Volume 112, July 2011: Learning Organizations: Building on the Ideas of Others

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2011 ISSN # 1545-8873

“Learning is immunity to decay.” — John Gardner

Nothing challenges the current order of things better than a new idea or point of view. Education is a dialogue, drawing from the examination of different points of view. To stimulate creativity, we often invite the views of a child, a person from another our business, or view literature outside our field. Having said that, there are also experts within your organization on a multitude of topics – untapped.

Incorporate the model of free inquiry groups (FIG’s – groups of individuals who dialogue to learn from an author and/or from each other, with no experts in the room.) Employ the creative principle of divergent thinking – always generate lots of ideas before converging or deciding.

In our teaching at the Center for Continuous Improvement, we would ask classes if they knew about a certain topic. Almost universally the answer was “Yes.” We labeled this Awareness. Then we asked how many were actually acting on it. The answer – not many. This is a great Leap of Faith, to move to actual practice.

The Learning Curve toward personal mastery moves through these stages:

  • Awareness
  • Using
  • Understanding (2 & 3 can cycle several times)
  • Explaining (teaching others)
  • Integration & creating new ideas (personal mastery)

One of the best ways to move through the Learning Curve is to teach. In a Learning Community, everyone is teaching and learning. Make teaching an integral part of your personal learning. Commit your lifelong learning to a personal improvement plan (PIP) – What are you going to learn, When, and How?

Peter M. Senge is the thought leader for learning organizations beyond academia. Read The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization (2006), augmented by his 1994 The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization.

Practice Point

Have you stalled out on your own learning?

  • Start reading. Seek sources outside your field.
  • Start drawing. Open up both sides of your brain.
  • Start talking. Dialogue is a wonderful way to learn. Form a FIG Group.
  • Keep a journal (start talking to yourself).
  • Commit to a personal improvement plan (PIP).


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