Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Getting serious about organizational learning

Some hard truths from John Hagel III:

The Threat and Opportunity of Lifelong Learning

Our conversations and media are increasingly consumed by the topic of the "future of work." And, within this topic, one of the buzzwords that has emerged and acquired increasing prominence is "lifelong learning." The message is that, in a more rapidly changing world, we're all going to have to abandon the traditional notion of going to school to learn and then going into a career to apply the learning we've received.

While this is certainly an important message, I'm deeply troubled by the loose way it's communicated - it rarely questions our traditional view of learning, it rarely addresses the issue of motivation and it doesn't systematically explore what's required to support lifelong learning.
His analysis of the organizational barriers to learning are insightful:

But, here's the rub. All of our institutions are built on a model of scalable efficiency and these institutions are deeply ambivalent about, if not openly hostile to, this form of passion. People with this form of passion have a hard time sticking to the script and the process manual - they get bored easily and they're often deeply frustrated, seeing so much opportunity to get to higher and higher levels of performance and frustrated by the obstacles in their way.
This blog has cover some aspects of this problem:

Why transformation efforts fail (redux)

A case study on organizational learning

"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies"

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