SERVANT-LED ORGANIZATIONS, PART IV. . .

Do you know, do you comprehend, in the moment, who or what you serve? –Maya Angelou

Servant-Led organizations are inherently learning organizations.  ‘Transactional Learning’ is important AND ‘Transformational Learning’ is crucial.  Transactional Learning is focused on what we do; Transformational Learning is focused on who we are and on who we are choosing to become.

For example, in transformational learning there are few problems ‘out there’ to be solved independent of how we think and act in articulating those problems.  In addition, there are many more paradoxes, polarities and dilemmas to be embraced and engaged than there are problems to be solved.  Transformational learning involves identifying, embracing and engaging more than ‘solving’.

Transformational learning involves a process – experience plus reflection is one of the key processes that promotes learning.

Transformational learning requires that we learn how to learn together – communal learning, if you will.  ‘We’ are the learner.  This is a challenge for us in our Culture for we are a Culture rooted in the primacy of the individual-as-learner.  What is required of a servant-led learning organization is the development of a learning community.

Servant-Leadership is relationship oriented.  The first relationship is the one I have with myself and the second is the relationship(s) I develop with the other(s).  Interdependence trumps independence (and ‘dependency’ as in ‘Tell me what to do and I will do it!’).

Some folks in the organization will be ‘naturally’ disposed to a systems-view of learning and development and these are the folks that must both help others understand, embrace and experience a systems-view of learning and must ‘model’ this type of learning.  A challenge: over time, how does an organization address those who do not (perhaps ‘are not able to’) develop their capacities to learn in this way.

One important process for those disposed to a systems-view of learning – and a process that will help those that are not so disposed – is the process of developing and engaging community-building activities; these activities are rooted in practical experiences/experimentation.  They foster trust-building, trust-maintaining, trust-rebuilding and they help develop and enhance ways of learning together.  Again, the ‘WE’ not the ‘I’ becomes the learner.

Since ‘WE’ are in this together – there are no ‘teachers’ in the traditional sense, there are, however, ‘guides’.  The ‘guides’ will bring different, and necessary, skills, talents, abilities, gifts, etc. to the learning community.  A simple process might well look like this: experience-reflection-inquiry-reflection-experience, etc.

For a servant-led learning organization the learning process – rooted in the community as learner – is truly a never-ending process.  The process thus becomes a ‘sustaining’ process and a ‘renewing’ process – an evolutionary process, if you will.  It is a ‘never-ending story’ – a story that ‘WE’ are always writing and living.

Through learning we re-create ourselves. –Peter Senge

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