Action Learning

Action Learning

For More Information: Waterline Consulting,



To develop the practices that advance organizational strategy in the midst of complexity by developing essential skills for thinking creatively,coaching through questioning,and finding leverage points for action.



  • Increased ability to accomplish strategic change
  • Improved cross-functional teamwork
  • More strategic and focused leadership
  • Ability to address complex challenges


When to Use:

  • Changes in strategy require new leadership behaviors
  • Teams are undertaking long,complex projects
  • Cross-functional teamwork needs strengthening
  • Strategic thinking is needed throughout the organization


When Not to Use:

  • For refining established processes,roles,and structures
  • When the right people are not on the team
  • For doing basic problem solving
  • Cannot commit to meet over the length of the cycle


Number of Participants:

  • Peer Coaching group:3–10 people
  • Team Learning groups:3–30 people


Types of Participants:

  • Peers from different functional areas
  • Leadership teams
  • Professionals with similar work
  • Intact teams responsible for strategic change


Typical Duration:

  • Orientation:4–16 hours
  • Sessions:Over 6–12 months
  • Follow-up:Optional custom design


Brief Example:

Canadian Tire,one of Canada’s most shopped retailers,used Action Learning to create culture change in its IT organization.Ninety-one percent of participants said it increased cross-functional teamwork and broke down silos.The IT organization became more performance oriented and aligned to business priorities.


Historical Context:

The Quakers have used a similar method (Clearness Committee) for more than 400 years. Reginald Revans pioneered Action Learning groups with organizations beginning in the 1940s.