Monday, November 09, 2015

Why Organizations Don’t Learn
Francesca Gino
Bradley Staats
Harvard Business Review,  R1511G-PDF-ENG

Great article. The following are the challenges they found., Their recommended actions to resolve these issues are in the article.

Why do companies struggle to become or remain “learning organizations”? Through research conducted over the past decade across a wide range of industries, we have drawn this conclusion: Biases cause people to focus too much on success, take action too quickly, try too hard to fit in, and depend too much on experts. In this article we discuss how these deeply ingrained human tendencies interfere with learning—and how they can be countered. 
Bias Toward Success
Leaders across organizations may say that learning comes from failure, but their actions show a preoccupation with success. This focus is not surprising, but it is often excessive and impedes learning by raising four challenges.
Challenge #1: Fear of failure.
Failure can trigger a torrent of painful emotions—hurt, anger, shame, even depression. As a result, most of us try to avoid mistakes; when they do happen, we try to sweep them under the rug.
Challenge #2: A fixed mindset.
Individuals with a growth mindset, who believe that intelligence and talents can be enhanced through effort, regard mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. By contrast, individuals with a fixed mindset, who believe that intelligence and talents are innate and unchangeable, think mistakes signal a lack of ability.
Challenge #3: Over reliance on past performance.
When making hiring and promotion decisions, leaders often put too much emphasis on performance and not enough on the potential to learn.
Challenge #4: The attribution bias.
It is common for people to ascribe their successes to hard work, brilliance, and skill rather than luck; however, they blame their failures on bad fortune. This phenomenon, known as the attribution bias, hinders learning (see “Why Leaders Don’t Learn from Success,” HBR, April 2011). In fact, unless people recognize that failure resulted from their own actions, they do not learn from their mistakes. 
Bias Toward Action
How do you usually respond when you are faced with a problem in your organization? If you’re like most managers, you choose to take some kind of action
Challenge #1: Exhaustion.
Not surprisingly, exhausted workers are too tired to learn new things or apply what they already know
Challenge #2: Lack of reflection.Being “always on” doesn’t give workers time to reflect on what they did well and what they did wrong 
Bias Toward Fitting In
When we join an organization, it’s natural to want to fit in. But this tendency leads to two challenges to learning
Challenge #1: Believing we need to conform.
Early in life, we realize that there are tangible benefits to be gained from following social and organizational norms and rules. As a result, we make a significant effort to learn and adhere to written and unwritten codes of behavior at work. But here’s the catch: Doing so limits what we bring to the organization

Challenge #2: Failure to use one’s strengths.
When employees conform to what they think the organization wants, they are less likely to be themselves and to draw on their strengths

Bias Toward Experts

Beginning in the early 20th century, the scientific management movement introduced a rigorous approach to examining how organizations operate.

Challenge #1: An overly narrow view of expertise.
Organizations tend to define “expert” too narrowly, relying on indicators such as titles, degrees, and years of experience

Challenge #2: Inadequate front-line involvement.
Front-line employees—the people directly involved in creating, selling, delivering, and servicing offerings and interacting with customers—are frequently in the best position to spot and solve problems.

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