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Learning Style - Part 1 of 7
Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5   Part 6   Part 7

The Engineer has a PHD in the third law of Thermodynam­ics. The Marketing manager skydives for a hobby. The Production Planner started as an assembler. The purchasing lady is concerned about partnerships and long-term relationships. These people are all going to work together to better serve customer needs, cut time to market in half, and make designs more buildable. How?

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Ask the Engineer to define lead time. Ask the Marketing manager to contrast the third law of Thermodynamics with the first. How are these people going to work together?

People perceive and process information differently. People find and solve problems differently. These differences can be classified, understood and used to develop team building methods that take learning style differences into account. Once the differences in learning styles within a group are known and understood, diverse people can be brought together to solve problems or to learn new skills.

The need to solve problems, learn new skills and improve performance is critical. There is an immediate crisis of competition faced by companies today. Companies are not just being asked to meet defined customer needs. Compa­nies are being asked to provide customers with products that make their customers' customers successful—and to do so in the simplest way, at the lowest cost, and in the fastest way possible.

In response to this crisis, improvement programs abound as companies seek a competitive edge. Despite the need, despite the efforts, the following is a pervasive lament:

"Most improvement efforts have as much impact on company performance as a rain dance has on the weather." —Some grump in Harvard Business Review
Reengineering advocates tell us that the reason for the failure is that the old ways of doing business simply do not work. To be successful, companies must learn new ways of doing business. They must change their fundamental be­haviors and processes. Companies must change how they serve customers, do work and achieve objectives. Unfortu­nately, most improvement programs do not address these fundamental changes.

There are however, some exceptions. There are some success stories:

• A company awash in inventory and operating at zero profit in 1990, improves return on assets to such an extent that for 1993 performance, $14 million in bonus checks are distributed.

• Other companies boast of increased market share and profits despite the recession by relentlessly building customer advantage and eliminating waste.
What is it that these successful companies have, versus those who make an effort, but see no results? These companies address learning as the basis for changed be­havior, processes and results. These successful companies are truly learning organizations. The successful companies have become adept at:

• Creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge
• Modifying behavior as a result of absorbing new knowl­edge.

(If the old ways of doing business can't work, then accom­plishing change in organizations is a process of "teaching old dogs new tricks." To do so requires an approach to learning as a process of acquiring and applying a critical mass of knowledge. These companies are capable of sys­tematically identifying the market expectations, making competitive changes, and learning the new concepts and skills needed to improve performance.

The ability of an organization to change stems from the ability of and opportunity for members to continue to "learn new tricks." Learning is effective when the learning situ­ation accommodates the various learning styles of people in the organization. Learning is effective when an individual understands his or her learning style.

Learning styles describe the way people learn and deal with ideas and situations. Learning styles help us to understand how we:

• Deal with new situations
• Solve problems
• Set goals
• Manage others

In this presentation, we will learn what learning styles are, how knowledge of learning styles can build the learning organization and what some of the outcomes are when learning style concepts are applied to specific situations.

Part 1  Part 2    Part 3   Part 4   Par 5   Part 6   Part 7

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