul Maughan, Executive Development Programme course convenor at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, cautions that often executives develop a preference over time for either technical or relationship skills. “During challenging economic times, however, both of these are required,” he says. “In these times, the issues that most concern senior executives should go beyond facilitating disruption or gaining a competitive edge.”

To his mind, the key is “in ensuring long-term resilience, through both hard skills – like finance, innovation and marketing – and softer skills, like talent management, client relationships, negotiation, executive wellness and self-leadership. And for long-term growth, nurturing the inclusive nature of innovation.”

But that also means considerable self-reflection – something that comes up time and again when speaking to the business schools. Paul believes that “breaking bad habits, changing leadership styles and approaches, and unlearning unhelpful strategies” are equally instrumental to maximising your impact as a business leader. Plus, he says, “building personal resilience is key. Burnout is a very real factor at the top.”