Get Your Organization Ready to Learn - Part II


Get Your Organization Ready to Learn

If you want to begin to build a learning organization there are many models to review and consider, including Senge and Goh. Goh identified five building blocks that must be in place for a learning organization:

  1. Mission and vision

  2. Leadership

  3. Experimentation

  4. Transfer of knowledge

  5. Teamwork and cooperation

The value and importance of these building blocks is evident.

Without a clear mission and vision, individuals and organizations have no direction or path defined.

Leadership is important in building a strong learning culture which comes from leaders who know how to lead based on the goals of the organization. And, a culture of learning supports experimentation where leaders know innovation and creativity is a process that takes time and likely many iterations to find what works best. Finally, and possibly most importantly, a learning culture must support teamwork and cooperation to ensure the sharing of knowledge and information.

The Value of a learning Organization

A learning organization creates an environment and culture designed to accommodate and encourage individual learning. Today, learning professionals recognize the importance of supporting the individual in organizational learning as an avenue of performance support and success. However, organizational learning is more than the sum of individual learning because individuals collectively comprise the organization. As identified years ago by M. Fiol and M. Lyles, organizations, unlike individuals, develop and maintain learning systems that not only influence their immediate members, but are then transmitted to others by way of organization histories and norms.

It is this history that becomes the culture of an organization and its back bone. It is what is shared with new hires openly and tacitly. It is what the organization is. When the organization is ready, individual learning promotes a more flexible and adaptable organization that is ready to change and respond to market and environmental needs.

Summary

Learning and development professionals know that learning is important for the longevity of an organization by providing a competitive advantage.

Within a learning organization is a learning structure with systems and processes that assist learning transfer that creates organizational memory for future development. Even today when learning is easy because anyone can share their knowledge through a self made video or Wiki, there still is a need for the organization to be ready for and supportive of learning.

A learning organization recognizes the value of ongoing learning as part of day-to-day work, operations and strategy

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