‘Learning on the Job’ is not the same as ‘Learning is the job’


I am fortunate to have worked with some of the best people and excellent managers. And there is a very important thing that I learnt early on from one of them – That ‘ Learning’ is not the objective of the role, it is rather the outcome; a very important one at that. In India, I often find a lot of people who just keep changing jobs and roles ostensibly for the purpose of ‘Learning’..And I often come across a reasonably large number of people who have a litany of experiencies but practically can provide no insights.

Here’s my line of thoughts – Learning through the job is an expected outcome;However, we all work to ‘achieve results’ NOT to ‘Learn at the expense of the organisation and the team members we work with’. So It is important to remember the distinction – It is essential to keep learning on the job as you progress towards the goals and objectives for the role, but that is not the same as making ‘Learning’ as the job. Learning is an essential input to achieving your goals and it is also a secondary outcome of the success or failure to achieve your professional goals over a period of time.

No one can, will or should recruit anyone to ‘Learn ‘. I work for an organization that considers ‘Learning’ as one the primary imperatives.. But I quite often see a lot of people who misinterpret that to mean ” Look don’t expect results, I am here to learn and that’s what the company wants too,isnt it? ‘

I know someone may say , ” But isnt it the job of researchers and Academicians to learn ? ” – My answer to that is “No, The job of researchers is to solve problems by applying thought and ideas – Learning is a process there, not the purpose. As for academicians, their primary job is to shape the learning process for others.” Anyone who ends up considering “Learning as a Primary objective” often ends up frittering away their time and resources in a directionless pursuit and quite often achieves nothing but a sense of having ” Hoarded Knowledge”. And it is these ‘Knowledge Hoarders’ that are the most dangerous lot – They end up with a sense of superiority because of that ” I know it all” feeling and are most likely to provide prescriptive consultantese jargon that makes no sense to anyone. Simplicity in the professional world is not about simplicity of ideas, rather , it is about the simplicity in implementing ideas. Knowledge hoarders often tend to misplace their priorities and either over-simplify ideas or over-complicate implementation with too many details.

So where does this lead to from an organisation perspective – For Knowledge Managers, this means they have to focus on ‘Actionable Knowledge’ as well as ” Knowledge in Action”…CoPs, Dynamic Whiteboards using Web2.0 technology and other such interactive forums will be more useful in prevent hoarding of knowledge and over-complication of solutions. it is important to remember that as humans we only have the ability to retain and assess 6-7 pieces of decision-making data at any point in time – Knowledge hoarders are at a higher risk of selecting the wrong 6-7 pieces of decision making data! Knowledge managers,thus have to identify these knowledge hoarders and motivate them to develop theories and frames of reference for use towards the greater common good of the teams they work with!

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~ by exploreamaze on November 11, 2010.

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