Just because you may not be tak­ing part in for­mal edu­ca­tion or train­ing, it does­n’t mean you’re not learn­ing. In fact, infor­mal work­place learn­ing is actu­al­ly far more effec­tive, which is why so many com­pa­nies are look­ing to devel­op as learn­ing organisations.

 Peter Sen­ge describes learn­ing organ­i­sa­tions as:

Orga­ni­za­tions where peo­ple con­tin­u­al­ly expand their capac­i­ty to cre­ate the results they tru­ly desire, where new and expan­sive pat­terns of think­ing are nur­tured, where col­lec­tive aspi­ra­tion is set free, and where peo­ple are con­tin­u­al­ly learn­ing to see the whole together.”

3 pillars of a successful learning organisation

Learn­ing organ­i­sa­tions tend to be suc­cess­ful because of their flex­i­ble, adap­tive and pro­duc­tive nature that allows them to react to and dri­ve change. The learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties that these organ­i­sa­tions pro­vide, devel­op  employ­ees who are pro­fi­cient at cre­at­ing, acquir­ing and trans­fer­ring knowledge.

Don­ald Schon (1983) dis­cuss­es the impor­tance of reflec­tive prac­tice where­by pro­fes­sion­als become aware of their implic­it knowl­edge and learn from their per­son­al expe­ri­ences. This knowl­edge is made use of in a learn­ing organ­i­sa­tion where employ­ees trans­fer skills and help each oth­er to learn.

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Do you have a culture of learning?   

Learn­ing needs to be at the core of your organisation’s cul­ture. Do your employ­ees feel safe to:

  • Ask ques­tions and chal­lenge the sta­tus quo?
  • Voice their opin­ions and ideas? Take informed risks?
  • Explore new ideas and opportunities?
  • Give and receive pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive feed­back, both out and upwards

Do your employees share your company’s vision? 

Every per­son through­out an organ­i­sa­tion should have the same vision for the future. Do your employees:

  • Know the com­pa­ny’s val­ues and uphold them?
  • Do indi­vid­u­als and teams have tar­gets and know how to achieve them?
  • Do your teams work as a unit, rather than com­pete against each other?

Do you think about your organisation holistically?   

Do you view your depart­ments as being interconnected?

  • Is there a clear line of com­mu­ni­ca­tion between all departments?
  • Do you address prob­lems in silos or as part of the big­ger picture? 

Suc­cess­ful learn­ing organ­i­sa­tions look towards the future, view­ing each depart­ment as a com­po­nent that com­pletes the organ­i­sa­tion as whole. Sim­i­lar to a puz­zle, each piece is nec­es­sary to cre­ate the big pic­ture as we move from being uncon­nect­ed to inter­con­nect­ed (Sen­ge 1990).

The chances are that your organ­i­sa­tion already has what it takes to thrive in chang­ing times. Think about the wealth of skills and exper­tise locked up in indi­vid­u­als across the organ­i­sa­tion. Imag­ine if your com­pa­ny stopped pro­vid­ing train­ing and start­ed build­ing sys­tems to rou­tine­ly allow peo­ple to learn from and share what they do.  In learn­ing organ­i­sa­tions, struc­tured col­lab­o­ra­tive learn­ing is just part of the day job (Sen­ge 1990).

To under­stand how to unlock the hid­den poten­tial in your staff and the ben­e­fits of learn­ing organ­i­sa­tions , down­load your free copy of the whitepa­per, Vision for Learn­ing Organ­i­sa­tion.   

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3 key fea­tures of a suc­cess­ful learn­ing organisation
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