What it takes to learn to walk:
Having things around us to hold onto – sofas, chairs, people’s legs
Experimenting – learning by doing rather than by thinking it through
People to model walking for us
People to applaud us, encourage us on
People who know what we’re working on and are willing to let it happen
People who are willing to let us fall
Spaces that will allow us to fall
Allowing ourselves to be clumsy
Gentleness with ourselves
Caring enough about it to stay at it
Our willingness to open to a new and unknown world
How rarely we allow our learning to be this way. Increasingly, and particularly in our organisations, we want learning to be quick, simple, obvious, least-effort, fail-safe, planned from end to end. We want to not make mistakes, not look stupid, not expose ourselves. We want immediate, measurable results.
We want to not be troubled by what and how we learn.
We want to know where we’re going before we set off.
We don’t want to be surprised.
We apply these criteria even to what’s most rewarding, most meaningful, and most pragmatically useful to us.
And even when it’s quite the opposite of what’s actually, most practically, called for.