I often have conversations with people who have heard about the successes of other organizations, and want to teach their employees how to duplicate those successes. They approach me to join their platoon of trainers and coaches to help make this happen. They lament that they cannot find enough skilled coaches to transform their entire organization. And they are right!
You'll not get your organization where you want by pushing knowledge into people. They must pull it. In order for them to pull it, they must have the desire. The most effective teachers are those who fan the flames of that desire, and then make information, the raw material of knowledge, accessible.
This teacher-student relationship often works fine for individuals. It's hard to scale across a large corporation, though. How many students can one teacher inspire? How many teachers do you have? If these teachers are from outside the organization, are you not competing for them with other organizations?
If the organization is not to be left behind as the rest of the world progresses, it must learn as a whole and continue to learn as time moves forward. The responsibility for that learning cannot be outsourced to teachers. You will never find enough teachers to keep all employees learning and continuing to learn over time. If the employees do not have an internal desire to learn, then there is probably something in the organization inhibiting that desire. Without addressing that inhibition, teachers will find it increasingly difficult to incite that desire within them.
While training and teaching have their place, the success of the organization ultimately depends on continual learning as a matter of course. It's not enough to have brief periods dedicated to learning and separate from the day to day work of people in the organization. If you want your organization to learn as a whole, you need to cultivate a culture of learning.
In a learning organization, people don't wait to be taught. They seek learning in the work they do. They learn from their colleagues, and also offer lessons on what they've learned, in return. And, the more they learn, the more they seek further learning. This is the nature of a culture of learning.
Think about your organization. In what ways does it discourage a culture of learning? In what ways does it encourage it? Which of these, encouragement or discouragement, is winning?
P.S. Is the discouragement of learning winning in your organization? I've got some ideas that might help you with that. Sign up for a free, no obligation Discovery Session. Let's talk about what's going on in your organization, and what improvements you might be able to make or influence.
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Or you can simply reply to this email or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the conversation. There's a person, not a bot, on this end. I'd really love to hear from you, and the topic of learning is dear to my heart.