Do you treat learning like an event or a process?

BY Jeff Cobb

Photo of rock in a fast flowing stream

I see this as a “beautiful question” that can spark some very productive discussion when asked of the right stakeholders in you organization.

It’s a question that can fundamentally impact both your education business strategy and your ongoing operations.

If you treat learning like an event, then you probably place a great deal of emphasis on logistics. You focus on getting it right. You make sure they like it – which may mean you probably don’t take very many risks. You have a process, yes – probably a very good one – but the process is about the event. Learning is something that “takes place.” And then you start planning for the next time.

If, on the other hand, learning is a process, it seeps into everything you do, not just the things listed in your catalog or slotted for rooms at your annual meeting. It is deeply integrated into your marketing (all 4 Ps). It drives your social strategy. It is everywhere and always, and as a result, has the potential to create tremendous ongoing value. And it allows for risks. In fact, risks – along with a certain amount of failure – are essential.

It’s not enough, of course, to simply think about learning in this way. Look at the actual behavior of your organization. Based on the way you do things, perhaps have always done things, are you treating learning like an event or a process?

It’s worth some discussion.


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