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Are you part of a learning organisation?

Knowledge is the lifeblood of the organisation

You’ve invested large amounts of finance, time and effort in a new customer or member management system, linked it to your website and accounting application. You analysed and documented the organisation’s business requirements, considered how processes might change as a result of having the new system and spent a lot of time ensuring that all that old, redundant or inaccurate data was cleansed, de-duplicated and updated. 

But what comes next? 

How do you really start to unlock all the potential contained in the system and how do you exploit this?

Access to new technology, linked with news paradigms of work due to many external factors means that you also need to consider your workforce and their potential as the major resource now available. Staff have to be capable of quickly changing to new working practices and systems, managers have to be effective at managing the change and the organisation has to become much more flexible than previously required. 

At the heart of this is the potential to change to new hierarchies of work that often cut across traditional organisational boundaries and make use not just of quicker responses and better data but of the knowledge that is now unlocked and available to staff.  This knowledge is the lifeblood of the new organisation and comes from being able to link and make inferences about customers and members, from being able to analyse and anticipate their behaviours and developing products and strategies to take advantage of this knowledge. The intellectual capability of staff becomes an ever more important resource as the knowledge-based contribution they make increases.  

Invest in the intellectual capability of your staff

In response many organisations are recognising the importance of becoming learning organisations, placing a different emphasis on staff development away from traditional, individual training and into organisational learning. 

The concept of organisational learning is based on the idea that new ideas and experiences themselves don’t lead to organisational improvement, only people can translate these ideas into action and this needs to be planned and managed at three levels: 

  1. Individual 
  2. Team 
  3. Organisation 

Individual intellectual competence 

For effective learning to take place at the individual level it’s essential to foster an environment where they are encouraged to take risks, where mistakes are tolerated but where there is a designed approach to learning from these mistakes, through follow-up action and reflection on the activity and the outcomes, and the sharing of the learning across teams and the wider organisation. 

In part two of this article, which will be published next month, I will explore how you can ensure effective learning can take place at both the team and organisational level. Ensure you do not miss this, and much more by signing up for updates below and get our latest articles, insights and events sent to you.