DailyPost 458


Peter Senge’s book, The Fifth Discipline some 25 years ago, brought the concept of ”learning organizations” to our thought process, the ones who continually transform themselves. The struggle is still on. Might be they have got it wrong, the problem is not learning: it’s unlearning. The new operating system cannot run on the old. ”Unlearning is the process of discarding something from your memory. When you unlearn you forget it, put it aside, and lose knowledge of it.” How many of us can unlearn?

Parenting can be a great example. Our outmoded skills, picked up from our parents as kids, is not serving the purpose. While we profess all modern day values of parenting, we are in able to unlearn the old habits. The stress for all of us to see. This is generally termed as the generation gap. Resistance to unlearning! Two systems cannot run in tandem. Gurukul teaching cannot happen in online education & living. Thus, it is all about the ability to choose alternate mental model or paradigm.

When we unlearn, we get out of that mental model to choose a different better model, which is in tune with the times, cutting down friction & stress in a big way, increasing productivity & efficiency. ”It’s not easy to unlearn the mental habits that no longer serve us.” It is true of personal life and in business as well. Many of paradigms learnt in business schools and on which careers were built in yesteryears are either incomplete or ineffective or both.

To merge our self learnt knowledge to the extented arm of Google is a paradigm shift. We cannot be with one. Technology at the pace which it operates is forcing us to get rid of the old baggage, that in simple terms is the art of unlearning. From formal hierarchies to fluid networks has been the evolution is organizational design. We can put one on the top of the other, it wouldn’t deliver results, it has to be unlearnt. Recognize the old mental model, discard it, find or create a new model and ingrain the new mental habits. This is the only way forward.


Sanjay Sahay

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