Annie talks to her customers, six hours a day, every day. One day one of them, intrigued, and astonished by her effectiveness and competence, asks: “When do you take time to study, to learn all about these new products which your company introduces?”. “Every week”, she replies, “I ‘hide away’ from my customers for five hours, which gives me time to reflect on their files, and to get to grips with the new products, the new services, the new techniques. We have arranged a special room for this purpose”.

Learning implies both teaching and the search for knowledge. The French neologism

‘apprenance ’ (translated here as ‘commitment to learning ’ – tr. note) indicates a double movement. Firstly, the individual will of people who want to develop their knowledge and skills, to improve their value to the customer in terms of their own irreplaceability , and secondly, the will of the company to find time, space and energy for the renewal of its knowledge capital.

‘Commitment to learning’, is the response to the company’s need to develop its collective intelligence and to the need felt by each one of us to cultivate and increase our knowledge and skills.

Introducing ‘commitment to learning ’, means giving learning the time, space and opportunity to nourish itself by dialogue , by action, and by interaction. It means allowing the ‘trees of knowledge ’ to grow.