It is an understatement to say that organizations are experiencing more change than ever before. In fact, most of us are finally getting used to the idea that constant change is a part of living and working within organizations. What is less understood is how to work within the uncertainty, instability, confusion, and loss of control that accelerating change creates.
To deal with the conditions that change creates; we use all of the skills, knowledge, and experience that we have at our disposal. However, when we try to fix problems, we can make them worse than they were in the first place. Then, we ask ourselves questions to try to make sense of the resulting confusion: “What is going on? What are we doing wrong? Why can’t we make things better? Why do our fixes not work?” Common answers to these questions are even less helpful: “It’s their fault! We didn’t have enough time or resources to do it right! We didn’t get any help! We should have known what to do!”
The reason that we fail to solve these complex problems has little to do with being smart enough to deal with accelerating change. It has more to do with not being smart in a way that works when the degree of complexity is so high. Nothing that we have learned in the past has prepared us to deal with increasing complexity and the change that it creates. Unless we think and act differently, we will continue to struggle with problems we cannot seem to solve.
If we are to match the speed of change, or, perhaps, to slow it down and to change its direction, we need a completely different approach to dealing with complexity. Action learning- a way of thinking and acting that enables us to solve real problems in real time, and to create the resilience required to deal with complexity and change. is such an approach
Since publishing the first edition in 2003, MHA Institute has learned a tremendous amount from successes in applying action learning in many situations and organizations. This second edition includes this learning, as well as ways in which to apply this approach in life and work.
New sections in this Guide include sections on more information on Reg Revans, the father of action learning, on the action learning process itself, on doing action learning as a team on team issues, and on using action learning in daily life and work.
Who Should Buy This Guide? This Guide is designed for people who want to learn to solve complex problems in a diverse group environment. These groups can be formed in a variety of ways, either inside or outside an organization. There are three criteria for people who form an action-learning group. These people:
- Do not work together on a daily basis
- Are not of the same occupational group
- Do not report to each other
There are instructions in the Guide on how to form, co-ordinate, and facilitate action-learning groups. You do not need any facilitating experience to do action learning.