Learning is more than Attitude [Lessons from the Road]

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 06-13-17

In a column I wrote for Industry Week I shared some deliberate actions you can take to create a learning organization.  These Industry Week Lean actions were based on research I conducted that worked to bridge the philosophies of the lean school which had thought-leaders at the time such as Jim Womack and Masaki Imai, and of learning organizations, with people such as Peter Senge and Daniel Kim.

Within lean, efforts on topics such as standardization and waste elimination are laden with a range of tools, but we suffer from a lack of the right behaviors. The learning organization appears flipped.

Here are some deliberate actions you can take to make being a learning organization a greater part of your operating system.

  1. Experimentation lets us know what really works. Everything is theory until it is properly tested. It do The goal with experimentation is two-fold. First, set up your tests in a deliberate way to learn. Establish your hypothesis, or what you expect to happen, and then study what actually happens and why. Second, make your tests as fast, cheap and risk-free as possible. 
  2. Reflection is the broader and perhaps less-focused cousin of experimentation.  It is still based on reality, on what actually occurred, but not on testing a specific change. 
  3. Learning objectives allow us to be as deliberate about learning as we are about performance. If we establish clear learning objectives, then we get all the same benefits as the performance objectives. We plan, manage and adjust the work along the way to ensure we meet those learning objectives. 
  4. Captured and reused knowledge should be an important aspect of any company’s efforts to sustain and scale performance. Whether you are capturing knowledge of the relationship between two parameters in your product design or establishing the best counterarguments to sales objectives, the benefit of a larger organization is only achieved when the collective knowledge is leveraged.

CLICK HERE to read the full column for a more detailed explanation of each action you can take to create a learning organization.