Experience has to be combined with education to stay on track with the pace of business innovation. Moreover, a business education is not only about the mechanics of running a business, like showing good numbers on your balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow. It's also about learning management concepts like how to promote work-life balance to improve employee morale.
However, it's not just leaders who need to blend education with business; it's also those who work in any administrative role in an organization. Education can make a world of difference. Training.com, which features info on TAFE business courses, points out that the right education “gives you a leg up on your competition, equipping you with a variety of skills that make you invaluable to any business environment.”
How can taking a few classes help you with real-life business situations?
Here are three skills that you will learn from business courses that can completely transform your business or career:
- You will learn how to ask the right questions
Everybody asks questionsâ€”and they do it all the timeâ€”but asking the right questions is a specific skill.
Here's an analogy. If someone were to teach you how to play chess, it could take about an hour. But if someone were to teach you how to be a good club player, it could take about a month.
While it won't take as long to learn how to ask the right questions, it's far different from asking off-the-cuff questions. Asking the right question is like setting your sail to catch the perfect wind.
Here are five benefits to asking the right question:
- · It will make your purpose clear.
- · It will define your parameters.
- · It will invite meaningful comparisons.
- · It will investigate causal factors.
- · It will allow you to evaluate things better.
What is a good question? It's a question that frames things correctly, leads to a closed or open answer, and allows you to follow up with even better questions.
- You will learn how to get better at critical thinking and making better decisions.
According to Noble prize winner in economic science, Daniel Kahneman from Princeton University, there are two types of decisions that have to be made in an organization: quick decisions and slow decisions. These, in turn, require quick thinking and slow thinking.
Unfortunately, many people in business get these mixed up. They make quick decisions slowly and slow decisions quickly. Quick decisions are intuitive decisions when there is pressure to come up with a fast course change to seize a fleeting opportunity or when the consequences of the decision are small. Slow decisions are decisions that arise from thinking on all sides of an issue; with these, urgency is not important but consequences are high.
However, thinking about something for a long time has to be done in a structured way. Otherwise, it just results in erratic thinking that fails to lead to any meaningful conclusions.
In business courses, students learn the methodology of critical thinking. They learn how to research information, analyze it, and finally evaluate it.
Good critical thinking skills lead to sound decisions. Sometimes a proposal or a project can look good on the surface, but when you take it apart you find that it will cost you more money than you make. Alternatively, something may not seem like much of an opportunity, but when you dig a little deeper you discover that it's an untapped market.
Critical thinking involves mastering five steps:
- First, identifying and defining the problem or opportunity.
- Second, designing potential solutions or possible scenarios.
- Third, exploring ideas in depth.
- Fourth, defining the steps to complete a plan of action.
- Fifth, reevaluating the action plan to see if it solves the problems or takes full advantage of the opportunity.
- You will learn how to get good at problem solving.
Many business leaders think that it is only what you know or who you know that makes your business successful. However, all businesses run into problems sooner or later, and problem solving skills can make or break a business.
Here's a true story to help illustrate this point: Howard Hughes' father was an unsuccessful miner until he entered the oil business. Oil prospecting did not make him rich, but solving problems for other oil prospectors did. The problem was the difficulty of drilling into hard rock. Hughes Sr. developed the Sharp-Hughes Rock Bit, which was a two-cone rotary drill bit. The "rock eater," as it was affectionately nicknamed, could drill 10 times faster than the traditional bit. The new drill bit revolutionized the oil business.
The Sharpes-Hughes Tool Company fortune funded Howard Hughes' big budget movies and aircraft manufacturing business.
Education and Experience
It's rare to find a leader who is able to effectively run their organization only on the basis of their experience or an employee who can rise up in an organization on the strength of experience alone. This is not to say that experience plays a small role in determining success, but the rate of knowledge is expanding too fast for experience alone to be sufficient. Experience has to be combined with education for business or career success.