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Posted 5th June 2024

School of Success: 6 Things Business Owners Can Learn from Teachers

Business and teaching are too often viewed as opposites or, at best, distant cousins when they actually have to lot in common. The biggest thing many of us don’t realise or have forgotten?

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School of Success: 6 Things Business Owners Can Learn from Teachers

Business and teaching are too often viewed as opposites or, at best, distant cousins when they actually have to lot in common. The biggest thing many of us don’t realise or have forgotten? Most education is business. At the end of the day, Kindergartens to Graduate schools provide both a product and a service. We forget because they are not floated companies, they don’t post a profit at the end of each quarter, and the CEOs who aren’t called don’t usually become millionaires (unless you are the president of Harvard).

What does this have to do with teachers? Well, they are the ones in charge of delivering education. They are at the front lines, standing up in front of a class every day and saying, “Listen to me.” buy my product, and it’s selling off the shelves. Here in Australia education consistently ranks in the top 5 exports. The average Australian with a HELP loan has $26,500 in debt. 

The Bottom line, education is a business and a massive, complex business at that, so surely the 307,041 teachers in AUS have some incredibly valuable advice to offer the economy. 

Adaptability and Flexibility

Good teachers have to adapt constantly to new curricula, new students, new perspectives and new technologies. Education changes constantly, and whether it’s state-mandated changes for primary school or independent reviews in universities, the people who have to actually implement the changes on a day-to-day basis are… You guessed it, teachers. 

Business owners can learn from this flexibility to pivot their strategies or products based on market feedback and changing conditions of education. We have seen a massive global example of this in the past 3 years. When COVID hit, businesses panicked, many posted losses, downsized and essentially got into the fetal position. What did the education sector do? It diversified. Teachers adapted their curricula so that they could be taught online; they perfected Zoom classes and distance learning to keep the wheels spinning. 

Teachers adapt seamlessly to incorporate digital learning into their everyday classes, and it’s becoming a standard part of teacher training in courses like a Master of Education online. In the same way, business owners can benefit from integrating new technology into their operations to stay up to date on digital trends. Teachers prioritise a student-centric approach, tailoring teaching to individual interests and should engender creativity and critical thinking. Business owners can and do emulate this by prioritising customer understanding and adapting products or services based on market feedback to effectively meet consumer needs.

Effective Communication

What is one of the most basic teaching skills? –The ability to break down complex information so that the target audience can understand it, replicate the information and put it to use. Teachers practise these skills on a daily basis, but it has to start somewhere; teachers are taught to listen to critical feedback and adapt their styles to suit their audience.  

Business leaders can adopt a similar approach by breaking down their messages for clarity when addressing different audiences. It could be when communicating with customers, employees, or stakeholders. Often, simplifying the intricate details makes sure your message is heard and understood, not just heard. Just as teachers adapt their teaching methods to suit different learners, business owners should adapt their communication strategies to suit specific audiences, enhancing engagement and creating meaningful connections. 

Continuous Assessment and Feedback

This is the constructive criticism we touched on before. Anyone who has been in a pre-school or university will realise that students do not hold back. While this may terrify some teachers, the ability to sort through the criticism, understand the sentiment behind it and adapt to mitigate more is critical. If teachers did not do this, well… there could be riots.  

Of course, it goes both ways; teachers regularly assess their student progress and provide timely feedback to promote growth. Methods very and modern education are moving away from learning facts for an exam and more toward teaching creative and critical thinking. Hence, the next generation is ready to problem solve. 

In the same way, business owners can implement continual assessment frameworks within their organisations to monitor progress and provide feedback, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and growth, which, after all, is what drives business. As people grow within even a small business so too will the company. 

Engagement and Motivation

Engagement and motivation are fundamental in both teaching and business leadership. Educators confidently use various techniques to captivate and inspire students, ensuring that learning remains relevant and engaging. Anyone who has gone to university will know the difference between a good lecturer and a bad one; chances are you’ve forgotten the bad ones unless they were memorably terrible. It’s about wanting to be there, listening to the vibe of your audience and engaging them on their terms, not yours. 

 In business, these strategies are crucial for cultivating a motivated and engaged workforce. Business leaders can enhance employee morale, productivity and long-term growth by adopting similar approaches. This involves making tasks more meaningful and rewarding, aligning them with employees’ values and aspirations, providing opportunities for growth and recognition, and connecting organisational objectives with employees’ professional development and personal fulfilment. Just as teachers foster commitment among students by linking classroom content to their interests and goals, business leaders can cultivate a culture of excellence within their teams through intentional efforts to engage and motivate employees, thereby driving sustained success.

Teaching Business 

At the end of the day, we are all learning, and learning is an ongoing process. Whichever field of business you are in. look to take on the ideas, attitudes and skills of those you admire. Teachers are very admirable indeed. A teacher’s capacity to impart knowledge, instil curiosity, and nurture growth should be an inspiration across all professions. 

It is essential not to confine oneself solely to the realm of business-centric ideas. Instead, one should cast a wide net, embracing insights, attitudes, and skills from various disciplines and domains. By adopting a learning and growth-based approach, we can transcend the limitations of conventional thinking, unlocking infinite potential and fostering innovation in both personal and professional endeavours.

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, News


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