Team-level learning requires intent. Team learning, and group learning generally, is NOT random. If it was random or automatic, then our families, our teams, our organizations, even our societies, would automatically learn, and evolve. Instead, in terms of learning, we typically DEVOLVE in groups. We become ineffective after a while. That is what is automatic.
If we want to adapt, we must learn quickly as a group. Especially in times that feature lots of change, like the times we are living through right now. Organizations that learn faster than peers eclipse them, leave them in the dust, call it whatever you want. If we can figure out how to learn as a group, we have the secret to just about everything.
A valid question to ask is: why are we so dumb when we get into groups? Why do we design and implement soul-sucking interactions, stupid meetings, and ineffective team and organizational structures? Why do we behave badly? Why don’t we wise up??
One answer may be found in a community of folks called the Group Relations (GR) community. They are curators of a body of knowledge based upon the work of Alfred Bion. He developed a kind of depth-psychology for explaining what goes on in groups.
I attended a GR conference in 2008 and it opened my eyes. A pure experiential conference, the event focuses on the study of leadership and authority in groups. The object of study is the behavior of all attendees over a 4-5 day period.
Team learning, and group learning generally, is NOT random. If it was random or automatic, then our families, our teams, our organizations, even our civilization, would automatically learn, and evolve. If learning in groups was automatic, we’d be done with world hunger, and cancer, and war. We’d be colonizing other planets. We’d be done with poverty on earth.
We get dumb when we get into groups. Period. That is what is automatic. Opposing this pattern requires full intent. My book is one small contribution to the body of knowledge around team learning. Team-level learning requires intent. The good news is, We now know how to do it. People like Jim and Michele McCarthy, Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, folks in the GR community … all of these folks are pointing the way. We can literally create genius teams- IF WE WANT TO.
We have the technology to routinely do this. The problem is conquered.
What is missing is the intent. Are you in?