Seventh Practice of a Learning Culture

Practice #7 of 8 Embrace Diversity

Of the eight practices for building a learning culture, this the one that most tripped me up. I assumed that those who did not agree with me were wrong, and I assumed that those who did not speak had nothing to say.

Mistakes! This blind spot weakened the learning culture in the organisation. This is because it created a de facto split within the community and learning organisations are communities. The shadow side of a community is a clique. And the friction created by cliques kills learning.

In a learning culture, every perspective is given a place including the difficult perspectives. Disagreement is essential to transformation and learning. Therefore it must be legitimised. Conflict management is a key leadership skill.

Learning cultures have the capacity to agree to everything – that does not mean they must agree with everything. Change flows and when everything is seen. Once difficult perspectives are aired and respected they lose their grip on the agenda and learning grows.

Disturbance is not dysfunctional – it is developmental!

I learned that when I saw the organisation from others’ perspectives – particularly those who are in quite diverse parts of it – I became more responsible. I began to see that my attachment to my point of view was really a way of protecting myself and my perception of my interests.

Learning cultures help us to see ourselves and our biases. This is an essential foundation for learning organisations.

Practice #6 Reframing 

Practice #5 – Meaning is the New Money

Practice #4 – Create Practice Fields

Practice #3 – Become Bi-cultural

Practice #2 – Start with Ripe Issues

Practice #1- Integrate Learning and Working

Read about the Five Disciplines of Learning Organisations

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