books.jpgThere aren’t many things in life which give me as much pleasure and joy as learning does.

Learning for me is about a lifelong journey of development, growth, self-discovery and awareness. It teaches wisdom and creates excitement, it inspires and has the ability and the power to both satisfy and reward at the same time.

Yet learning and training can be seen by some as a burden and a chore with no real value, purpose or benefit.  Others on the other hand already know it all or think they do.

Learning is often misunderstood or not taken seriously enough. It takes commitment, determination and creativity to learn. It’s about a frame of mind, an inner drive to not sit still, go forward and get better. To learn one needs to be open and receptive and be able to listen.

Listening is very important as without listening one can’t take it in and apply the learning.

Learning is neither a one off nor something one does at school until 14 years old. Learning is a habit- it’s constant and continuous.

Learning should not only be an integral part of a person’s life journey it should also be part of any organisation’s wider culture. For learning is the only way to develop, grow, motivate, attract and retain our good people. It’s also so much more pleasurable and rewarding than just earning money and what’s more it teaches about values and the value of values.

To learn is about coming closer to the truth. It’s about being true to oneself and understanding integrity and honesty. It’s about accepting we are not (and will never be) there yet, seeing the flaws within, taking responsibility while enjoying the journey along the way. At times it can be painful and so it takes courage to keep going and learn some more.

Learning is addictive yet it has no side effect. Its beauty, its adrenaline the rush lays in the deep satisfaction and excitement ones feels from education.

While I am writing about learning, I also cannot help to think about teaching. Both learning and teaching go hand in hand-you can’t have one without the other. It’s about give and take. In restaurants the young commis learn from their managers, in turns the commis will become headwaiters and one day be managers too. This is why restaurants need to create a high performance culture where learning, development and creativity are top of the agenda.

To progress, restaurants and the teams within must learn. And every single top restaurant can only maintain their position in the market place because of the quality of their training and teaching and their general ability to transmit the knowledge.

And knowledge- let it be known does not only go down the ranks, it goes sideways and up too.
However it is important to remember that teaching is a proper job, as such it’s not for everyone. Teaching is like everything in life; to be good at it one must enjoy it and have fun with it.

Teachers in our industry (ie restaurant managers) are like doctors or mechanics. There are good ones and there are bad ones. People only become good teachers through experience, innovation and beliefs in people and the good nature of people.

Teaching is an art like no other and there is no greater achievement for a teacher to see people grow and realise their true potential.

In The Art of Service the only way to excel is to be both a disciple and a master at once. However it is wise to remember to be (always) humble and young at heart for there will always be much more to learn than we will ever know.