The MTR Corporation is one of Hong Kong's first large organisations to implement Action Learning in its management and in-house executive training programmes. MTRC management training and development manager Francis Mok said Action Learning concepts were used to reinforce the skills of the executive talent pool and complement the knowledge gained from business schools. 'Action learning is a useful tool that forms an important development aid for expanding the knowledge and experience of our executives,' Mr Mok said. Action Learning is one of several comprehensive in-house management training courses and technical training programmes designed to allow staff to better equip themselves and create value for the corporation. Although the MTRC began using Action Learning in 1998, executives are given briefings to introduce them to the concepts they may not be familiar with. The principles of Action Learning focus on a problem, project, challenge, issue, or task which are important to an individual, team or organisation. The problem should be significant, urgent and the responsibility of the team to solve. It should also provide an opportunity for the group to generate learning opportunities, build knowledge, and develop individual, team and organisational skills. Groups may focus on a single problem of the organisation or multiple problems introduced by individual group members. Action Learning has been included as a core module of the MTRC's executive training, which is structured around a 15-day business school programme split into three- or four-day sessions. Executives are taught core competencies that include strategic thinking, financial management, change management, and leadership and marketing. New skills are reviewed through real-life scenarios and projects using Action Learning. 'Training brings new ideas and concepts, new and different ways of looking at everyday issues and problems, tried and tested solutions evolved in other successful organisations, and a dynamic future vision. Even a small new input of ideas or thought, duly developed, can generate tremendous benefits,' Mr Mok said. Action Learning provides the means to learn new skills and ways to achieve personal goals. He said executives now needed to develop skills that created value to customers, the company and shareholders, and turn top management vision into action. To do this they needed enterprise knowledge, a strong and ethical business sense, to provide inspiration to those around them, strategic thinking skills, financial knowledge and be leaders of change.