“We learn from history that we do not learn from history”

“We learn from history that we do not learn from history” – Georg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel

Can we learn for History? What is your history?

I once quoted this phrase “We learn from history that we do not learn from history” to someone who replied “Yeh, I’ve learnt nothing from history”. I was shocked but carried on with our conversation.

He had obviously misunderstood the phrase. It is not saying that we learn nothing from history but we do not learn from history if we forget or ignore what has happened in the past that we can learn from to prevent repeating the mistakes of the past.

I attended a great leadership workshop a few weeks ago in Derby organised by The Marketing & Leadership Academy (TMLA) where I learnt of the Mission Command model of leadership and how again and again it has proved its value in winning wars over the Command & Control model, used for the majority of the First World War with massive loss of life until the Americans can in with the Mission Control model and turned the battle around..

It this Mission Control model that is beginning slowly to be taken up by the most successful businesses. It is called “The Leadership Model”

If you are still using the standard management command and control model – “do as you are told”. STOP. Look at the benefits of a leadership model. Don’t get bogged down in the argument “are Leaders born or can they be trained”. Just change your attitude and the way you relate to others. Get training or a coach if possible but it is not rocket science. It is being human and collaborating with others. Anyone can be a leader, you just have to give yourself permission to be one

Back to History: Why are the “Classics” still important in the top Universities – because the stories of ancient Greece still have a bearing on how we act in the modern world. Humans have not change very much in how we interact and react in the last 3,000 years

We can learn from history and always should do.

Every day we learn from our mistakes. We remember what didn’t work and what did (history) and learn to develop new ideas based on our experience. What, instead of just using our own experience and knowledge, we could tap into all of the expertise, learning, experience of EVERY employee in the organisation to be involved in problem solving and planning the way forward, we would be less likely to repeat the mistakes of the past and come up with new ideas and possibilities for future success.

I like the word “history”. His –story, your-story. You are your history. Where you came from, your ancestors, your learning, experience, nurture & nature, who you have associated with, knowledge all define who you are. Use it to better your future but realise that you don’t know what you don’t know and continue to add to the bank of your personal History by learning from the history of others.


Strategic Innovation coach Ignter of Ideas - Turning ideas into invoices. From Creativiy to Productivity Helping you to be less likely to fail as you develop new busisness ideas

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