True learning LO3929

Dave Birren, MB-5, 608-267-2442 (
Wed, 29 Nov 1995 09:17 CST

Replying to Rol Fessenden in Organizational Thinking LO3908:

>In some cases, the expected outcome occurs, and learning -- confirmation
>of thought processes -- occurs. In other cases, the expected outcome does
>not occur, and learning -- assessment and development of a new hypothesis
>-- occurs.
> . . .
>I don't really see why there needs to be any emphasis on making mistakes.

Yep. Either way it's a winner. But what do we do instead? We get so
invested in expected outcomes that anything else threatens our self-esteem
and is therefore bad. One of the single most important things any adult
can do - with children, employees, friends, family - is to adopt Rol's
perspective and lift up those who make mistakes, dust them off and help
them see that it's all just learning. What a profound impact this one
change could have if even 10 per cent of us could practice it

This reminds me of something a friend said to me the other day that is
rearranging my attitudes. She said, "Judgments are reactions we have that
protect us from things we're afraid of." I wonder how much organizational
behavior is rooted in judgments whose source is fear. Any thoughts about
this out there?


David E. Birren                          Phone:   (608)267-2442
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources     Fax:     (608)267-3579
Bureau of Management & Budget            E-mail:

"Our future is to be food - Wisdom's gift - for what comes after us." -- Saadi (Neil Douglas-Klotz)