IT Best PracticesLearning Organizations

4 Critical Factors for Learning Organizations

It’s a hard lesson to learn: change or be trodden into the mud. But the dynamic worlds of business and technology expect no less. That is why it is critical to design a learning organization, one that thrives on the constant flux of information and skills that shape landscapes of innovation. Freddie Silver, in an article for Chron, points to four ways your company can put fresh ideas into practice, channeling a thirst for knowledge into new skills and experience.

Collective Mission

Unity is important if your organization is going to change and evolve as a whole. Silver recommends staking out a mission statement that combines the company’s objectives with employee goals. As a group this should foster a sense of pride and allow for a sense of ownership in the principles and visions of the enterprise.

Personal Growth

In order for individuals to learn on a regular basis, there has to be a coming to terms with personal limitations. Far from being a negative experience, owning one’s shortcomings allows one to focus instead on prominent strengths. The individual is then free to focus on what makes them confident and to maximize their potential to access new opportunities.


Now, take the individual and pair them with the group: what you have is the capacity for cross-training. Cross-training opens up individuals to the worlds of fellow employees, makes them more capable of handling sudden shifts and surprises (resiliency), and enables them to more readily empathize with coworker’s trials and triumphs. It has the added benefit of offering management a more flexible workforce.

Dynamic Leadership

At the helm of all this change, adaptation, and learning are leaders who understand the importance of a dynamic workforce. Significantly, it is the company culture that determines what kind of attitude employees have toward continual learning. An important senior management function is to constantly relay shifts in how each employee’s job fits in to the organizational framework. Leaders should encourage questions. They should continually be priming the cycle of implementation, reflection, review, and change.

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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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