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Why Organizations Don't Learn

Virtually all leaders believe that to stay competitive, their enterprises must learn and improve every day. But even companies revered for their dedication to continuous learning find it difficult to always practice what they preach.

Why do companies struggle to become or remain “learning organizations”? Through research conducted over the past decade across a wide range of industries, concludes that: Biases cause people to focus too much on success, take action too quickly, try too hard to fit in, and depend too much on experts.

Bias Toward Success: Leaders across organizations may say that learning comes from failure, but their actions show a preoccupation with success. This focus is not surprising, but it is often excessive and impedes learning by raising challenges like Fear of failure, A fixed mindset it can be growth mindset or growth mindset, Overreliance on past performance, The attribution bias.

In a study conducted with Chris Myers, they asked participants to work on two different decision-making tasks spaced one week apart. Each task had a correct solution, but only a few people were able to identify it. They found that participants who took responsibility for doing poorly on the first activity were almost three times as likely to succeed on the second one. They learned from their failure and made better decisions as a result.

Leaders can use the following methods to encourage others to find the silver lining in failures, adopt a growth mindset, focus on potential, and overcome the attribution bias.