The Enduring Fascination of ‘Lessons Learnt’

A few years ago I carried out a consultancy project for a Company Director who, when reviewing progress on his major bids for new work, found that similar mistakes were being made over and over again.

The staff were bright, hard-working and committed and significant resources had been put into personal coaching, leadership and communication skills, project and bid management etc. Leading-edge IT support systems were in place and this overall change programme had been going on for over 5 years.

What was going wrong? This was a big and difficult question of course, encompassing both people, processes and systems, but part of this was how can we at least ‘learn better through mistakes’.

What low cost interventions could be put into place that would likely lead to high impact steps or leaps forward?

This project got me interested in the whole area of ‘lessons learnt’ (this phrase is not the best to describe the situation but is useful as a catch-all) and some of my initial thoughts are here.

As an online experiment, I’ll start capturing typical lessons learnt write-ups on this blog to see if any new connections or insights crop up as well as commenting on different approaches.

All comments and suggestions greatly appreciated along the way of course!


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