Every day is an opportunity to learn something new as a team. Successful teams are able to recognize learning events and take advantage of these opportunities. To be successful, a team must always be learning. As the team gathers knowledge, they will find themselves learning from their mistakes and improving their decision making process. The ability to recognize learning events will benefit the team as well as the organization.
Develop a Sense of Always Learning
Every encounter offers a learning experience for the team. The key to recognizing learning events is for the team to develop a sense of always learning. Identifying the eight different ways that we learn, will ensure that you do not overlook learning opportunities.
- Imitation: We learn from observing and imitating others, such as instructors or respected mentors.
- Reception/Transmission: Reception is the experience that requires you receive a transmitted message. It may be written or verbal, and it can include values as well as academic understanding.
- Exercise: Actions and practice create learning experiences. These can occur in any action that you practice such as writing, meditation, or computer programs.
- Exploration: Searching for answers or discovering information requires individual initiative. This comes from websites, interviews, books, etc.
- Experiment: Experimenting or assessing the success of a project shows different possible outcomes and influences problem solving.
- Creation: The creative process is also a learning process. These can be individual or team projects. The process ranges from painting to developing a new survey.
- Reflection: Analysis before, during, or after an action is a learning opportunity. This can be done on a personal level or with the help of friends and colleagues.
- Debate: Interactions with others cause us to defend or modify our perspectives. These are potential learning experiences.
Evaluate Past Decisions
Our past decisions often guide our current actions. Both successful and unsuccessful decisions need to be evaluated in order to identify errors in judgment as well as effective thought processes. The team should ask themselves a few questions after each decision, and learn from their mistakes and achievements.
- What was the outcome?
- Did the outcome meet expectations?
- Would they repeat the same decision?
- What information or advice can they take away from this decision?
When the team takes the time to learn from all of their decisions, even the ineffective choices will bring them success.
Problems Are Learning Opportunities
People prefer to avoid problems or mistakes. However, problems are not always avoidable. When problems arise, you have a chance to learn from them and turn them into opportunities. The first step to learning from problems is to correctly identify the problem. For example, a shortage in cash flow may be caused by loss of sales or unexpected expenses.
Once the problem is identified, consider different solutions or opportunities. For example, a change in the market may provide you with an opportunity to introduce a new product you have been considering. If the problem is familiar, what were your past solutions? For example, did a price reduction help increase sales and improve cash flow? Once you consider the different opportunities associated with your problem, you must make a decision. If you make a mistake, embrace it. If you face the same problem again, you will know what to avoid.
Recognize The Blind Spots
Everyone has blind spots in their lives, and they can easily transfer to the team’s success. Blind spots are parts of our personalities that are hidden to us. They may be deep-seated fears, annoying habits, or judgmental attitudes. Allowing blind spots to persist will cost the team in innovative ideas. Blind spots will also permit ineffective activities to continue. Recognizing your blind spots is not difficult, but it does require the courage to make necessary changes.
- Request Feedback: Ask trusted friends and fellow team members for honest assessments.
- Reflect: Take the time to reflect on your decisions, thought processes, and actions. If you are honest with yourself. You will identify blind spots.
- Study: Use books, courses, etc. to help you become more in tune with your views and potential blind spots. Figure out what you don’t know and strive to learn.