Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Develop Organizational Learning Framework

Organizational learning is enabling employees to constantly learn so that the organization does not only "earn enough from today, but thrive in the future.”
The digital era upon us is about the abundance of information, rapid change, and shortened knowledge cycle. Either being a digital professional or running a digital organization, if you fail to be aware and climb the learning curve, you will get static and lag behind. Without learning, you cannot unleash collect human potential, and thus, the full digital potential of the business.

Thus, organizational leaders should make an objective assessment of their organization’s learning maturity and develop a highly effective learning framework with all important components to build the organizational learning competency.

Learning strategy: Learning at the organizational level is strategic because it impacts the firm’s long term surviving and thriving. Thus, learning strategy is an integral part of the business strategy which enables top management to identify crucial learning related issues, set guidelines, prioritize, and take action to solve well-defined problems.

A learning strategy is the organization's competitive learning "logic" manifested through organizational cultures and actions. Often, the organizational learning issues such as learning inertia or learning curve awareness, etc, are caused by close mindset, bureaucratic management style or “we always do things like that” static and stale culture, etc. A good learning strategy can help the business diagnose the common learning disability issues, make an objective assessment of learning curve, set guidelines for collective learning, and build learning agility of the organization.

Learning methodology: Meta-cognition or meta-learning is about learning how to learn. At the core of all learning needs to be a deep understanding of systemic thinking and the psychology of how people learn. We live in the era with exponential growth of information and abundant knowledge, meta-learning is a vital element of developing independent learning and building a learning mature organization.

The point of learning is to gather the details around the subject under scrutiny and then and only then, can you be selective, for example, be selective about the sources you are going to take information from. Discover how and where to find valuable information, not just the information itself. You select what you learn, but also learn what to ignore. From learning management perspective, by supporting staff to learn how to learn, critically examine their thinking and reflect thoroughly on what behaviors helped them learn, they will become more competitive and better problem solvers.

Knowledge management: There is false information, knowledge becomes outdated sooner than you think. Thus, knowledge cannot be managed like other hard assets. Knowledge Management is the management with knowledge as a focus. Organizations have to take proactive attitude to manage knowledge asset and involves assigning responsibilities for knowledge and streamlining knowledge flow, to make sure the smooth knowledge transfer to either solve problems or spur innovation.

The maturity level of Knowledge Management depends on how high and how fast the organization can climb “Knowledge Pyramid” (Data-Information-Knowledge-Insight -Wisdom) or Learning Hierarchy” (Learn-Share-Relearn-Create) smoothly. You need to not only assimilate the existing knowledge, more importantly, the knowledge is shared with others who can then try them out and hopefully improve them. You also have to keep updating knowledge, create new knowledge and become a true knowledge value creator.

Learning culture: "To learn constantly so we continually improve." Adapting learning and continuous improvement culture involve gathering data, analysis, defining areas to be improved and a measurement scale for making continuous improvement. Organizations are learning through individuals and teams because organizations and their teams are made up by human beings. The organizational “learning logic” is acquired through a learning process involving discourse within the context of an organization's learning culture. Culture is about values and behaviors, you can't just rely on processes. To create a culture of learning means having pro-learning mindsets, particularly from top-down and there is a high level of trust within the upper rankings of the management team to advocate learning.

Digital leaders can utilize their time effectively and include employees development as part of ongoing learning on the work assignment. The culture of learning fosters openness, information sharing, critical and independent thinking and professionalism. Learning should help to open, not close one’s mind, inspire critical thinking & independent thinking, recognize opportunities, update knowledge, and build new capabilities and skills all the time.

Learning platforms and practices: The business can unleash its potential by riding the learning curves to get into actions in creative, positive, and productive ways. The emergence of enterprise interactive platforms and collaboration tools provide new ways to learn, share and collaborate via direct applications at the corporate level. To improve their learning capacity, digital organizations and their people must learn through their interactions with the business environment, then, they apply their learning, act, observe the consequences of their actions, make continuous improvement. 

There are all sorts of digital learning styles practices such as: Adaptive learning - learn to fast respond to changes; generative learning - enhance capability to create; social learning - learning happens through networking on social learning platform, just name a few. People focus on the learning opportunities offered by assignment, rather than on the status quo that goes with them. A focus on learning and development reduces attrition and has great quantitative ROIs.

To create the new requires not just one skill, but many, not just old experiences, but new perspectives. Learning becomes a knowledge builder and change catalyst. Organizational learning is enabling employees to constantly learn so that the organization does not only "earn enough from today, but thrive in the future.” The point is to take a holistic approach, not just a few isolated practices, ride learning curve and build learning agility as a dynamic business capability.


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