James G. March

Fundamental academic knowledge becomes more useful in new or changing environments, when managers are faced with the unexpected or the unknown. It provides alternative frames for looking at problems rather than solutions to them.

James G. March

The hot-stove effect is a fundamental problem of learning. Learning reduces your likelihood of repeating things that got you in trouble, as you hope it will. But that means you know less about the domains where you’ve done poorly than about the domains where you’ve done well. It causes problems whenever your early experience with an alternative is, for whatever reason, not characteristic of what … [ Read more ]

Robin J. Ely, Debra E. Meyerson, Martin N. Davidson

When we have an intention to learn, we step out of the need to be right. A learning orientation motivates us to seek to understand – rather than to judge – the other person.

Sir Francis Bacon

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.

Robert Morison, Tamara Erickson, and Ken Dychtwald

Many of today’s midcareer workers are well educated and have retained their love of learning. They know that increasing their skills will raise their chances for personal and professional advancement. However, many find themselves too busy for extensive education and training; personal development time comes at the sacrifice of other responsibilities, both on the job and off. And some people, especially those who have reached … [ Read more ]

John Seely Brown

In the knowledge economy, the real formula for success calls on the need to learn continuously. And to learn continuously, we must learn to see, and do, things differently.

We learn through conceptual frameworks, and we can continue to expand our knowledge incrementally within these existing frameworks.

But if we are to create new frameworks and see new opportunities, our evolving world calls on us to … [ Read more ]

Craig Mindrum

The learning function must…harvest the fruits of collaboration when possible and appropriate – fruits called “innovations” – and it must help divert that collaborative energy somewhere else when it is not appropriate. This latter point is something not often discussed in the literature on innovation. That is, there is a time for innovation and a time for executing on previous innovations. You can’t get anywhere … [ Read more ]

Rob McGovern, Alison Overholt

One way to approach lifelong learning is to think about what’s threatening your job or your company. Go find out about the thing that threatens you. Understand it. You might pick the wrong company, but what you will learn will always be valuable.

Jeffrey Pfeffer

One of the most pervasive emotions in the workplace today is fear.The reason that there is so much fear is that everybody wants to build a learning organization, but nobody actually wants anyone to learn. Learning requires tolerating inefficiency and failure. If you genuinely want to build a learning organization, you have to accept the fact that learners are never as proficient as experts. Learning … [ Read more ]

David K. Hurst

If we are to learn from the experience of others, surely we have to understand their thoughts and actions in the particular situations in which they found themselves. When it comes to human action of any kind, context matters.

Jonathan Byrnes

Productive learning often takes place in stages. First, the learner is exposed to the core concepts, and then he or she tries to apply them and finds that he or she needs to understand them better. This makes the learner more receptive, and so the process repeats itself. Most effective courses are structured this way. Periodic tests help highlight progress and areas where more work … [ Read more ]

Arnold Brown

People always talk about the learning curve. The hardest thing is the forgetting curve. You have to discard what you think you know. And the higher you go in management, the more difficult it is. When things are changing rapidly, you have to abandon information that is no longer useful. That takes a certain amount of courage.

Yoram (Jerry) Wind

We often fail to make a distinction about two kinds of learning. The first kind of learning, which is far more common and more easily achieved, is to deepen our knowledge within an existing mental model or discipline. The second kind of learning is focused on new mental models and on shifting from one to another. It is does not deepen knowledge in a specific … [ Read more ]

R. Buckminster Fuller

Of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking. This means that the potentially-integratable-techno-economic advantages accruing to society from the myriad specializations are not comprehended integratively and therefore are not realized, or they … [ Read more ]

Lance Armstrong

If you lead a largely unexamined life, you will eventually hit a wall. Some barriers can be invisible until you smack into them. The key, then, is to investigate the wall inside yourself, so you can go beyond it. The only way to do that is to ask yourself painful questions…

Ray Stata

My definition of learning follows the behavioral model. That is, learning hasn’t really taken place until it’s reflected in changed behaviors, skills, and attitudes. So our approach to education and training is focused on changing the skills and behavior of employees, and our focus is not on teaching, but on learning.

Ray Stata

At the root of team and organizational learning is conversational exchange – how do we accurately communicate to each other what’s going on in our minds and what’s going on in reality? The human tendency is to assess prematurely the meaning of what people are saying or not saying and why they are saying or not saying it. There is also a tendency not to … [ Read more ]

Glover T. Ferguson

If you know one (of anything), that’s it: You know one. But if you know two, you know much, much more than two. With two computer languages, not only do you know both languages, but you also know what makes them similar, what makes them different, what you like best and least about each, and how each is better suited for certain tasks.

Call it … [ Read more ]

Tom Kelly

One problem with how most companies deliver information is that they expect people to spend too much time at one sitting. We work in a world of limited attention spans, unlimited demands on people’s time, and endless multitasking. Learning programs have to reflect these realities: most e-learning is still anchored in the mind-set that learning means going somewhere for 8 hours at a time to … [ Read more ]

David A. Garvin

I make an important distinction between CEOs who are effective teachers and CEOs who are effective leaders of the learning processes of their organizations. A teacher imparts a point of view, a perspective, a vision, a set of guidelines – it’s communication from the expert to the novice. Meanwhile a CEO who leads the learning process of others, creates a learning culture, cultivates learning processes … [ Read more ]