When I speak with people about Learning in organisations, the conversation regularly shifts quickly to a specific place: the training room. And yes, that's definitely a place where learning takes place. But taking a step back, I would say that this is not where the majority of the learning in an organisation takes place. Most learning happens, on the one hand, when we observe our colleagues - what do they do that is being rewarded, what do they ignore, what focus on, where are they particularly careful? On the other hand, it happens when our colleagues, our bosses or even people that work under us, comment either explicitly or implicitly about what we do. Call it what you want: voicing, commenting, social learning, informal learning or feedback. I like to call it feedback. And it's through feedback that we learn a lot if not almost everything. The problem is - we're not good at giving feedback and we're not good in receiving it. Receiving badly given feedback often times results in defence, or worse, counter-attacks. And more often than not, we don't give feedback to those around us, because we don't want to deal with whatever reaction we might get. There is a lot of potential and it's not being used. Instead of thinking of feedback as a nuisance to be avoided, we need to reframe it as a professional service to our colleagues, a normal thing to give and ask for, a daily routine. Just let that sink in for a moment - I think it would be an big step forward.
I talked about this at a conference a while back. If you have a moment (well, around 15 mins), I'd love it if you would watch it tell me what you think - do you agree with my thoughts, or am I missing something?