Miami, FL—I’ve been in this industry a long time. Longer than I like to admit, but I love it! I’ve had the privilege to work side by side with some of the most progressive innovators in our industry. To my mind there are two things that separate the good from the great: 1) Those who are trusted, not only on social media, but in their one-to-one relationships. And 2) Those committed to lifelong learning.
Lifelong learners, you would think, attend constant seminars. Not really. Lifelong learners usually attend predominantly for networking and hallway chats, not the seminars. I feel a combination would be helpful. Some of us, I think, feel reading articles and trade magazines or attending educational seminars, where you would download the power point slides and upload all the information, will lead to learning. That is not always the case either.
Real learning takes effort and many of us, especially in today’s high tech world, do not want to do the hard work that’s necessary. To get something out of a learning experience you first must have a curious mindset, plus the willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn.
Second, we need to understand if we don’t wrestle with content and connect it to our past experiences, learning and sense-making doesn’t happen. No learning means no application, no ability to solve problems, and no on-the-job improvements.
I saw a TV clip a few months ago about how our society is losing its ability to problem solve and innovate. If we need to fix something, maybe in our house, we go straight for a video on YouTube. If we don’t know the answer immediately we Google or ask Siri (which I do all the time). If we want new ideas we usually copy it from another website or event. We have quit thinking it through. I too take from the best but even better, I want to add to it!
My point is, having all the answers at our fingertips can stifle our imaginative thinking. Brains, like our bodies, need stimulation and activity. Low activity makes us not only physically, but mentality “out of shape.”
Yes, we should absolutely take full advantage of resources at our disposal. But, also make more of an effort to solve problems on our own first. As lifelong learners, we should be curious about what’s going on in business, society, and what’s going on in businesses outside of our industry and have the strategic thinking and problem solving tools to apply it!
We need to be an industry full of both great interaction and relationships with others as well as be strong technological thinkers. It is the way of the world today. --Andie
Andie Weinman, president and CEO of Preferred Jewelers International / Continental Buying Group Inc., was born with the “Jewelry Gene” working in the jewelry industry since she was only ten years old. Her first job was as a cashier in the opening of a catalog showroom doing a fantastic job even at that tender age. Andie holds a B.A. in musical theatre and a B.S. in marine biology from The University of Tampa. When she realized that seawater and marine biology were not good on her hair and she wasn’t quite good enough to make it on Broadway, the jewelry business beckoned. Andie has picked diamonds, sorted color stones, shot waxes and performed a multitude of jobs in the manufacturing of jewelry. Her negotiating experience and prowess has given her the reputation as being tough but fair in her dealings with vendors. In 2012 the Indian Diamond and Color Association awarded Andie the Prestigious Doyenne Award of the Year.