In Rapid Results, Schaffer has a section on how managers can learn from experience. I think learning from doing is far more effective than going away on some treining course or executive MBA. Another ingredient that is important when learning from experience is reflecting on the experience with a mentor or some close confidant.
Using rapid results projects, can be marvellous ways for people to get experience and learn about the approaches that work and ones that do not.
For example, although I was taught about readiness and thought I understood the concept. When I tried to apply the idea I realized it was more difficult to do, than understand. The first lesson I learned was my readiness was a big factor. However I regularly worked on applying the concept, I became more skilled at acting in accordance with the readiness of the client and myself and our organizations.
One of my most difficult hurdles to overcome was when I saw what I considered "the truth", I thought to maintain my integrity I must tell people "the truth". However I realized that my truth may not be exactly the only way. I realized that often I did not know the complete situation and just telling somebody "the truth" would help noone except make me feel righteous. So was I trying to help somebody or was I wanting to feel righteous?
Some people call it manipulation. However everything we do as we work with others has the objective of arriving at an outcome. Is that not manipuation, even if you are not conscious of the way you are manipulating? For example, I am writing this blog, in the hope of helping somebody.
So back to learning, as I attempted to apply the concept of readiness, I really learned many things. So just being trained certainly did not mean that I had learned.
Like my brother said when I got my drivers licence, "Now you will learn to drive from experience. Do not think you know how to drive now."
Experience is the best teacher. Training can speed up the process but is no substitute for experience.
I completely agree with you that experience is the best teacher. We all know that academic learning gives us a wealth of information, but that effectively implementing that information in the workplace requires experience, personal or learning from others’ experiences.