CHAPTER TWELVE

Build Learning into Everything

The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.—ARIE DE GEUS, “planning as learning,” Harvard Business Review

In 1991, Harvard Business School professor Chris Argyris wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Teaching Smart People How to Learn.”1 Identifying a pervasive and destructive dynamic in organizations, Argyris struck a chord with readers, and the article became one of the most popular of his career.

In it, he argues that smart people are one of the biggest barriers to change and growth in companies, reasoning that because they think they know everything (or think they should know everything), they’re often particularly bad ...

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