For the past 10 years, we have talked about ‘aha! thinking’ and ‘overnight learning’ and tried to express how our learning continues beyond the simulation. Over the past year we have come up with a phrase that describes a lot of the learning in an Income/Outcome workshop. Formal learning is what happens when we teach ‘the balance sheet is a statement of what you have and where it comes from. It balances the total assets against the sum of the liabilities and the equity.’

Stealth learning does not have that formal instruction. It is deliberately untaught learning; we plan for the learning to occur through experiential insights. We believe the aha! moment is stronger if you generate the idea or concept yourself, rather than having someone else tell it to you.

  • Stealth learning happens when learners figure out that when the (red) loans are coming due and they create a process for ensuring they have (silver) cash available to make the payment.
  • Stealth learning happens when learners determine that the budget is not an instrument of torture designed by the finance department, it is a useful tool for seeing where the business is going and for keeping everyone in the loop.
  • Stealth learning happens when learners recognize that ‘the market is always happening’. You need to understand more than cost structure before you can put a price on a product or service – you also need to understand supply and demand AND cash flow implications (when will you be paid? will you have to build inventory? will you have to expand capacity?) AND you need to understand your competitors (their competitive strengths and weaknesses).

And stealth learning does not always happen within the workshop. A lot of it happens in the days immediately following as learners process the experience and integrate what they learned with the real-world job.