Team Learning Dynamic Supports Growth

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” 

– From the final speech prepared by John F. Kennedy

Some farsighted health care leaders in Maryland are taking Kennedy’s message to heart by recognizing the value of continuous learning in their organizations.

The “learning organization” approach —present throughout the business world and in the U.S. military — is perhaps most useful in the ever-changing world of health care.

Constantly learning and growing enables health care providers to remain competitive at a time when so-called “disrupters” such as Amazon and CVS are threatening to upend the status quo.

Peter M. Senge, author of “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization,” writes that a learning organization — a term he invented — is one that supports learning and continuously transforms itself.

The five disciplines include: systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning.

Team learning promotes dialogue and leads to shared understanding based on shared experiences. This can improve communication among associates, which ultimately can improve patient care.

Team learning has three critical dimensions, Senge writes. They include: the need to think insightfully about complex issues, the need for innovative, coordinated action, and the role of team members on other teams.

Facilitating team learning can be as simple as having a team of four go to a conference rather than one representative, who would share what they learned with the group.

Attending together offers a team an opportunity to gather in groups, have a common experience, and work together toward a common goal.

Team learning doesn’t have to take place in a formal setting. Instead, look around your hospital. Chances are you have quite a few knowledgeable individuals who may be close to planning their retirement.

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of as many as 120,000 physicians by 2030.

So, rather than lose that knowledge, use team learning to retain it for future generations of clinicians.

During MHEI’s annual Healthcare Leadership Conference on October 19, the concept of team learning will be inherent throughout the event. For more information about the conference, at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, or to register, click here.

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