SMB 3004 Strategies for developing a Learning Organisation

• The business of business is learning – and all else will follow.

“Learning inside an organisation must be equal to or greater than change outside the organisation.” - Reg Revans -

• Critical issues facing today’s corporations?
– Reorganisation, restructuring, and reengineering. – Increased skills shortages, with schools unable to adequately prepare for work in the 21st century. – Doubling of knowledge every two to three years. – Global competition from the world’s most powerful companies. – Overwhelming breakthroughs of new and advanced technologies. – Spiralling need for organisations to adapt to change.

“The behaviours that define learning and the behaviours that define being productive are one and the same. Learning is the heart of productive activity. - learning is the new form of labour.” Shoshana Zuboff

• Learning in organisational settings in today’s environment will represent a new form of learning in the following ways:
1. Learning is performance-based (tied to business objectives). 2. Importance is placed on learning processes (learning how to learn). 3. The ability to define learning needs is as important as the answers. 4. Organisation-wide opportunities exist to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes. 5. Learning is part of work, a part of everybody’s job description.

• The full richness of the learning organisation incorporates five distinct subsystems – learning, organisation, people, knowledge and technology.

• Organisations that learn faster will be able to adapt quicker and thereby achieve significant strategic advantages. • There are four major areas, which have changed profoundly over the last years: 1. Economic, social and scientific environment
– globalisation – economic and marketing competition – environmental end ecological pressures

– new sciences of quantum physics and chaos theory (understanding of quantum physics means that one cannot predict with absolute certainty, that chaos is a part of the reality) – Knowledge era (knowledge that exists in an organisation is the sum of everything everybody in your company knows that gives you a competitive edge. The greatest challenge is to create an organisation that can redistribute its knowledge.) – societal turbulence

2. Workplace environment – Information technology and the informated organisation (Informated organisations are able to immediately acquire information that can be used to get a job dine, generate new information as a by-product, and develop new information) – Organisation structure and size • Key resource of business is not capital, personnel, or facilities, but rather knowledge, information, and ideas.

• Another form of restructuring is a virtual organisation, a temporary network of independent companies, suppliers, customers, and even rivals linked by information technology to share skills, costs, and access to one another’s markets. • Three other emerging management theories gaining popularity is reengineering core competencies and organisational architecture.)

– Total quality management movement • Competitive advantage comes from the continuous, incremental innovation and refinement of a variety of ideas that spread throughout the organisation. – Workforce diversity and mobility – Boom in temporary help 3. customer expectations (cost, quality, time, service, innovation, customisation)

4. Workers – Those who thrive will have problem identifier skills, problem solving skills and strategic broker skills. – Corporations depend on the specialised knowledge of their employees. – Knowledge workers do, in fact, own the means of production and they can take it out of the door with them at any moment.)

The Systems-Lined Organisation Model
• A systematically define learning organisation is an organisation which learns powerfully and collectively and is continually transforming itself to better collect, manage, and use knowledge for corporate success. • It empowers people within and outside the company to learn as they work. • Organisational learning refers to how organisational learning occurs, the skills and processes of building and utilising knowledge.

• There are a number of dimensions of a learning organisation:
– Learning is accomplished by the organisational system as a whole. – Organisational members recognise the importance of ongoing organisationwide learning. – Learning is a continuous, strategically used process – integrated with and running parallel to work. – There is a focus on creativity and generative learning.

– Systems thinking is fundamental – People have continuous access to information and data resources. – A corporate climate exists that encourages, rewards, and accelerates individual and group learning

• Workers network inside and outside the organisation. • Change is embraced, and surprises and even failures are viewed as opportunities to learn. • It is agile and flexible.

• Everyone is driven by a desire for quality and continuous improvement. • Activities are characterised by aspiration, reflection, and conceptualisation. • There are well-developed core competencies that serve as a taking-off point for new products and services. • It possesses the ability to continuously adapt, renew, and revitalise itself in response to the changing environment.

• The systems-linked learning organisation model is made up of five closely interrelated subsystems:
– – – – – learning organisation people knowledge technology

• If any subsystem is weak or absent, the effectiveness of the other subsystems is significantly weakened.

• It is important to remember that one never fully is a learning organisation. • Change always continues, as well as learning. • There are 16 steps taken by various organisations in order to become learning organisations : 1. Commit to becoming a learning organisation.

