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How to Participate in Intense Knowledge Sharing

It can be stimulating to sit down for a conversation with luminaries. John Seely Brown might discuss his book, A New Culture of Learning, or Nobel laureate Eric Kandel could talk about brain plasticity. Charles Duhigg might offer a nugget from his The Power of Habit, which describes new research on exactly how individuals and organizations can change.

Is this an imperative for the busy senior leader? Yes. He or she must occasionally leave the many logistical nuts-and-bolts issues and embrace the broader consideration of how technology, economics, culture and other macro issues will affect his or her profession and organization.

CLOs are not just managers, they are also leaders. Leaders must continually seek new ideas, view the larger picture and explore other venues beyond the boundaries of their business.

Here are five easy, flexible and mobile ways people can participate in powerful, unique and intense knowledge sharing from some of today’s noteworthy leaders.

Charlie Rose: Rose is one of the best interviewers and draws top thinkers to his table five days a week on PBS. Meet Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, discussing key ideas in his book The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. Check out Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, on doing business in China, or James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley.

Pick one of the eight talks since 1996 with Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink, or Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook’s work culture, or Ibrahim Kalin, Islamic scholar.

These people should be on your list if you want to expand your thinking and perspective. Set your TiVo, then choose what to watch based on Rose’s one-minute overview of that day’s topics. Prefer the PC to the TV? Go to the Charlie Rose website or YouTube for 4,000 hours of episodes and segments. Click a button to email a talk to a colleague.

TED: TED global conferences showcase fascinating thinkers “to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less.” There are 78 expert talks on how we learn, 66 views on the rise of collaboration, 149 diverse, global predictions and warnings, 105 talks on worldwide health care trends, 109 presentations on the impact of design and 58 speeches on women in powerful roles around the world.

Book TV: Book TV airs on CSPAN2 each weekend and is more inspiring and valuable than it may sound. Nonfiction authors give presentations on cultural, historical or civic treatises, followed by a Q&A. There is a weekly three-hour discussion with noted authors, like New York Times columnist David Brooks, who was interviewed about his key beliefs, recent books and how he developed his intellect.

Out of DVR space? Get transcripts, or upgrade to Hopper from Dish Network and record 2,000 hours. That is nearly twice the amount of time you would spend in a class for an MBA at Wharton.

iTunes University and podcasts: Stanford School of Business, The Drucker Institute, Harvard Business School, MIT and Oxford are but a few institutions offering lectures — even complete courses — for free on your computer or iTunes-compatible mobile device. A half million audio or video clips, books and presentations on every subject are available.

Fresh Air: America’s favorite interviewer, Terry Gross, talks with noted experts weekdays on his National Public Radio show. You can access the shows locally, via the Internet or through iTunes podcasts.

Conversations with exceptional thinkers can result in new perspectives and ways of thinking. That is critical for innovation. However, “The hardest thing is for people to give up their existing mental models — what they know as true — so that they can be open to new ideas,” said learning strategist and industry expert Lance Dublin. “Those who can think differently are the ones who can see problems differently and bring truly innovative solutions to their enterprise.”

When you regularly step out of the urgent, tactical mindset, you will see your organization, yourself and the future in powerful new ways.

Brandon Hall is chairman of Brandon Hall Group. He can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.