The Obstacles to Unlearning

Obstacles to Unlearning

By Barry O’Reilly

In my experience working all around the world with executives and teams—from disruptive startups to the Fortune 500—I’ve seen firsthand the struggle both great and growing leaders face as they seek to lead innovation in their markets.

My inspiration to write Unlearn came from recognizing that while learning new things was tough, what was even more difficult—but also more impactful—was helping people identify when to let go of their existing mindsets, behaviors, and methods, especially the ones that had made them successful in the past.

What I’ve seen this year is that the people who have cultivated that capability within themselves—who accepted that change is constant and built systems to adapt as quickly as possible—are being more successful when shock-events happen.

I’ll share two examples from companies I’ve been working with that many people would not think of as being responsive and agile: the world’s largest airline and one of the biggest banks.

They’ve both shown that even massive corporations with entrenched ways of operating can change and excel in a world of uncertainty by embracing the Cycle of Unlearning.

What is Unlearning?

Originally published on December 2, 2020