We progress by learning from our mistakes. If we don’t learn from them, we don’t progress. Simples, says the meerkat. Or is it? 

The notion that individuals must learn from their mistakes is well embedded, and the concepts around Kolb’s learning cycle is widely included in management development courses. 

What about corporate learning, however? As author and researcher Arnold Kransdorff points out in his recently published DIY Toolkit[1] flexible working and frequent job is causing corporate amnesia, affecting productivity. As Kransdorff says, “At the exact point when your workplace continuity gets interrupted and there’s no second-hand or vicarious memory for anyone to remember, your unique knowledge chain – whether good, bad or indifferently realised- similarly breaks. Thereupon, all useful pre-break knowledge, experience and acquired wisdom needs to be reinvented, unnecessarily.” 

Kransdorff offers guides to ensure we capture learning at crucial junctures, so it becomes a corporate resource, and sets out processes for codifying people’s experiences to create organisational memory.

I read Kransdorff’s work when I was working with a client on talent acquisition – discussing how to interview managers to surface a deep understanding of role requirements in times of rapid change. Kransdorff’s chapter on debriefing managers to capture their experiences was directly relevant to show how transferable his techniques are.

A great bit of reading (and doing) for 2020 but, for now, we wish you all a very happy and restful festive season. We will be back in January with hot topics for the new decade.

Janice Caplan

© Janice Caplan 2019