Adopt a Life-Long Learning Attitude for Success

Recently one of our supervisors, Lennie Martin, hit a big milestone with our company. He's been employed with Brubacher Excavating, Inc. for 35 years, and this accomplishment caused me to think about all the changes in our industry and our company during that time.

Lennie has worked with three generations of Brubachers and has watched our company, services and the geographical area in which we work expand immensely. Over the years, he has had to adapt and change within the industry, in his job responsibilities, and personally, too. He's had to adopt an attitude of life-long learning, in order to successfully navigate them all.

In reflecting on the many changes we have experienced over the last 42 years Brubacher Excavating has been in business, there are four key elements that help us grow successfully, both as individuals and as an organization.

  1. Recognizing our limited knowledge. The truth is that we don't know it all; we need to acknowledge there is always more to learn. Instrumental in accomplishing this is maintaining a small enough ego so that you can continue to grow. When your ego is in check, it allows you to get close to others so you may learn from them and, vice versa, it also invites others to learn from you.
  2. Seeking perspective from others. Whether it is during the planning, construction or the post-job review stage, it is important to seek input from others. Since everyone sees the same thing a bit differently, this element helps us obtain a wider perspective than what we'd get individually. Feedback is an essential step to success in life-long learning.
  3. Being able to self-assess and reflect. In addition to obtaining input from others, it is also important that we take time to reflect on our own actions. Ask yourself, "What did I do well?" and "What can I improve upon next time?" Taking action on these answers will develop a process to make success repeatable or prevent the same challenges from occurring in the future.
  4. Eager to learn more. Once you've hit a milestone or learned a new skill, those who are successful understand that you are never truly done learning. Those successes only serve as the foundation from which to build more. Asking what's next to learn and developing a plan to do so is an integral part of life-long learning.

I believe these are things that Lennie Martin has been able to do with success over his 35 years with BEI. But none of those elements do any good without action. Individually, this could be further training to refine a skill or learn a new one, and as an organization, it could include developing a new procedure to make the success repeatable on future jobs.

Adopting an attitude of life-long learning is more than simply acquiring the knowledge needed; it also includes writing down your course of action. Only when written down, reviewed and acted upon on a consistent basis will growth and development successfully happen.