“An organisations ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the greatest competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch
Continuous learning and its respective implementation to generate desired business outcomes is at the core of successful organisations.
Peter Senge defined a learning organisation as the one “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.”
Here are top 10 actions for a leader to create a culture of continuous learning for individuals, teams and hence an organization:
1. Drive people to learn by doing. People learn the most when they implement their knowledge to generate meaningful business results.
2. Realise that training is just a tool to impart knowledge. Learning is also about sharing lessons, telling stories and doing, making mistakes and improving constantly.
3. Align middle managers to create a learning culture, because they are the ones who drive learning, not just the HR team.
4. Incorporate learning into your processes. Establish rituals like periodic review meetings and retrospectives to track what went well / what could have gone well.
5. Expose your teams to diverse learning resources like books, social media, online videos, working with cross cultural teams/geographies and so on.
6. Use technology to accelerate learning and ensure accessibility of knowledge. Great thing is a lot of useful tools like blogs, wikis and forums are free.
7. Involve people in important change initiatives to ensure that they learn about managing change (one of the most important learning) and working with diverse set of people.
8. Promote the abilities of people to generate alternative ideas and open up to different view points.
9. Move beyond metrics to realize that learning is a long term thing which cannot be measured in numbers. Learning is tacit and visible only through results delivered by team.
10. Allow people to make mistakes (and learn from them). People never experiment if they have to pay a price for trying new things out.
Critical Question: What methods have worked for you in ensuring that your team/organization learns constantly, and applies that learning for positive impact on organization/customers?