What are you doing with your lessons?
You might be puzzled by this question but what would be the answer if you were to be asked it?
The belief that managing lessons or that lessons have to be learned seems to be fairly universal. You would have to travel a fair distance to find a company that would agree to the statement “We don’t want to learn anything from our lessons” either in private or public. If that is the case then why do companies focus on the identification and capture of lessons rather than the learning from that experience?
A recent survey found that 80% of companies either had or were planning to have a process to capture what they had learned eg capture their lessons.
Congratulations, you have captured what you learned.
But what have you done with it?
Common responses might include;
· It’s in the database
· It’s in the project report
· It’s in an Excel spreadsheet
Less common responses might include;
· We have assigned actions and are tracking them to ensure that the learning is embedded in the organisation
· We have someone who is accountable for ensuring that the learning is distilled and broadcast to those that can use it
Rather than saying that a lessons has been learned we should be saying a lesson has been identified. Learning doesn’t happen within an organisation until something has been changed. A caveat to that is where there has been noncompliance with existing procedures and standards. In that case the focus should be on understanding why the existing procedures and standards weren’t complied with rather than making changes to them!
A lesson is a valuable thing, don’t lose the value by just letting it sit on the shelf.