top of page
  • Writer's picturePJ Stevens

Action Learning Sets improve performance and productivity.

Action Learning stands out as a noteworthy Business and Performance Improvement methodology, effectively addressing real life business challenges while concurrently fostering the growth of individuals within organisations. It revolves around quality conversations, action taking, and reflective practices, enhancing problem-solving efficacy and delivering focused, team (sets) developed solutions.

This approach proves to be a valuable asset in any company's toolkit aiming for business

enhancement and the establishment of a coaching culture with a specific emphasis on problem solving and innovation. By default, Action Learning (ALS) harnesses the untapped wealth of knowledge and creativity within a business, improving performance and productivity, and providing exceptional value.

Pioneered by Reg Revans in the 1950s at the National Coal Board, during an era characterised by dictatorial management styles, the theory behind Action Learning challenged the conventional approach. Revans believed that the expertise for problem solving lay with those closest to the issue. His revolutionary idea aimed to empower teams to address real challenges locally, saving time and money while boosting ownership and performance.

Revans (1980) highlighted the power of high-quality questions in problem-solving and learning, encapsulating it in the equation Learning Equals Programming plus Questioning (L=P+Q). Later, Reflection was added to this equation (L=P+Q+R), emphasising its significance in the learning process.

As articulated by Mike Pedler (1991), "Action Learning implies both self-development and organisation development, "offering accelerated change and increased value to participants and the project or business.

The Action Learning process encompasses:

  • A significant, critical, and usually complex real problem.

  • A diverse problem-solving team or 'set.'

  • A process fostering curiosity, inquiry, and reflection.

  • A mandate to transform discussions into action and ultimately, solutions.

  • A commitment to learning.

Participants in Action Learning Sets report various benefits, such as: learning disciplined work approaches, improved networking, effective communication, coaching techniques, heightened self-confidence, awareness, and a proclivity to take responsibility and initiative.

Embracing Action Learning in a business improvement action plan, growth strategy or

transformation can yield substantial advantages. For instance, a client focusing on leadership and productivity witnessed improvements in on-time delivery, enhanced problem-solving at the local level, and added value through team networking and knowledge sharing.

While traditionally employed as an ongoing process, Action Learning can also be leveraged as a powerful one-off tool for swift and impactful problem-solving, as demonstrated in conferences and workshops.

Practically, action learning sets are usually made up of groups (or sets) of 4-6 people who meet regularly, every month or so, for hours. The participant led sessions are facilitated by a qualified ALS coach.

In support of Action Learning, there are additional values in that it helps bring to life such initiatives as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I), leadership development and culture change.

In conclusion, the consensus across articles is clear: Action Learning simplifies the process of learning and taking decisive actions.

To discuss how Action Learning can help develop your people, performance and business, book a call me with using the link below:

6 views0 comments


bottom of page