Over the past month Growth-Link Integrated Solutions has been focused on learning – what it means, what it’s true value can be and how to recognise the barriers to learning. We can spend all of our lives learning, if that is what we wish to do, using each opportunity and moment to grow as people and as leaders. It is also a commodity that leaders in business can harness, implementing it as part of the culture of their organisations and thereby driving the development of the leaders and solutions of tomorrow.
One of the most important questions to ask is what learning means. Is it to acquire knowledge, skills and mind-sets? Most are keen to sign up to a learning contract that’s imbued with these qualities. However, the real question needs to be – are you prepared to sign up for change?
Change is a more difficult and complex learning contract. If learning is perceived as the willingness of an individual, team or organisation to become exposed to who or what they ought to be, then learning is so much more than knowledge and skills that are acquired. A child learns because they are not afraid to change, for them the process of change is that of life. To move forward, to stand up, to explore – each movement is a natural process and passion to learn. As adults we sometimes find ourselves crawling, but instead of getting up and moving on we develop mechanisms to justify why we and others should stay in our current positions.
The barriers to learning can be broken. Change can become a powerful force in the organisation, unleashing enormous untapped talent in individuals, teams and the enterprise as a whole. Some of those barriers to learning that are most commonly encountered include:
- Knowledge and skill levels – I know! We know!
- Old habits and old ways – I did it this way last time. We did it that way last time.
- Position and status – I earned the right to do it this way. We have the right to do it this way.
- Recognition and need for acceptance – I will lose credibility! We will lose credibility as a team!
- Fear of the unknown – Where will this take us? I don’t see or understand. We don’t know.
The challenge for leadership is not only to lead by example, but also to create a culture within the organisation that inspires others and facilitates the learning process across both formal and informal levels. Use the existing systems, processes, people and situations as opportunities. Allow these moments to provide learning and change through open conversations that will break down the barriers.
The truth is, life is always ready to teach us a new lesson, guide us down a new path and confront us with change. Why resist when acceptance and growth can deliver such positive and powerful results? Now is the time to step forward and break down the barriers. Let’s do it together…