Wieneke & Wieneke, Inc. / Copyright 2013
What is enterprise learning?
The essence of enterprise learning is demonstrated when
someone other than the initial learner, adopts and adapts a
new learning or the prevention to a lesson. Individual
knowledge and learning abilities help each of us to be
successful and competitive. For an enterprise to remain
successful and competitive, knowledge and a visible process
for the enterprise to learn are necessary as well.
Individuals are the learners in any enterprise. Individual
learning is necessary but not sufficient. Sufficiency occurs
when what is collectively known, must be valid and relevant, is
shared with and reused by other employees. Visible enterprise
learning is a people process, an obligation to share, act on and
reusing what has been learned.
This process is more than just communicating with each other. Communicating new learnings and preventions to
lessons are necessary but again not sufficient. Sufficiency comes from making a substantive change, either
adding to or modifying existing intellectual capital.
A visible enterprise learning process ensures that actionable learnings and preventions are inserted into the
enterprise's intellectual capital for future adoption and adaptation by any employee.
In this context, intellectual capital is divided into 3 categories:
Technical Excellence (individual know-how)
Intellectual Properties (best practices and other written technical resources), and
Technical Exchanges (key meetings where information and knowledge is exchanged).
Any employee, at any time, is empowered to bring a new learning or prevention for a lesson to the appropriate
subject matter responsible teams (SMRT). Noteworthy, the employee will likely bring the issue and correction to
the SMRT. The SMRT will need to define the prevention.
The enterprise learning process ensures that the employees reuses learnings and avoids repeating lessons. THE
Please contact us for implementation services, workshops and train-the-trainer sessions. Learn more about a
learning process for your enterprise - how the enterprise learns. This process replaces lessons learned databases.
What is knowledge awareness?
Knowledge awareness is a state of mind producing a shared behavior across an enterprise where the collective
product and process knowledge is...
Knowledge Management is more about helping an enterprise see the knowledge around them, changing
behaviors where required, then implementing processes to maintain and grow that knowledge. An enterprise’s
product or service and process knowledge is valuable and needs to be managed as an asset.
Please contact us for implementation services, workshops and train-the-trainer sessions. Learn more about
techniques and tools to manage, share, apply and reuse knowledge.
Should we store lessons learned in a database?
Organizations need to learn from lessons. Storing the lessons is a non-value add activity and expense. For an
organization to actually learn from a lesson there must be a change in some physical key element, like an update
to a reference document, and ultimately an observable, consistent and repeatable change in employee behavior.
Rather than spend resources on lessons learned databases, spend the resources to update references and
train/mentor your employees.
Should we ignore lessons?
NO! Not having a lessons learned database does not mean that your organization should ignore lessons. The
strategy is to…
1) understand the root cause of a lesson,
2) derive the appropriate preventive action and
3) update ALL affected intellectual capital –
a) people skills (know how),
b) intellectual properties (documentation) and
c) technical communication forums (key meetings),
…such that the issue does not re-occur. With the prevention in place, as well as the discipline to execute to what
you know works with profound understanding of why it works, there is little need to maintain a lessons learned
database. Some lessons may be retained for storytelling purposes. All of your energy and resources are now
focused on the positive aspects of the business…
1) developing and validating preventive actions,
2) building and validating new knowledge,
3) being successful by reusing what works and
4) innovating got-to-have products and services
Why do many organizations have lessons learned databases?
There are 2 basic strategies for managing knowledge and enterprise learning:
1) One strategy is to maintain and share a list of all of things that have gone wrong and how each was
corrected. The list of things that do not work approaches infinity - a very long list.
2) The other strategy is to maintain, share and apply (operative word is apply) a list of accurate, validated
methods, processes and product knowledge about what we know works, in context, and most importantly
document and understand why it works. The list of things that do work is finite - a short list.
What are the disadvantages of a lessons learned database?
There are several disadvantages to lists of what's gone wrong:
1) Often the lesson content lacks context of the situation or is not actionable,
2) The entire organization is focused on the most negative aspects of the business - everything that has
3) After reviewing the list of what doesn't work, the employee still doesn't know what to do,
4) Re-applying a correction, which typically treats a symptom, isn't the best method of prevention, and
5) the organization gradually accepts things going wrong as natural state of business.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions...