Mind The Gap

October 6, 2022

Traveling back in time to 1982, the theory of Action Learning was developed by Reg Revans. Action Learning is “learning while doing” and bringing people together with different perspectives on a specific problem.

He writes:  

“The most precious asset of any organization is the one most readily overlooked: it's capacity to build upon its lived experience, to learn from its challenges, and to turn in a better performance by inviting all and sundry to work out for themselves what that performance ought to be.” 

Nowadays “all and sundry” is not only people. In addition to gathering people from different areas of the organization, we also have a new member of the team who has got a voice of their own, The AI, Digital Platform, Data Platform, Digital Core, etc. It can be called many things, but the objectives are the same. To make your organization work as a whole and to collect company data, integrate the organization’s technical and human capabilities, and provide decision-makers with insight and understanding, and more and more frequently, to make decisions for us. This voice strengthens the capacity to build upon lived experiences, learn from its challenges, and churn out better performance. 

Most people agree. Just look at most annual reports and you will find that every CEO is talking about how digitalization will make the company perform better. However, my own analysis indicates that there is a significant gap between the words of the CEO and a truly digitalized organization. Sure, all the technical capabilities are in place and a CDO role has been seated in the management team. This, however, must come hand in hand with a stronger focus on changing the way an organization is led and operates.  

I suggest starting with the board and top management, ensuring they are provided with a much higher competence level regarding digitalization. No one questions the need for high competence in finance and business administration and the same needs to be realized for digitalization. Considering the impact digitalization has on any organization, the same focus clearly needs to be applied. When higher competence is achieved at the management level, I strongly believe that the organization and its operating model will be rearchitected. More focus will be spent on bringing the “new voice” to the table and recognizing when to listen and when not to.

I can assure you that by taking this approach, your capacity to create a learning organization that builds upon lived experiences, learns from its challenges, and turns in better performance will be truly amazing and inspiring for others to do the same. 

Want to learn more about Action Learning please contact me at john.torgersson@emcap.se

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