Have you ever been to a presentation or course and thought “that was interesting”, then gone back to your work and forgotten almost all about it?  Or read a self-help book, and thought “yes, I should give that a go”, but not given it a go?

If you answered Yes, you are not alone.  It is very easy to concentrate on what is in-front of you at the time.  But, if you do nothing with the information that you are given, that is all that it is – someone has shared information with you, and you have not turned it into knowledge. It is only when you choose to take action, that you turn that information into knowledge and start really to learn from the experience.

What is Action Learning?

Action Learning provides an environment for individuals in a group to overcome their problems to grow, whether it be common challenges that they face or for personal development. It’s not a new thing – it has been around since the 1960s in various formats.

At the heart of Action Learning is the concept that you will only learn from taking action, and that you can only take action through learning.  They work hand in hand.  And furthermore, for Action Learning to be truly successful, knowledge needs to be shared by people that care about each other’s needs – you are more likely to agree to be challenged to do something new or different if you feel supported, and then you will take action.

How our clients use Action Learning to solve business problems

At The Organised Business, we coordinate and facilitate peer to peer support groups called “The Board”.  We match a group of individuals, who as business owners, face a similar set of challenges, yet have diverse experiences and backgrounds to ensure the group members complement each other’s differing skills and strengths.

We provide them with a venue, a set of ground-rules and a structure to enable each member of The Board to take turns presenting a problem that is keeping them awake at night – that problem could be about finances, branding, people issues, business growth issues or even a “get out” plan, the problems are wide and varied.  We then encourage the rest of the group to ask questions to clarify the problem before giving ideas based on their own previous experience and insight.  It is a supportive, yet challenging process which also encourages self-reflection.  In the room, there is often more than 75 years’ business experience just waiting to be tapped into.

The outcome of each problem presentation is a list of actions that is generated based on the ideas expressed by fellow group members.  These are followed up on our online forum and also at the start of each meeting (just a bit of positive peer pressure).  Every member of The Board cares as to how well your problem is resolved.

The Benefits of Action Learning

As well as having a sounding board with a wealth of experiences to share problems with, an Action Learning group can also become a group of people who you go on to trust and have a long-term relationship with.  They start to care about the success of your business and about you too, and you will find the solutions to your problems together.  Supporting other people to overcome their problems is a reward in itself, and you will realise that you have skills you did not know you had!

You will also become concise when considering your problems to help you to identify the root cause, as well as developing your skills in getting a message across in a clear and efficient way.

What next?

If you want to know more about Action Learning, I suggest you have a read of books by Reg Revans or Peter Senge.  Or why not consider joining an Action Learning Group?  Groups of The Board meet in the South East on a bi-monthly basis.  If you would like to join one of our peer to peer support groups, please click here for more information.