In the current context and time, everyone will agree that we all learn faster when we learn together, than when we try to learn alone. Just think of the child who was forced to study sitting alone at home, and not from his regular place of learning, the classroom, due to the pandemic. Most people would agree that the learning curve has been on a downward journey.
It is quite similar even in professional life. When people work together in a team, they learn faster. The very exchange of ideas, and learning from other’s experiences and mistakes does the trick. In an individual’s case, he or she will have to go through many experiences to be able to learn at the same pace.
Adil Malia, senior HR leader and CEO, The Firm
Prabir Jha, senior HR leader, explains, “Teams that genuinely practise learning and executing together, always learn faster than any single individual. Learning gets additive in the minimum and often multiplicative because everyone pitches in to solve a problem. And while seeing a colleague at play, everyone picks up that edge or at least has the opportunity to.”
To keep the learning curve high and at a fast pace, it’s important that the team and individuals complement each other. A team is always a heterogeneous mixture of people with learning capabilities and adaptability quotients. This, in fact works in favour. The learning capability and adaptability of one member helps the other.
Adil Malia, senior HR leader and CEO, The Firm, says, “In a diversified team, individuals benefit from a collective higher quotient of critical thinking. There is a flow from the range of cultural values that individuals in the group bring to the learning table. Individuals get to learn by observing and imitating the superior behaviour of others in the group, thereby upping the quotient of conscious and unconscious learning. Solo learning alternatives do not offer these benefits.”
Prabir Jha, senior HR leader
A healthy competitiveness in the team also raises the learning bar. Mansij Majumder, head –HR, Unext Learning, says, “It is not just about making the environment competitive. The mix of roles and functions that happens due to each individual’s contribution is what makes learning faster.”
A group of specialists can ideate better on each and every detail. However, the learning bar can only be raised if the team follows a collective learning procedure.
“In a team, if one fails to perform a certain task efficiently, it’s compensated by other team members. So, the responsibility is also collective. However, an individual is solely liable to the leaders for failures and rarely has anyone else to cover up for him or her,” he adds.
Jha believes that it’s important for individuals to bring mindfulness to the team. What he implies is that individuals should not just bring in their own individual ideas, experiences and insights, but also be willing to listen to and understand what others suggest. “The more an individual learns, the more comprehensive is his/her contribution to fresh ideation. However, for individuals to learn and yet co-create, demands very difficult non-negotiable factors such as humility, willingness to be adaptive, curiosity, flexibility, and most importantly, trust. Without trust, learning and experimentation develop inherent biases and caveats,” Jha adds.
Mansij Majumder, head –HR, Unext Learning
While individuals can be slow learners, the competitive environment teaches them to adapt faster in order to sustain. Otherwise, there will be no option left for an individual but to quit the team. There is no debate over the fact that team learning triggers the urge for individual learning for better sustenance. Malia concludes, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”