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How to Build a True Learning Organization

“I wish IT would just come and spend one day in my world,” says Jim, the general property manager at a reputable hotel in Virginia. It’s a common sentiment of business professionals everywhere, and it’s why the concept of the “learning organization” has become so popular. Charles Araujo, in an article for CIO Insight, explains what it takes to be a true learning organization.

Listen Up!

The first step to becoming a learning organization is to learn how to listen. It’s important for IT professionals to try understanding a problem from the customer’s perspective, so that the LOB and IT can work together to forge new victories for the organization.

The Three Ps of Learning

The essence of a learning organization requires the Three Ps of learning – people, product, and profit. If you’re a manager or IT leader, it’s important to consider how your decisions will affect the people you work for (other than your senior officer) and the people you work with. How will your decisions influence your “product?” In other words, it’s about how customers perceive your contribution. Additionally, does said IT decision affect the bottom line, and how? If all three Ps are in balance, you’ve all the right ingredients for learning.

Do the Right Thing

Another great quote from Jim the hotel manager is, “Always choose the hard right over the easy wrong.” Araujo elaborates:

This simple phrase helps his team understand the core of their mission. They are in business to serve their customers and to make a profit. It is often easy to let things slide, but when doing so will impact your customers or the organization’s ability to make a profit—which the easy things most often do—then you must instead choose the hard right. Do the thing that must be done—even if it’s more difficult in the short run.

A Backbone of Partnering

One technique that puts principle into practice is called the “partner program.” When a staff member is complimented by a customer, they receive recognition. Those who don’t regularly interface with the customer side are paired with those who do. That way, whenever a customer-facing staff is singled out for exceptional service, a behind-the-scenes staffer is too. This type of practice encourages sharing and concern for the end experience / product and is the true backbone of the learning organization.

Read the original article at: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-management/expert-voices/building-a-true-learning-organization.html

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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