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Learning Shifts to Make, Now

“In other words, the future of work isn’t so much about competing against the robots as it is about leveraging your human talents to do what the robots can’t. The software can crunch the numbers in a heartbeat… it’s up to you to interpret what they mean (critical thinking) and use them to inform a course of action (decision making).

Moreover it’s not just about interacting with technology; it’s also about interacting with people. I’m referring to “soft skills” such as communicating your findings to your target audience (storytelling), hitting your mark (empathy) and motivating them to change (influencing).

And of course it’s about your own innate ability to handle change (eg adaptivity, resilience and active learning).” — @ryantracey


“Social learning is not a separate activity at work; it is one that is a vital part of daily work. So, if something crops up as you work, e.g., you might read something or hear something or do something that others might benefit from, then it’s important to share it with them.

Having said that, it’s also important to share effectively and discriminately – and not over-share. It’s about adding value to other people’s working lives and not overwhelming them with stuff, and certainly not about trying to reach the top of some artificial leaderboard that rewards those who post the most! But unless L&D does this themselves in their own teams, they cannot help or role model this behavior in others.” — @C4LPT


“The question then is not whether we have time for learning, at work or elsewhere. It is what kind of learning we are encouraged, and have the courage, to pursue.

We seldom visit the periphery of our knowledge and competence—the region where transformational learning happens—without feeling threatened, exposed, or ashamed. (That is why when we meet a friendly, forgiving face out there—which makes learning easier—we cherish it. We call that a mentor.) People like failure only in inspirational speeches. In real life we endure it, at best, and come to value it only if and when its lessons become clear. Workplace pressures and norms just turn our instinct to steer clear of failure into a habit.

Look past the rhetoric and you will find signs of the neglect of transformational learning everywhere. In the workplace as well as in many business school courses, with their emphasis on tools that can be taught in a weekend and applied on Monday morning. The learning that we privilege is the safer, incremental kind. Learning that makes us better at what we do but hardly frees us up to revisit why we do it that way or what, say, we may want to do next.

No wonder innovation lags, personal change eludes us despite our best intentions, and we hesitate to make the moves that would most help us lead.

This is most true for those managers whose work is so fast and visible that the pressure to keep up and prove oneself all but overwhelms the aspiration to step back and reflect. Their stifling predicament, however, is hardly a misfortune.

In that predicament lies, in short, the most valuable learning opportunity of all: the opportunity to recognize that transformational learning always involves defiance—of complacency, conformity, and norms. As such, it takes courage, not just time. And courage, in turn, is easier to muster and sustain with some support. Surely organizations could make it a bit easier. But it will never feel entirely safe.

In the end, good leaders are seldom spoon-fed. They are usually tempered. They pursue causes and questions that matter — even when it feels risky and no one else seems to care. When learning is too easy, it doesn’t teach us to lead.” — @gpetriglieri

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