Learn or Die

New and evolving technologies and increasing globalization continue to impact many businesses. To compete in this rapidly changing environment, individuals and organizations must take their ability to learn — the foundation for continuous improvement, operational excellence, and innovation — to a much higher level.

We must face this challenge from two different perspectives. First, from an individual’s perspective: “How can I become a better learner?” Second, from an organizational perspective: “How can I enable better learning in others and within my company?”

A high performance learning organization requires the right kinds of people, in the right learning environment, using the right learning processes, to continuously learn faster and better than the competition.

The right kinds of people are those who have the right motivation for and approach to learning. The right learning environment is an organizational culture in which curiosity and creativity are encouraged. The right learning processes include effective learning conversations.

This kind of personal learning and development happens best in collaboration with others. Create a team of trusted friends who want to learn with you, and try several avenues. As Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman has said, “It is much easier, as well as far more enjoyable, to identify and label the mistakes of others than to recognize our own.”

The company of the future will be a robust, positive emotional environment, led by someone with intellectual humility and a capacity for empathy. It will be someone who is vulnerable and says, ‘I don’t know, we don’t know, but together we’re going to find this out. I know that experiments and exploring are going to create failures but there’s no such thing as a failure so long as we learn’.

In these companies, people are very open and honest. The search for the truth trumps everything.

Summing-up: The future of the workplace is gonna be tougher than you think … if you don’t want some new skills. To succeed in this new era, individuals and companies will need to learn how to learn more effectively and more quickly than ever before.

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