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Learning Support Systems

Organisations are great at providing learning opportunities under the guise of leadership development.  These ‘events’ are generally an opportunity to build deeper, trusted relationship with colleagues and development of personal leadership attributes. And thereafter, you launch back into the reality of your daily life, somewhat ‘changed.’

 Even though you land back in your daily life (and old behaviour patterns), at a personal level you WILL have experienced a shift in how you view yourself, the world and the intersecting systems of work.  This may not be conscious to you immediately, and people in your ‘inner circle’ may notice some shifts or not. A few years’ ago I read about the concept of ‘Re-Entry’ by Kathy M. Lippert.  The concept aims to give us guidance on how to re-enter our existing systems (eg families / teams / organisations etc) after a profound learning experience to ensure that we allow ourselves the space to continue growing and bring those that were not with us (on a particular learning journey), up to speed on our experiences and ‘aha’ moments.  In consciously thinking about our ‘Re-Entry’ we are able to make better meaning of our experiences, connect with family, friends and colleagues in our ‘new form’ and intentionally share the skills in a way, that other people will not feel excluded from our experiences.  The ripple effect will positively strengthen broader skills development, as opposed to those that were left behind fantasising and not really knowing what we experienced and learnt, and how we might ‘fit’ their existing frame of reference.

Although ‘Re-Entry’ feels like an event, and perhaps it is, what also matters after re-entering, is to think about what we can put in place to help and support our sustained learning and personal growth.  Charles N. Seashore wrote about the different types of support (from people) that we can create for ourselves as learning support systems.

These include:  role models, people that share common interest, close friends and family, helpers (ie people we can always rely on in times of crisis), competence respecters (ie people that understand our skill sets and can support further learning and transition), referral agents (helping us connect to the right resources and environments) and challengers (people who can motivate us to explore new ways of doing things)

Although the learning support systems above will ultimately sustain our personal growth, we should be mindful of the role of reciprocity that we can play in giving back to these systems.  It takes time to build and nurture these relationships and equity is the key to maintaining the wholeness of the greater learning support systems.

What learning support systems are you building for yourself, so you can be a Lifelong Learner?

Mindset for Lifelong Learners:

  • Focus on personal growth opportunities, not improving on weaknesses only
  • Become the master of your ‘craft’
  • Stretch your learning boundaries even further
  • Build your learning support system
  • Build your intensive reflective capability
  • Build your personal brand
  • Own your development journey
  • Ultimately do what you love with profound purpose

PAOLO GIURICICH CA(SA) – Founder and owner of smarter EQ (
Organisation Development (OD) Consultant

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