We learn better when we learn for ourselves

20 April 2012

We’re the ones who make the journey. Learning means developing new ways of representing yourself and of constructing reality. Suppose a team that has always worked well “in silos” has been asked to change to a new “cross-functional” way of working.
This team will have to learn how to master new ways of working, making decisions, solving problems, etc., but above all, it will have to discover a new direction, find new goals, identify new best practices and look for new ways to evaluate its own performance.
In short, it will need to redefine itself, the world around it and how it relates to this world. If it doesn’t, it won’t survive the change, it won’t learn how to exist in its new reality, and, ultimately, it will fail.
These two processes, learning and unlearning, (link to blog 8 “Change is about learning and vice-versa”) occur simultaneously; they are interconnected rather than consecutive. The transition is a somewhat fluid and uncertain one, and is never totally under control. If care is not taken, it can be lengthy and in some cases never reach full completion. This is why we are so insistent that every single change includes: a process by which the overall vision is shared with the people affected by it; a real series of dialogues about each person’s goals in relation to the desired results; and a dialogue that is centred around truth and choice in order to maximise the energy available to everyone.
Changing is learning.
A change may include other aspects, but it cannot be achieved without learning. Learning is central to change, especially if you take into account the double “unlearning-learning” transition (link to blog 8 “Change is about learning and vice-versa”).
Every change includes a learning process, in that there is a progression from one state to another; a state that our brains, our systems, need time to assimilate so that the change can eventually occur “spontaneously”.