Learning Foundations

two women talking at wooden table and looking at tablet

How Leaders, Teams, and Organizations Learn and Grow

AFTER 28 years of working with thousands of leaders, teams, companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies and municipalities, school systems, and universities in the US and 19 companies, we’ve observed a few patterns in how learning occurs.

Behavior follows perceptions. Leaders who successfully change their behavior first change their mindset. The world is not for want of more information, but new mindsets that allow that information to take root, that later lead to new behavior, habits, and eventually, transformation.

Organizations change when their leaders change. If a leader transforms their organization, some aspect of their leadership will have to transform. Leaders don’t realize how much the rest of the company is observing them. And if a leader doesn’t walk their talk, often employees won’t, either.

Communication agility creates more robust connections. Employees can influence more people by adjusting their style to match the needs of their audience. If relationships grow and die one conversation at a time, then we all need to commit to mastering the art of the discussion by flexing our style to match the needs of the other person.

Strengths can become derailers. A leader or team member will have many strengths that are perfect for their role, like tenacity, data-focused, business acumen, directness, courage. If the leader uses too many of those strengths or uses them in the wrong setting, they can become micromanagers, harsh, intimidating, etc. A strength overused is a liability.

Learning stops once something is known. Leaders and employees can create learning, innovative teams by encouraging others to ask more questions and relying less on what they know. As soon as we think we know something, we stop learning.

Companies (and teams) follow an “S Curve” pattern. Leaders and employees can help move their teams through the lifecycle of Start-Up, Grow, Mature, Decline, and Die; and even innovate past Decline by creating a new lifecycle.

Learn More

“Education without application is just entertainment.”

— Tim Sanders