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Smartest Person in the Room | North Star Food & Beverage

You Are Never the Smartest Person in the Room

schI'm amazed at what I can learn from others.

I've worked within the same industry for a long time… far longer than I like to admit. Must have something to with age. However... anytime I gather with others that share an experience or expertise... I get inspired and motivated.

Recently I attended an annual workshop attended by others in the same industry. To one degree or another, we all do the same thing. For sure there are differences in scale of operations, years of experience and age of attendees... but none of that matters. Why?

Because everyone has found solutions to shared challenges. Everyone has new ideas and new ways of being successful. Everyone has challenges and questions... and that provides more meaningful dialogue.

One thing I learned years ago is that when you surround yourself with others in your industry (...and you can replace that with any other common experience) you don't have to make decisions in a vacuum. You can leverage your own inclination and determination, against what other have done... and that's when you'll make a confident decision that will set you up for success.

There are very few truly new ideas. When you are willing to share, and to listen to others there are just a few things that can happen. Either you will have an epiphany and move in an entirely new direction, or you will find seeds of an idea that will enhance your current plans and thoughts, or you will have the decision you were going to make collaborated as the best one. In every case, you come out the winner.

I've attended this particular conference for nearly 30 years in a row, and through benchmarking, brainstorming, and sharing of best practices, each and every year, I have always taken away strategies and solutions that have contributed to the my own personal and professional development, and the success of our business.

One other observation... when you surround yourself with like minded people with a shared and common interest... there is a bond that creates friendships. That is something I will never take for granted, and will always value. Having some fun seems to be a part of that winning formula as well.

The practice of putting yourself out there with a willingness to learn, will always insure you are never the smartest person in the room. It's a strategy that will keep you being educated for life. I believe this is one of those "best practices" that works for all ages, but would be an invaluable lesson for a young, next generation employee as they are launching their career.

Thanks to Schlitterbahn Waterparks for hosting these meetings, and providing the opportunity for me (...and all the others in the picture above) to continue to learn something new... and to make and renew friendships.

What has been your method of insuring that a "lifetime of learning" is a part of your strategy for success and growth?

About The Author

ken whitingKen Whiting is an amusement park and attractions food and beverage operator, and industry consultant for improvements in F&B, retail and workforce productivity. Reach out with any questions or comments you may have at: