Teaching Smart People How to Learn
by Chris Argyris
Any company that aspires to succeed in a competitive environment must first resolve a basic dilemma: success in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning, yet most people don’t know how to learn. Professionals tend to be enthusiastic about externally-focused learning, and many feel embarrassed or threatened when improvement efforts focus on their own performance. Organizations can begin to crack the vicious circle of defensive reasoning by first having those in leadership positions critically examine their own defensive behavior patterns to change the way they act. This is key to a successful innovation assessment. Once managers see how productive reasoning can make a direct difference in their own performance and in that of the organization, they will have a strong incentive to reason productively.