2. Connect learning with business operations (direct connections between learning and improved business operations makes it easier to persuade people) 3. Assess the organisation’s capability on each subsystem of the systems learning model.

4. Communicate the vision of a learning organisation (the most sophisticated vision is of no use unless it can be clearly understood by others)

5. Recognise the importance of systems thinking and action (a company cannot become a learning organisation by focusing on just one subsystem or on one part of the organisation)

6. Leaders demonstrate and model commitment to learning 7. Transform the organisational culture to one of continuous learning and improvement
8. Establish corporate-wide strategies of learning (encourage experimentation, recognise and praise learners, reward learning, spread the word about new learnings, apply the new learnings)

9. Cut bureaucracy and streamline the structure 10. Empower (to possess the necessary freedom, trust, influence, opportunity, recognition, and authority) and enable (to possess the necessary skills, knowledge, values, and ability) employees. Significant resources of time, money, and people are allocated to increase employees’ skills not only in present job but also for future, unforeseen challenges.

11. Extend organisational learning to the entire business chain 12. Capture learnings and release knowledge (quickly throughout the organisation) 13. Acquire and apply best of technology to the best of learning.

14. Encourage, expect, and enhance learning at individual, group, and organisation levels 15. Learn more about learning organisations. 16. Continuous adaptation, improvement, and learning.

Starting the Process
• Org started the process for variety of reasons:
a) b) c) d) Significant external change New Leader Clear Champion Desire to become a learning organisation

What are they doing?
• Based on Pedler’s model: a) Strategy b) Looking In: activities that support the vision. c) Structures: flatter organisation and flexible working pattern. d) Looking Out:networking and co-operative ventures,develop people and systems to access external information. e) Learning Opportunities • Develop people oriented and participative culture. • Encouraging personal growth and development. • Encouraging feedback and reflections.

Role of Managers and Leaders
1. Visionary • Vision are clear statements which are focused and directed towards something or state that everyone in the organisation can aspire and work towards. 3. Empowerer • Give individual members of staff both the power and responsibility to manage themselves and their activities in the workplace.

1. Risk-taker • Mayo describes the ways in which calculated risks may be encouraged in the workplace by: • Throw away the rule books • Investing in innovation • Creating alliances with competitors • Learning from mistakes and share their learning. • Encourage creative dialogue

4. Learner • managers are leaner. • Manager encourage empowerment. 5. Coach • Guide staff and encourage caching activities within team 6.Collaborator • Work together with any parties. • Mediator

Building, Maintaining, and Sustaining the Learning Organisation • Building a learning organisation may be difficult, but so is maintaining and sustaining it when it is operating. • Many an excellent, even learning company has dropped from its high perch. • It is preferable to begin building a learning organisation at the very top – to get top leadership committed. • But it is possible to begin in any part that has the potential to affect the others. • Start where the energy is! Things to consider include:

• Work with the directors, managers, union and human resources department • Begin with a diagnosis • Raise consciousness and start with a company conference • Start with one department and Focus on one of the key business issues.
– Keys to a successful transformation into a learning organisation: – Establish a strong sense of urgency about becoming a learning organisation. The idea is to make the status quo seem more dangerous than the unknown.

– Form a powerful coalition pushing for the learning organisation – Create a vision of the learning organisation. Without a vision, the effort can dissolve into a list of confusing and incompatible projects. Communicate and practice the vision. Remove obstacles (bureaucracy, competitiveness of individuals rather than collaboration, control. Poor communications, poor leaders, rigid hierarchy) that prevent others from acting on the new vision of a learning organisation.

– create short-term wins. Most people won’t stay on the long march unless the journey has some short-term successes. – Consolidate progress achieved and push for continued movement. Declaring the war won can be catastrophic until changes sink deeply into the culture.

• Ten facilitating factors that support and sustain the learning organisation: 1. Scanning imperative. Learning cannot continue without a solid awareness of the environment 2. Performance gap. Performance shortfalls are opportunities for learning. 3. Concern for measurement. Discourse over metrics is a learning activity. 4. Experimental mindset. Support the practice of trying new things and being curious about how things work.

5. Climate of openness. Debate and conflict remain acceptable ways of solving problems. 6. Continuous education. One is never finished learning and practising. 7. Operational variety. There is more ways than one to accomplish business objectives and work goals. 8. Multiple advocates or champions. 9. Involved leadership. Creating vision is not enough. Leadership at any organisational level must engage in hands-on implementation of the vision. 10. Systems perspective.

The End Thank You

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