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The LOCK Framework: A Guide to Learning Something New

In this day and age, continuous learning is key to survival. I’d argue that the most important skill that everyone should develop is the ability to learn new things. If you can’t pivot in this era of changing technology, you’ll quickly find yourself towards the end of the pack.

But for those who have been out of the schoolroom and in the workforce for over a decade, learning is far more difficult than it is for those recent graduates. That’s why having a structure approach to learning new things can help make the process more efficient and successful. 

Enter the LOCK Framework. 


The LOCK framework is composed of four steps: Learn, Own, Compress, and Kaizen. These steps can be applied to anything you’re trying to learn, from a new technology to a new process and even a whole new business. 

1) Learn

Learn is all about understanding the new concept and building the foundation. This involves taking the time to learn as much as possible in the first attempt, with the goal of understanding 80% of the concept. Read books, listen to podcasts, learn from experts — find the quick and easy summaries that help you ground yourself in a general knowledge of the topic. Then, the second attempt should focus on the next 16%, and the third should focus on the remaining 4%, diving into greater detail with each new attempt. This approach puts the responsibility on both the student, who needs to be attentive and ask all their questions upfront, and the teacher, who needs to be thorough in their instruction. 

2) Own

The second step, Own, is about embodying and living the concept. In this step, you should put the new concept into practice on a regular basis. For example, if you are attempting to learn a new technology in your business, this is the step where you could begin implementing it in your processes. To truly own a concept, you should be able to teach it to someone else, as well as be able to write an SOP or summary about it. 

3) Compress

The third step, Compress, is where you build on your initial knowledge and begin using it faster over time. This is when the concept becomes a part of your subconscious and you are no longer actively thinking about each step in the process. It’s now an integral part of your life, becoming almost second-nature.

4) Kaizen

The final step in the LOCK framework is Kaizen, which is about continuously improving the skill. This is where many people get stuck. They are content to stay in step 3, coasting on their knowledge and taking it for granted. This is how many people quickly fall behind the curve and fail to see the next iteration, the next big idea, the next new technology, coming. Those who move on to step 4, however, and continuously work and build upon their knowledge, will find themselves ahead of the curve. 

The LOCK framework is an effective way to learn something new, internalize it, and keep building upon it. This structured approach guides the learning process and helps ensure that the skill is learned properly and completely. No matter what you are trying to learn, this method can help break down the task into actionable steps that will carry you through to success.

Charlie Coppola 
[email protected] 



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