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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