When Learning gets Systemic

Okay, I did the open-minded thing a couple of days ago in asking you: What is the Learning we managers will Curate? (and if you have more to share, bring it on). I was also honest about the assumptions I carry with me as my baggage when I talk about learning, and it was good to spell them out that way, and be more aware of them. They are assumptions I like having for Managing with Aloha and I make no apology for them; now we can move on.

You see I’m no Jason Fried: In the organizations I’ve been part of, learning is not left to chance, and that was a big reason I wanted to be associated with them in the first place. My own answer to the question I asked you — “When would you curate learning as a value, and when would you curate learning as a strategic initiative?” — would be constantly, and as BOTH.

As for the second question — When might learning be systemic, and when might it be irrelevant? — I struggle to come up with any examples of when learning is irrelevant. I know it is too predominant a value for me, and thus it was (and still is) the biggest question I will have to answer — I have to learn about that one!

What we want in a  Managing with Aloha work culture, is for learning to be systemic, i.e. a natural approach for us in the way we get our work done. (Our “Why?” was spelled out in those five assumptions.)

How does that happen?

Learning gets systemic when it has become the prevailing attitude of your work culture; it’s become the means to your ends: project ends, strategy ends, even service ends. Even an expert will learn more in the process of delivering his or her expertise to a customer, for learners seek out feedback loops. Those feedback loops serve them as affirmation that their past learning has become useful and meaningful.

Once an attitude is systemic, we embrace its repetition in a pretty great way; learning options and of continual improvements becomes challenging.

Sitting, Staring, Appreciating, Wondering…
at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City

Achieving that learner’s attitude is one of the constant goals we who are Alaka‘i Managers have. We willingly own our responsibility to promote learning, and we sharpen learning focus within the curation we do. We don’t control the ways that people learn, in fact we seek out that diversity so we can facilitate it better, and so we can help individuals strengthen their methods.

There are essentially two ways that learning gets systemic in any work culture, and they work together in that your efforts on one will never be lost on the other:

1. You select it where it already exists.  You place a premium on it, by making it one of your high-quality filters. For instance, you seek self-motivated learners in the hiring you do, and in the partnerships you develop.

2. You initiate and coach it where it may not exist. This is where learning curation becomes most necessary and strategic, for you make learning more attractive where there’s a lack of it: You make it highly relevant and desirable.

And so dear Alaka‘i Managers, look around you within your own work culture. Where do you sense there is a learning void you need to fill?

Akamai  Bonus points:

Akamai means smart and savvy; clever. We have spent some time talking about trusted systems: Weekend Project: Hō‘imi your Trusted System.  How would you get the learning m.o. in your work culture to be both systemic and trusted?

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