Wanted: Learning Organization that Seeks Problems

Problems can shut everything down. Sometimes the problem feels so big that we can’t see a solution. We give up. In a learning organization, the only way to overcome is to seek those problems out, putClassified them under a light and work together to find solutions. Sounds so easy, but I know it’s not.

Peter Senge‘s vision of a learning organization is inspiring and exciting as described in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. According to Wikipedia, he says it’s “a group of people working together collectively to enhance their capacities to create results they really care about”. Wow! That’s an organization I want to be part of. Our district’s strategic directions echo his five characteristics, and we are trying to work in structures to move toward shared vision, personal mastery and team learning.

Senge also suggests that problems can stall the process of learning. This comes up for me when I hear people say, “We’ve always done it this way.” I get it. The way we’ve always done it is comfortable, it’s part of our culture and trying to change it seems to involve so many people and structures. And a lot of people get angry when you try to change something we’ve always done to solve a problem. They come up with loud counter arguments, they post on social media, or they call the mainstream media. It’s hard to move forward.

Still, I don’t think it’s a reason not to try. Although I may want to run from those tricky problems, give people that shout the loudest their way, or work quietly away in my own little corner, I need to always have the courage to face the issues, have the hard conversations and find solutions. And I certainly can’t do it alone. We need educators and partners with a growth mindset who have a nose for problems and want to collaborate to learn how to solve them. Let’s seek them out together.


2 Responses to “Wanted: Learning Organization that Seeks Problems”

  1. Aviva (@avivaloca) Avatar
    Aviva (@avivaloca)

    Sue, I totally agree with you here, but how would you suggest that we get started with tackling these big problems? What if you feel like the lone wolf, or at least part of a small pack of lone wolves? What if there always seem to be good reasons not to change? How would you suggest beginning these tricky conversations? How do you help get people comfortable with being uncomfortable? Thanks, as always, for giving me so much to think about.


    1. These are a lot of questions! Your main wondering seems to be how to work through the steps of solving big problems. Have you ever heard the expression, “How do you eat an elephant? – One bite at a time!”. We all have our own sphere of influence and that’s where we can begin.

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