Let’s talk about team learning!
Why is Team Learning so important for learning organizations?
There is a logical connection between the five disciplines, and it all starts with team learning:
- Quality of communication and relationships (team learning) impacts
- Quality of thinking (mental models) impacts
- Quality of actions (planning) (systems thinking) impacts
- Quality of results (visioning) (personal mastery & shared vision)
What is team learning:
Generating collective insight by transforming how a group thinks and interacts together. It is about communication.
Improving communication skills usually means learning better ways of “telling.” Team learning is about developing full, open, and multiple channels for communication by balancing discussion with dialogue and advocacy with inquiry.
In other words, Team Learning is all about dialogue.
Dialogue allows team members to express their perspectives more freely and honestly. That kind of authentic conversations build greater mutual respect and trust and higher quality relationships.
Too often we tend to come to team gatherings ready to debate; to argue for our point or prove we are right. Debate does not promote learning together. Debate tends to divide. It shuts down creativity and innovation because it create a win-lose dynamic. Nobody really want to share honestly when they expect to be told how wrong they are.
Dialogue builds relationships because it builds healthy communication.
How do we achieve team learning
As I just discussed, we can move from debate to dialogue
We can shift from a knowing stance to a learning stance: rather than expecting that the right knowledge or the right amount of knowledge will solve all our problems, we can take learner stance. Learners are open to being influenced, they welcome new possibilities and are willing UNLEARN what they thought they knew when it is no longer effective in achieving desired outcomes.
Shift from a mental model that expects all the answers to expecting and inviting questions – moving from reactive to creative problem solving
To me, team learning is closely related to discernment. Both require openness to new concepts, hearing some things we DON’T already know, and allowing others to influence us. When we’re thinking about how the Holy Spirit communicates and influences us, isn’t team learning very similar?
Engaging the concept and skills of team learning will increase the quality of your communication, raise the quality of your team relationships, and ultimately contribute to achieving your desired outcomes.
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