What do you do to promote a learning culture?

The World is changing exponentially every single day and there appears to be no slowing down. The dawn of technology has created an environment of endless possibilities across all sectors and industries. Life as we knew it will never be the same.

Historically, organisations have relied on the age old tried and tested training delivery, to impart new knowledge and skills onto their people in reaction to a change in the environment. The main problem with this strategy is that it takes time. First of all you have to have noticed the change in the first place, then you need to understand what this change means to your organisation. The next step is usually to design and develop a training plan that will meet the new requirements, and then deliver the new material to your personnel.

By the time that this evolution is complete, the environment has changed again and you are reliving the entire process over and over just to try and remain current with the market. You can often end up in a reinforcing loop until something gives, which is seldom the environment. Not the most efficient way of doing things when you take this perspective.

Another way would be to empower the people you have in your organisation. What if all of your personnel were self-directed, self-motivated and self- actualising? What if you empowered your teams to use their initiative and be in a position to react quicker to changes in the environment or perhaps foresee them and get ahead of the curve. These are the principles of a learning organisation, which is underpinned by the principles of a coaching culture.

Is everyone within your team consciously aware of the organisational long-term vision and short-term goals? If not, then how are they best placed to make the decisions that matter in order to stay aligned to the strategic objectives? If there is no shared vision, then there cannot be a shared focus and energy will be lost as it will not be used effectively throughout the organisation.

How many within your organisation understand what systems thinking is? Of those that do, how many apply systems thinking in practice within the organisation? A system is considered a collection of entities, interrelated and interdependent which when bound together, act as a whole. Systems thinking is a way of viewing the World and all of its constituent parts, understanding complexity and appreciating messy situations.

An organisation is a system. Within it there may be many subsystems with the organisation itself possibly a subsystem of a larger system and so forth. Applying this holistic viewpoint, you can see how changes may affect different entities within the system itself, whilst also appreciating the impact upon entities outside the boundary of the system.

As a leader, what are you doing to empower those around you? What are you doing to ensure that your organisation not only survives, but thrives into the future?

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