Caring is the essential motive. –Robert K. Greenleaf (‘Advices to Servants’)
Becoming a servant-led organization rooted in learning requires a commitment to performance (seeking, in Greeleaf’s words, to shun mediocrity and embrace distinction) and practice (remember, Gentle Reader, practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent – so an organization must be clear as to what it chooses to practice). Performance and Practice require a commitment to Reflection (Reflection plus P & P opens the pathway to and supports Learning).
This complex developmental (evolutionary and perhaps ‘transformational’) process will not occur simply because people are well-intentioned. The process is too important to be left to simply being well-intentioned. This developmental process requires generational commitment. It could be that the ‘vision’ will be realized with the advent of the third generation – How many organizations have the patience for this? (Remember, Gentle Reader, we are a Culture that is addicted to speed; we are suffering from a dis-ease called ‘hurry sickness’.)
Consider this: ALL high achieving ‘teams’ are committed to continuous learning and continuous development. They are constantly experimenting and evolving. They are constantly discerning what they need to let go of and what to take on. By the by, when it comes to ‘letting go of…’ they will also seek to identify and let go of what has worked in the past but no longer serves their needs (this is one of the most difficult ‘letting go of’ challenges).
Servant-led learning organizations do not seek to walk the talk for this is a trap (being imperfect human beings it will be impossible to do this); they will, instead, embrace this mantra: Stumble the Mumble! This mantra allows all to be fully human – the learning process itself involves some stumbling and mumbling about.
Here are a few guidelines that might help you, Gentle Reader, as you reflect upon what I have to offer.
- The learner determines what the learner needs to learn. As Howard Behar reminds us, the person who uses the broom chooses the broom that will best meet the needs.
- If one is given the ‘power’ to act (power = one’s ability to act) one must also be given the ‘power’ to learn.
- How ‘leadership’ answers the following question will determine the path(s) chosen: Do you want the learner to comply, adapt, buy-in or emotionally own the…?
- Learning how to learn as a ‘team’ – where support and accountability are balanced – is more powerful than individual learning.
- ‘Space’ and ‘Time’ must be created in order to help maximize the learning experience – Learning must be intentional and purpose-full; ‘theory’ is rooted in ‘experience’.
- Learning involves a never-ending cycle of experience, experimentation, reflection, response and improvement.
Given this, it is crucial to remember – or to learn – that the process and the content are inseparable. What?
Caring, as we know, is an exacting and demanding business. –Robert K. Greenleaf (‘Advices to Servants’)