Team Learning

My philosophy is that a learning organization utilizes the concept of teams and understands that the coordinated efforts of many are more efficient than the isolated effort(s) of any individual, or collection of individuals.   Organizations are composed of teams of various sizes.   In small companies, a single team may be the organization.   Larger organizations may be comprised of many discrete teams.   As Senge (1990) stated, “collective learning occurs at multiple hierarchical levels: individual, group, organizational, and societal.”   With each increasing level of complexity, the challenge of learning becomes more difficult.
Team Learning
    This kind of learning is usually driven by one person (or a few committed individuals).   Individual learning becomes team or organizational learning only when leaders institute a conscious effort - either by personal example or by directed policy - to seek out new information that could potentially change the nature of the operating environment, or to interactions of those who operate within it.   Effective teams are like well-oiled, finely-tuned machines.   The various members work “seamlessly” with one another, virtually without friction.   It requires concerted effort and practice, practice, practice.   In 1645 Miamoto Musashi, the prototypical samurai warrior, wrote A Book of Five Rings in which he described what it took to become a samurai:   “Practice is the only way that you will ever come to understand what the Way of the warrior is about…Words can only bring you to the foot of the path.” (1974)  
The team learning that Senge refers to is not functional expertise.   It’s composed of two distinctly different domains:   teamwork and systems thinking.

Team Learning vs. Teamwork
    The operative word here is “learning,” not “team.”   The important activities associated with learning are capture, retention, recall, and application.   All that is important from the team perspective is that team members recognize the need to...