Graduation season is here in the U.S., as people
all across the country celebrate the transition from one
phase of life to the next. Yet, even as we leave formal
schooling, we all remain learners throughout our
lives. In this month's issue, innovative facilitator and
trainer Adriano Pianesi talks about the role
of "unlearning" in helping us let go of past beliefs and
outdated knowledge so that we may acquire new
skills for a changing world. To the Class of 2010, and
to all of our readers, we wish you a lifetime of learning,
unlearning, and relearning!
|"Unlearning" in the Workplace
by Adriano Pianesi
Have you ever tried to drive on the left side of the
road if you are born in a country in which one drives on
the right? Or have you tried to use a measurement
system different from the one you originally learned as
a child? Or have you broken out in a sweat trying to
learn a foreign language or the latest version of a
software system you have been using for years? All
these situations confront us with the tough challenge
of replacing one behavior with a totally different one;
one in which the rich combination of behaviors,
knowledge, attitudes, and skills, reinforced over the
years, acts as a barrier to our efforts.
challenges of rapidly changing environments raise the
concern: Can people's ability to acquire new
knowledge in the workplace on an ongoing basis
keep up with the continuous introduction of new
change initiatives/new programs/new opportunities?
Organizations' preoccupation with acquiring the latest
information or knowledge rarely takes into account the
processes required to reassess and release already
acquired beliefs and previous learning. As result, the
challenge that many organizations face when
managing change programs and organizational
transformation is to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
As a trainer, I have always dealt head-on with
conflict, disagreement, resistance to new ideas,
differences of opinion, common fears, anxieties, and
feelings of incompetence in any class I have taught. A
workshop with those elements is the rule not the
exception and--more important--confronting the
dimensions of unlearning and relearning results in
more effective learning experiences that strengthen
the possibilities of real organizational renewal and
change. Unlearning should not be viewed as an end
in itself, but as a means to ensure learning
excellence, innovation, and ultimately change. I have
come to believe that, to effectively train adults in the
workplace, trainers must intentionally and deliberately
attend to the process of unlearning and then
I have guided groups through
learning and change in conditions of high uncertainty,
little management support, and scarce budgets.
Whether training on a new company policy, improving
teamwork skills, or working on organizational
transformation, I have faced unlearning decisively,
with the idea that it must be confronted before the
class, in the class, and after the class. In this article, I
would like to share the strategies and suggestions
that have proven helpful for me in supporting
individual and team unlearning in the
This article originally
Thinker, Vol. 20 N. 5 (June/July 2009).
|Visit Our New Conference Website!
Thinking in Action:
Cycles of Success
November 8-10, 2010
Boston Marriott Copley Hotel
We're pleased to announce the launch of our new
conference website, designed to provide you with
comprehensive information about this November's
20th annual Pegasus Conference.
Go to the site to:
Check back frequently for conference updates and
additional details. And plan to join us in Boston!
- See the outstanding line-up of keynote and other
- Learn about the special features that make the
conference a uniquely powerful learning experience
- Make your pre- and post-conference plans
- Get a glimpse of what Boston has to offer
- Register for what promises to be a memorable
and "impactful" event
now for greatest value.
Teams save even more. Contact Mark at
1-781-398-9700 for information about team discounts.
|Quality vs. Quantity in the Creative Process
by Robert Fritz
a now famous story, a pottery teacher divided his
class into two groups. He told one group that their
grade would be determined by the quality of their work
no matter how many pieces they made. The second
group would be measured not on the quality of their
work, but on the quantity. The more pieces, the higher
At the end of the semester, the
results were clear. The group that had made the most
pieces also had produced the highest quality work.
Ironically, those students who were directly focused
on quality were less able to produce quality. How
An Evening of Storytelling
Please join The Berkana Institute, Pegasus
Communications, Reos Partners, and the Society for
Organizational Learning (SoL) for an evening of
storytelling to celebrate the launch of Adam Kahane's
new book, Power and Love: A Theory and Practice
of Social Change.
When: Tuesday evening, June 15,
Where: Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn
Cost: $15 (includes a copy of Power and
Register here. Send any
questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming Up from
Learning to Unlearn: Six
Action-Packed Strategies for Facilitating Change in the
A live webinar for
change leaders in organizations and
Wednesday, June 2
2:00 - 3:30 PM
Organizations that seek to build a competitive
advantage by shifting behaviors for good must support
their people through a continuous cycle of learning,
unlearning, and relearning. Yet, the work of replacing
old assumptions, concepts, and values can be
uncomfortable. How can we make the work of
unlearning both effective and supremely energizing?
In this fun and engaging session, innovative
trainer Adriano Pianesi will share a simple
framework for helping people unlearn and lay the
groundwork for future success.
Learn more and register...
See other Pegasus webinars
Participate in a Research
Study on Learning Styles
Leverage Points readers are invited to
participate in a brief online survey developed by
Pegasus community members Lucy Garrick and
Nalani Linder. The research seeks to understand the
relationships between people's approaches to
understanding complex problem and their learning
styles. Click here for instructions on
how to participate and here for
details about the study.
Find Us, Fan Us, Follow
And don't forget to subscribe to our Leverage
Points blog so you'll be notified by email each time
a new post is added!