Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Team Learning

Team learning helps to create a high-performance organization with a culture that embraces its employees as assets, not liabilities.
I'm always happy to read articles sent to me by colleagues and so I was pleased to receive this one today about human resource management.  I was interested to discover that GE employ people whose title is Chief Learning Officer and whose job it is to empower employees to change through promoting a climate for learning that supports risk taking.

The article goes on to list the fundamental principles that promote learning:

 True organizational learning will only occur when leadership and employees believe:
a) Learning from the past is what leads to solutions and sources of innovation.
b) Learning is the collective experience of reflecting on and learning from others’ perspectives.
c) Learning from reflecting on how processes were implemented is as important as results achieved.
d) Learning is directly connected to strategy, vision and values.
e) Learning is recognized and rewarded by the organization at the individual and team levels.
f) Learning must be acquired, analyzed, interpreted, shared and acted on to provide maximum value and create high performance.
g) Learning from failures is just as important as learning from successes and is supported rather than punished by the culture.

The emphasis through all this is on team learning, and one of the important ways of bringing about team learning is to encourage diversity of perspectives and opinions as a way of fostering creativity and innovation.  It's important to note that everyone in the team is encouraged to give input - regardless of their position in the organisation - and as a result employees end up as high achievers who are more productive and more satisfied.
It's interesting to think how these principles can be applied to schools as well as businesses.  At a micro-level this can apply to individual teachers who can foster team learning in their classes.  At the macro-level the whole school can become a learning school by encouraging an atmosphere where it is acceptable to question and reflect in order to encourage ongoing renewal and empowering people from the bottom up, as well as from the top down:
Successful companies willingly reinvent themselves from top to bottom, changing anything and everything, from strategic planning and daily operations to their mission, vision, values and even their cultures as they internalize lessons learned.

Photo Credit:  Teamwork by Scott Robinson 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful to see this being done at the corporate level. I hope that schools and classrooms will take this to heart. So often we unknowingly create a culture of competition and quell any opportunties for team learning to take place. The article offers a great framework for changing that culture.