Are you using action learning? Blog about it here.

Action learning is a proven method of generating breakthrough solutions and strategies. But did you know that action learning is useful in producing healthy organizational cultures? In this year’s annual forum of The World Institute for Action Learning-USA (WIAL-USA) our theme is: Energizing Engagement through Action Learning.


We are excited to showcase three highly acclaimed professionals in the worlds of action learning and leader and organizational development: Dr. Reldan (Relly) Nadler, Dr. Bea Carson, and Dr. Michael Marquardt.


Dr. Nadler is the author of many books on leadership and team performance. He is a Master Certified Executive Coach (MCC) who has coached and helped thousands of leaders and is a senior faculty member of The College of Executive Coaching, one of the oldest coaching schools. Relly has spent many years in the world of experiential learning and is an expert in applying emotional intelligence tools to business objectives and leadership development.

Here’s the bottom line on learning and organizations: research into formerly high performing organizations have consistently found that organizational exploitation drives out exploration. What does that mean? It’s simple, as organizations exploit the marketplace by doing what they do best for profit and market share, they consequently stop exploring and looking for new ideas, they stop learning in critical ways which could guarantee future success. It’s not hard to do in companies if you think about it. For one thing it’s difficult to do two things at once, particularly if those two things appear to conflict with one another or be unrelated, requiring different thinking, and acting. Secondly, there always seems to be some other “alligators close to the boat” which need immediate swatting before you can even think about exploring, being creative, or learning anything new. Companies that adopt this exploitation lather, rinse, and repeat mind-set however risk losing the balance they once had between everyday performance and innovative creativity and the ability to leverage learning in new ways that guarantee sustained long-term success. To put this performance strategy into a sports metaphor, they’re setting themselves up for a great short game but no long one!  


Exploitation drives out explorationIf 40 plus years of research about exploitation and exploration says this is an inevitable dilemma, and it does, then what’s the solution? The solution is the practice of organizational ambidexterity, a type of learning organization with the ability to be simultaneously exploitative and explorative in the marketplace, managing both in a rhythmic balance and dance which promote both short and long-term performance and success. Mastering this however is not easy and takes a certain amount of trust and grit, however, for the companies which have adopted this model and routinely execute it like Toyota and Google to name a few, it is a combination that works and works well.

Summer is around the corner, and we’re busy behind the scenes planning for the 2018 WIAL-USA Annual Forum set for this fall in Seattle, Washington. You won’t want to miss this year’s program, “Energizing Engagement through Action Learning”.  We selected engagement as it remains a critical topic that continues to be at the center of attention for leaders and organizations throughout America.