Learn or Die | Edward D. Hess

Summary of: Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization
By: Edward D. Hess


Welcome to the captivating world of ‘Learn or Die: Using Science to Build a Leading-Edge Learning Organization’ by Edward D. Hess! This book unveils the mysteries of human learning and shows how you can apply its principles to create a High Performance Learning Organization (HPLO). Get ready to explore the two thinking modes – System 1 (autopilot) and System 2 (analytical) – and understand their impact on business decisions. Dive into the depths of how emotions affect learning and thinking, and uncover tools and methods to foster a learning environment in your organization.

The Power of System 2 Thinking

The human learning machine has two systems of thinking; System 1 and System 2. The former relies on instinct to conserve energy while the latter challenges automatic assumptions to consider new options and temper any bias. In business, System 1 thinking can hinder progress. Learning organizations must help employees overcome this preference for System 1 by processing information that challenges automatic assumptions. Observing and managing the way we think is essential to actual learning. Getting in the habit of using System 2 thinking requires reflection to identify critical moments when it could have helped.

Emotions and Learning

Emotions are essential to thinking, and managing them is crucial for effective learning. Positive emotions enhance cognitive processing, while negative emotions limit comprehension and trigger a fear response. You can combat fear by reframing situations to lessen their threat. Tools and methods to foster effective learning will be discussed in later parts.

Building a High-Performance Learning Organization

To build a High-Performance Learning Organization (HPLO), one must find the right people, create the right environment, and establish the right processes. Such an organization seeks internally motivated learners who view challenges as opportunities to learn. Such learners possess a growth mindset and confidence in their abilities, which provides them with an incentive to learn. In contrast to extrinsically motivated learners, who desire approval from others and shy away from challenges, intrinsically motivated learners welcome challenges, feedback, and new experiences. A HPLO aims to cultivate learning as a pivotal component of success.

Building a Positive Learning Environment

To build a high-performance learning organization, managers must cultivate a positive learning environment that fosters autonomy, challenges, and provides a safe space for employees to speak up. Such an environment recognizes learners’ individuality, deconstructs hierarchies, and evaluates leaders based on their ability to nurture employees’ growth. High employee engagement is achieved when managers take employees’ opinions into account, give them the opportunity to do what they do best, and recognize them for their good work. By creating a culture that inspires a learning mindset, organizations can break down the fear of failure and other inhibitors to learning, leading to a respectful, self-efficacious, and positive atmosphere that promotes learning and growth.

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