Action learning is gaining ground in organisations as a vehicle to improve performance, facilitating continuous transformation in order to meet the demands of tomorrow. The result is a learning organisation that develops the necessary capabilities to create competitive advantage and to develop a customer-responsive culture.
Action learning can take a variety of forms, and when closely linked with the broader organisational strategy and selected organisational development interventions, it produces a lasting and powerful benefit to the organisation: continuous, transformational learning.
Individuals who engage with action learning methodology experience a process that encourages them to ask fresh questions, creating a living problem-solving process that requires them to look towards the future, to question previously held assumptions, and to explore new avenues of inquiry. The result is that they experience a breakthrough in thinking. By working on real business issues, they are encouraged to take greater ownership of the challenges facing their organisation. Individually, it enhances their capacity to reflect on and learn from the individual and collective experiences shaped by the action learning journey. Within teams, the synergy and creative energy that is generated by working with people from diverse backgrounds further stimulates learning, creating new organisational knowledge and perspectives. For organisations, the result is a competitive learning culture that positions the organisation to meet the demands of the ever-changing future.
“It is not enough to rely on our expert knowledge. Expert knowledge is necessary but not sufficient. We have to learn how to ask ourselves totally different questions. That is what Action Learning is.” – Reg Revans
Nikki Lowe is a Learning Process Facilitator (LPF) and part-time facilitator at USB Executive Development (USB-ED).
Reg Revans: the Revans Center
Hipsher, Lindstrom and Parks from the Journal of Business and Society