Jul 5, 2010

The Indian Way of Learning?

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One of my favorite programs on TV these days is Business Sutra on CNBC-TV18 which has mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik looking at Indian myths to decipher what are the uniquely Indian ways and how they impact business and work in India.

More interestingly for me - in the embedded video below Devdutt talks about the Indian way of Learning

He says that a Training department - separate from the business is the wrong way to go about it - because if the purpose of a business is growth, then learning - as a precursor to growth - becomes the core of the business - and the business leader who imparts learning gains as much - if not more than the person who is the "learner"

But the crux of the learning method for India - is encapsulated in his statement that while the rest of the world believes that "Feed a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and he will not be hungry again" in India the belief is "help him discover his own way of catching fish, because then that is his own!" 

I agree with what Devdutt says, and the main issue (which he touches) is how do we make a process that internalises that growth in the organization is not possible - unless one has shared his/her learning/information with the next generation, and move ahead to the next responsibility.

Business these days is fast and "real time" - there is little or no introspection for (as we L&D types say!) "double-loop learning" - which is not just learning what we did right/wrong - but also why and how we did it right/wrong.

Often such answers are not arrived by solitary introspection - but in conversation with someone who doesn't know - a student - who would ask "how and why" without knowing the norms - that is one way for businesses to evolve into learning organization- giving time and space for introspection by coaching - sharing war stories and letting young soldiers ask questions

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