The Discipline of Team Learning

The Discipline of Team Learning

Jeff Wolf, President, RCC

Time to read: 2 minutes

Have you ever been involved with a team that functioned superbly? It may have been in business, school, or sports. People trusted each other, complemented each other’s strengths, compensated for each other’s weaknesses, aimed for goals higher than anyone might have dared individually, and, as a result, produced an extraordinary outcome. In such teams, each member is committed to continual improvement, each suspends judgement as to what’s possible and removed mental limitations, each shares a vision of greatness, and the team’s collective competence is far greater than any individual’s. Team members recognize and understand the system in which they operate and how they can influence it.

These characteristics describe the essence of a learning law firm.  As with any team, the firm doesn’t start off great, it learns to be great.  Team learning is the process of aligning a team to avoid wasted energy and to create the results its members want. Team learning builds on the disciplines of shared vision and personal mastery because talented teams are, necessarily, made up of talented individuals.  Because the IQ of a team can be much higher than that of any of its members, teams are becoming the key learning units in law firms.

The discipline of team learning involves mastering the practices of dialogue and discussion.  In discussion (a word with the same roots as percussion and concussion) views are presented and defended, and the team searches for the best view to support decisions. Participants in discussion often want to win and see their view prevail.  While dialogue and discussion can be complementary, most teams can’t distinguish between them. The original meaning of the word dialogue, according to physicist David Bohm, suggests a free flow of meaning between people.  Bohm contends that in dialogue a group accesses a “larger pool of common meaning” that can’t be accessed by individuals alone.  The purpose of dialogue, then, is to go beyond the understanding held by each team member, and to explore complex issues creatively from many points of view.  After dialogue, decisions can be made and thus comes the need for discussion, where action is the focus. 

Team-building programs are a proven way to provide high-impact learning, increase team skills and communications, and improve morale and productivity. 

Contact us today to discuss our teambuilding programs, leadership development programs, attorney coaching, business development or to have nationally acclaimed speaker and award winning author Jeff Wolf speak at your next meeting, conference or retreat:  858-638-8260 or legal website.

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