Everyone is interested in Organizational Learning; there is widespread agreement that Organizational Learning is critical to the success of most businesses. And yet, there is little understanding or agreement about what Organizational Learning is, or how to accomplish it, and most efforts to establish a “Learning Organization” have fallen far short of their goals, or have faded away after an initial spurt of enthusiasm.
It has been our experience that the failure of most Organizational Learning initiatives has been the inability to understand the relationship between the people in an organization and the structures that allow the organization to function in a repeatable, measurable, accountable way. If the “organization” is going to learn, then first its people need new insights, skills, and competencies. But since the structure of the organization reflect and supports the current understanding of the environment, as people’s understanding changes the structure of the organization must change as well.
In this overview, we will demonstrate why most Organizational Learning initiatives don’t work. We will provide an overview of what the components of a successful Organizational Learning approach is, and describe the tools that can be used to understand your organization, and provide some examples of how you can begin to lead your team and organization on the path towards becoming a true Learning Organization.