One of the distinctives of a learning organization is that you’re actually paying attention to what’s happening in and around what you do. In other words, when things happen inside or outside you are taking note AND acting on what you learn.
How does your organization roll? Is there any real learning going on? Or is it just "move along with what we’ve always done"?
I’m finding some great stuff in Jeffrey Pfeffer’s new book, What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management. Take a look at what he has to say about organizational learning in a great chapter on the strategic importance of actually reporting mistakes instead of simply fixing them and moving forward.
"Organizational learning requires three things:
- A clear understanding of recurring problems,
- The willingness to allocate resources to address the root causes of those problems,
- And cultural values that foster learning (which means encouraging employees to find, fix, and report mistakes rather than heroically patch things up)."
As I read this section I was reminded of a number of different organizations that I’ve been in over the past few years. Probably all of us can relate at some level. Think about your own group. Do you have what it takes to really learn from what’s happening and then move forward? Or are you simply doomed to repeat the same things over and over again?