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The book “The Living Company” by Arie De Geus has taught me I have missed a valuable lesson from the things that are happening in the world around us. The book focuses on how companies are able to be successful for over a hundred years. One of the main topics that Arie touches on is learning, if we are not learning we are not progressing. This is shared through the story of the titmouse in the UK.

In the UK, milk used to be delivered in glass bottles with no covering. Titmice and Red Robins were able to take the cream off the top to provide nutrients they had not received before (this can be viewed as the introduction of an LMS to Corporate Learning).

Things were great until milk providers started to put caps on the milk (these are the changes in learning and learning habits we all encounter). The titmice were able to learn how to penetrate the cap and get the cream. There were a few red robins that were able to get the cream, but the majority never actually learned how to penetrate the cap.

So the question becomes: is our company the Titimice or the Red Robin? Is our company finding out new ways to engage the learner or are we sticking to our old tricks? So why do you care? The titmouse tried new things. As they learned they found some things worked and others didn’t. Once they found out how to open the lid they started to share it with others. The Red Robins that learned didn’t share it with others and that is why the greater population wasn’t able to learn to benefit from the originally nutrients they had received.

You could always find a new LMS with new features, but that is like just adding a plastic lid instead of an aluminum lid. In the end the employees are still unable to enjoy the cream. Time for personal reflection, are you trying to do things the old way of learning and are starving of necessary nutrients or are you allowing your employees ways to learn and share to make you stronger?

I would love to hear your thoughts and insight. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on twitter @bg_baldwin.

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