The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Adding value

Over the last weeks, I’ve been talking with quite a few people who have had the experience of learning together. They all contributed to each other’s work in many ways. And yet, a question nagging them on that learning journey is their quest to add value.

In a mastermind group I’m leading I’m regularly experiencing how participants seek to move away from an approach in which everyone is invited to reflect on a situation to one where people share what they have done.

In both cases, the default answer is searched within the individual’s knowledge. His or her professional expertise. It assumes that adding value lies within the ability to provide a solution.

None of this is astonishing. Since early childhood, success has been associated with “knowing the answer”. Whereas failing has been associated with a lack of answers. It explains why experts are sought out for their answers and leaders are expected to have answers.

Both groups struggle with the same question. How can value come out of uncertainty?

Something that goes unnoticed here is how much uncertainty experts and leaders have to deal with until they have an answer. And even more so how many questions they have to ask until a useful answer emerges.

But beyond this, what both groups find hard to see is, that their learning doesn’t require experts or leaders. In most situations they actually prevent learning.

Most adult learning isn’t about finding a solution, it’s about developing our ability to come to our own answers.


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