Why Ontological Learning is Good for Your Business

Why ontological learning is good for your businessWhy Ontological Learning is Good for Your Business

The traditional approach to learning in the workplace focuses on developing systems, structures and practices to ensure efficient operations and positions in the market.  Organizations looking for a competitive edge are asking the question “is this enough”. All of these systems and structures depend on individuals to implement. Even the best systems in the world produce different levels of outcome depending on the individual. If you’ve eaten at a chain fast food restaurant you know that they are not all created equal. The systems may be the same but the outcome of food and service still depend on the effectiveness of each employee. Efficient businesses depend on human behavior, in particular communicative behavior.

Communication in the Workplace

How people behave and communicate in the workplace is reflected in their conversations. The quality of conversations in the workplace impacts on the quality of relationships and workplace relationships have a major impact on performance. What gets done and how well it is done depends on what is happening, and not happening, in conversations.

Organizational life requires people to be in continual transformation, so that their workplace behavior, communication and work practices are evolving with ever-changing circumstances. This is going to require more than learning new strategies every now and then. People need to be the generators of their own learning and developers of more effective conversational strategies that produce performance improvement.

Way of Being

Ontological learning is a deeper form of learning that gets to the heart of what it means to be human. This is learning that focus on our way of being.  From this perspective, our way of being is a continual dynamic interplay between language, emotions and body. To be human exist simultaneously in all three domains and how these domains impacts on our behavior, communication and performance.  When our way of being shifts, we are different observers of ourselves and our circumstances. This provides the opportunity for deep learning that can drive profound and sustainable change, not only for individuals, but also for teams and organizations of all sizes.

Organizations in today’s world are constantly upgrading their technology and systems to meet the demands of accelerating and relentless change.  Old ways of being and observing need to be just as aggressively upgraded.  The demand is for people to continually reinvent themselves as observers.  The philosopher Hans-George Gadamer wrote “Insight is more than the knowledge of this or that situation.  It always involves an escape from something that has deceived us and held us captive”.  Our way of being and observing can actually blind us to taking effective action thus limiting what is possible both as individuals and organizations.

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