Unlearning and Leadership



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Leadership > Best Practices > Unlearning and Leadership

Unlearning and Leadership
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
Unlearning is more important than learning for modern leaders. Leaders can have no appreciation of understanding the situations of the 21st century without full control on unlearning. Unlearning has to be made integral part of decision making for leaders.
Most people have grown in the last few decades through suitable education, good opportunities, hard work and acquiring wisdom. The decisions have to be made from mind and logic rather than heart. And that is the core of the information age.
In spite of learning, changing places, new professions, astronomical growth, etc individuals will be able to manage their present, and plan their future, through systematic unlearning only.

Good idea unlearning. Ever heard of the saying: "Old ideas only die when the people who hold them die"?
Unlearning should be replaced with shuffling - move leaders to new areas regularly - maybe their old ideas will die when they move, having no currency in the new environment.

Vision and strategy planning
A CEO selection is also based on the past performance, and what he got and can get to the table a major criteria, his/her past baggage of ideas and practices get carried as a baggage from a different service environment. A change of place or task does not necessarily change the outlook, it acts on most counts as a silent backdrop, and gets splurged in discussions, as past historical data as a benchmark. Hence many CEO's with the change in seat of power have been far from successful achievers.

Leadership and Unlearning
robin umiom, Entrepreneur, Nigeria, Member
Unlearning may promote individual growth but may not promote leadership style in management. Old habits die hard. Unlearning by learning may be what is required if leadership skills for 21st century leaders are to be imbibed of inspiring, nurturing, motivating, and developing by mentoring and delegating.

The Leadership Skill of Being Able to to Unlearn
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
Thanks Robin for your insight. Leadership skills have been taught and learnt by leaders for long time. However it is my belief that having knowledge of unlearning will enforce a significant improvement in leadership skills.
Leadership skills demands time, clarity, simplicity and vision and all these can be achieved by unlearning.
There are many outdated ideas like concept of communism, socialism etc which have lost their significance and need to be unlearned. Unlearning can be done in various level and in various forms. Just try these and I am sure you will find the advantages.

Unlearning is Seeing Change as an Opportunity
Bill Boynton, Teacher, United States, Member
I think unlearning is in direct proportion with the ability to change.
The ability to learn is the ability to look at change as an opportunity.
Change is a constant, and the speed with which it comes about makes it imperative that it be understood as well as addressed.
The major problem we have with this magnitude and speed of all this change, is that we have difficulty understanding it.
We basically have nothing to compare it too that allows us to relate to what is happening to us.

Unlearning is Innovation
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
@Bill Boynton: what a calculated and just use of words and sentences. They are so apt. I fully agree when you say that speed of change is a huge challenge. We have to deal with this phenomenon and for that I strongly believe "unlearning" is going to help us.
Further you make another very good statement - we have nothing to compare. And for this I feel that we have to unlearn not based on comparison but based on its uselessness and its obsolescence.
I agree, that managing the change is not going to work, as so many experts across the world, including John Kotter, have talked about.
So we must opt for unlearning. Unlearning is going to show us the way.

Unlearning is not Learning
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
@Bill Boynton: What I make out from your comment that learning is a change and so unlearning also could be a change.
I feel that indeed both learning and unlearning are change, but learning is not unlearning! Unlearning is more difficult than learning and more complex too.
Today learning is more or less known and defined, while for unlearning, there is no such clarity. Who is going to decide what is the best thing to unlearn?
And that is a challenge, we should not underestimate those challenges. Otherwise humanity is at a loss.

Unlearning is Needed for New Leaders
Gregory Johnson, Coach, United States, Premium Member
Recent experience has shown that some unlearning is necessary, certainly with the "new" breed of leaders coming directly out of college or high level management training programs. They espouse very clinical concept and proposed solutions to real life challenges that just don't fit, yet. I say "yet" because the most progressive decisions include the educated response in concert with the experience or wisdom REQUIRED to be successful.
So, unlearning might be more of a delayed expression of learning than anything else. I saw it in the military when up-starts would arrive in a combat zone as a second lieutenant with the responsibility to lead in combat and had only been in simulated situations. The same holds true of management and leadership theory in nearly clinical situations before entering the REAL WORLD. So, some of the learning of the classroom needs to be left behind and eyes need to be wide open first.

Unlearning is Essential
Jang il su, Student (University), Korea (South), Member
Thanks for your view. I think, we get good things when we learn, and at the same time, we might lose the way how to look for new things. People are good at seeing they already know, but there's no way that things remain totally the same. So if we want to be 'new', we need to learn unlearning.

I Agree - Unlearning is Essential
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
@Jang il su: I agree - unlearning is essential. I keep writing about it. I invite all those who are interested to work on new ideas to come forward and debate about this.
Unlearning is easier, economical and worth putting up effort. We all should discuss about this and make use of this idea.
I have plenty of my work on unlearning here.
I invite you all to join the discussion and try to find ways to make the idea of unlearning usable.

Unlearning and Leadership
Konstantinos Zacharis, Director, Greece, Member
We have to define "unlearning" in order to be useful. If it refers to rapid change or elaborate selection skills, then we can say something about it. To my opinion it is an inappropriate term (it rather refers to an actor that learns and unlearns roles according to the play). I will wait for more comments.

Unlearning is a Process
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
@Konstantinos Zacharis: Unlearning is the whole process of learning. Like we thought of learning alphabets, we start writing and reading a, b, c, d... We learn in one year time.
Similarly if we decide to unlearn communism, we should take one year time when we discard communism, avoid communism, remove communism and so on. It is a tough task. We need to understand first and then we shall be able to make use of this concept.

Unlearning and Evolution
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
Unlearning is potentially dangerous. The fact that "Those who forget history are destined to relive it" should remain at the forefront of every leaders mind. We only have to look to Africa to find the effects of forgetting history - selectively that is. History is the foundation on which the future is built.
Thus I feel that history, as with any part of life, must have its place and any leader worth his salt will grow their following and themselves by evolving beyond the present into the future rather than tryng to replace history with the future?!

Change -- the Direction and Process for Unlearning
Bill Boynton, Teacher, United States, Member
I believe that "Unlearning" is in direct proportion to accepting the concepts and the ability for change.
To be able to leave what we have been comfortable with, to break away from long standing habits.
To be enthusiastic for learning new idea's. For developing ourselves for all that we can be.
The foundation for any "leadership" abilities, begins with the ability to change.

Unlearning System
KK Verma, Director, India, Member
WE need a system to unlearn. In my three books on unlearning, I have discussed in details about this system of unlearning. Unfortunately because of lack of funds, a distributor and good publishers, these books on unlearning and so unlearning system could not reach the masses. All are confused and dealing with this topic with their own half cooked ideas. People of the world are suffering.

Unlearning and Evolution
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa, Member
'Unlearning' implies the Trotskyite philosophy - "progress results from revolution rather than evolution; to progress it is first necessary to eradicate history"!? Too much of life indicates that growth, development and progress take place as a result of the progressive evolution of ideas. An example of this is the genesis and evolution of the cell/mobile phone systems which, I suggest, resulted from incremental advances in electronic technology and are an essential pre-cursor to the social media "revolution" currently being experienced globally?
Surely, in this most current of industries, there simply has not been sufficient time available to "unlearn" and remain current?


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