Learning Organisationsby Sharon Varney
Supporting the learning organisation
Senior people have an important role to play in supporting the learning organisation.
If you are a senior manager or director in an organisation, there are a number of ways that you can support managers in building a learning organisation:
- Give each manager space to experiment
- Ask them for feedback, listen well, coach where necessary, and support them to stay the course when it becomes more challenging
- Create opportunities for managers to get together to share their learnings – successes and failures – with each other; these connections are vital to help ‘learning teams’ to connect across the organisation
- Lead by example and remember to invest in your own continuous development too.
Think about your own organisation. What can you do to better support managers (direct reports or peers) in the challenging work of building a learning organisation? Consider
- What could you do today?
- What could you do this month?
- What could you do this year?
Policies, procedures and practices
No amount of policies and procedures can create a learning organisation, but some practices can help and others can hinder managers in this work.
Think about your own organisation.
How do your policies, procedures and practices act as enablers for managers trying to build a learning organisation?
How might they inhibit building a learning organisation
There may also be enablers and inhibitors to becoming a learning organisation within your corporate culture. For example, having a ‘no blame’ environment tends to encourage experimentation and learning to flourish. The opposite can stop it dead in its tracks. In some organisations, people say that they feel encouraged and supported to take responsibility for their own learning. In others, the notion of ‘taking responsibility for your own learning’ is synonymous with ‘don’t expect any budget for training’!
Consider your own organisation. How does your corporate culture enable and inhibit building a learning organisation?