Why do we only look to "catch up"?

Commonly used in day to day business and in social settings, the phrase, "let's go for a catch up" doesn't do our conversations justice. Sure, we are looking to catch up on the latest developments in our projects, our industries and with friends, but this just gets us back to where we should be in the first place; zero. In learning circles, it's known as single loop learning. What we surely want to do, though, is to break out of the norms and go beyond where we are today. Again, in learning circles, it's known as double loop learning (both come from writing by Argyris and Schön, 1978).

Whether we work in organizations that put a heavy emphasis on learning and training is irrelevant. Of the thousands of people I've met globally and worked with across all kinds of industries, I don't know of many who want their careers or companies/employers to stand still. Indeed, with the competition always looking to grow, standing still really means shrinking in relative terms. The same applies to my personal network; people are looking to grow and develop rather than be the same forever. As a result, it's time to start using language as the powerful tool it is; something that will get us ahead rather than playing catch up, something that will help us develop ourselves, develop others and grow our lives, careers and companies.

So the next time you want to say to someone, "let's go for a catch up", maybe you could take a moment to think about where you really want that conversation to go and perhaps you could say, "let's get ahead". Not only does that send a signal that getting to where you already should be is insufficient, but you're setting an expectation of the progress you can make in that conversation and by pre-framing the discussion, I'd suggest that great things will come of it. And if you get a perplexed look, which might be reasonable the first time you say it, why not explain why you've changed your language? Sure, it'll take 15 seconds to do so, but in that time, you may find that you have re-energized the people who might then bring their A game to the meeting. And you only really want to meet with people who bring their A game, right?

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