My college roommate was a Finance major, and often times she would tell me about all the case studies she had to work on for class. Case studies are great for learning because they provide you with examples. Theories are only good if people can understand them, and a few great examples can go a long way for learning, and, more importantly, remembering.
Fast forward to a few years later, and working in the corporate world should mean that you have case studies right at your finger tips. Your day-to-day work is practically one giant case study. The tricky part is being able to pull your head out long enough to see the case study in front of you.
It is really hard to step back and see the value of the lesson when you have a deadline.
Recently, I met someone from Best Buy at a networking event. As a Gen-Yer familiar with the ROWE concept, I jumped at the opportunity to learn how the company was balancing this unique environment with financial pressures. What started as a conversation about adapting during a recession, turned into a tour of the Best Buy campus.
Believe it or not, there are many companies that host tours of their facilities. You don’t even have to wear your fanny pack. Some companies have production lines open for viewing (like seeing how Krispy Kremes get made), or their brand is so powerful, this history itself is fascinating (National Postal Museum anyone?). Imagine taking a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory at age 5, then visiting again at 25…you’d still enjoy the ice cream, but could learn great business lessons, too.
My tour at Best Buy was like taking a field trip for a kindergartner. I got a break from the grind, new information about a business, examples first-hand, and had a chance to recharge my innovation batteries.
You don’t have to spend time in a classroom to get experiences like these.
Over the next few months, I challenge you to use resources available to you and tour some companies. I double dare you to call and arrange to have your own guide, someone who can answer business questions in addition to historical ones. Offer to then provide your own tour (your office doesn’t have to give away free ice cream, I promise), and maybe take your guide out to lunch.
Please also share your own favorite tour spots. Where did you get great business insight and rejuvenated creativity?
The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.
Photo from http://careers.bestbuy.com/Culture.asp