Learning from the Army

A powerful piece in the New Yorker discusses the way junior officers in particular are trying to make the Army a learning organization. One of the scholars they feature is Col. Leonard Wong, who I remember from a study he did several years ago.

They are discovering that there are many needed things soldiers cannot learn in their official training. But they are learning, and, more importantly, innovating, as they constantly face new challenges in Iraq. There are plenty of chances for failure – but they can easily tell that success matters for themselves and for many others around them.

When can we in the church learn to offer our people chances to fail? We give them so many canned lessons. Then we expect them to survive in dangerous situations. We need to give more opportunities to fail – in a relatively safe environment. We also need to teach people how to fail – and get up again.

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