There is absolutely nothing automatic where group learning is concerned.
As a group, we either intend it, or we don’t. Look no further than the current (low) learning levels of typical groups: teams and organizations; and local, state and federal government. Look no further than how nations act and behave with respect to learning.
If learning in groups was automatic, we would already:
- Be colonizing Mars;
- Be creating Genius Organizations at will;
- Be curing cancer;
- Be electing leaders that actually help us evolve as a species;
- Be routinely processing conflict without war;
- Be routinely managing population growth.
AND SO ON. See? Very little of these achievements are actually within reach. Getting all of this kind of stuff done requires people who agree. People who are aligned. No one person can pull any of this off alone.
No, group learning or what I call Tribal Learning, is a highly intentional and uncomfortable act. If it was easy, we’d be colonizing Mars by now. Cancer would be cured. See? You have to intend it.
In a business setting, Tribal Learning requires that we do at least some of the following:
- Be Purposeful
- Facilitate Our Meetings
- Examine Our Norms
- Be Punctual
- Structure Our Interactions
- Announce Our Intent
- Game Our Meetings
- Conduct Frequent Experiments
- Manage Visually
- Inspect Frequently
- Get Coached
- Manage Your Boundaries
- Socialize Books
- Pay Explicit Attention
- Open The Space
- Be Playful
These are the exact patterns and topics that The CultureGame book addresses. Most of these group-level behaviors are very uncomfortable.
That is because learning is uncomfortable.
That is because learning is change, and change is uncomfortable.
To learn as a group, everyone has to want to do it. Or, they have to at least tolerate the new patterns of behavior (see above) that encourage group learning.
Is it really this simple? Yes, it is really this simple.
Tribal Learning: If nobody wants to, it ain’t gonna happen.
Leaders have a role to play in helping people to ‘want to’. I plan to explain that one soon.