(In this series of posts offering excerpts from the book, 'The Wisdom of Teams' by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith (Harvard Business School Press), the excerpts are in bold.)
naturally integrate performance and learning. We have yet to meet anyone who
disagrees with the aspiration implied in the “learning organization.” Yet, many
people also express concerns over how to balance short-term performance
emphasis with longer-term institution building. Teams, we discovered, do just
that. By translating longer-term purposes into definable performance goals and
then developing the skills needed to meet those goals, learning not only occurs
in teams but endures."
One of the deep and critical insights that participants experience in a "CorporateTheatre" workshop is that they are in a continuously 'learning' mode. This is not a conscious effort, but a natural state of spontaneous adaption and response to new stimuli and challenges with new competencies and attitudes.
The very first session of any "CorporateTheatre" module takes participants to a kindergarten level of freedom where all baggage of seniority, hierarchy, qualification, experience, and past patterns of 'professional' behaviour, is dropped. This freedom converts people from being 'products' to being 'processes'. As a 'product' I have set patterns of behaviour, set beliefs, set responses that are difficult to change. As a 'process' I can be different now from what I was a moment before. This is actually experienced and demonstrated by participants as individuals and as teams.
The learning that is derived from this experience is that to be a 'learning' individual, a 'learning' team, or a 'learning' organization, we need to experience ourselves as 'processes' and not as 'products'. Without this process-ability we may not even see the change that is happening around us. As is said in Zen,
"You never step in the same river twice".
We need to see the newness of the river from moment to moment to be able to adapt and optimise the new possibilities that arise.
As is consistently experienced during the workshop, the second 'pillar' of a 'natural' team is: everyone, irrespective of their role or function has clarity of the same goal, and alignment to the same collective winning. Once this pillar is in place, people inevitably find new competences, create the necessary resources, and complement each other towards collective and collaborative excellence. This ability to reinvent oneself, as inviduals, as teams, and as organizations, is essential to 'learning'.
As stated in the "CorporateTheatre" principles of learning,
"If there is learning, there is transformation. If there is no transformation, there has been no learning."