All organizations in this day and age, whether business, government, or nonprofit need to be constantly learning or they will not be sustainable. From the manufacturing behemoth GM to the local homeless shelter, changes in the economy, technology, generational issues, and expectations of stakeholders are driving these organizations to be more effective, more efficient, and more honest. To do this, they must be constantly learning and learning how to learn.
In conjunction with the publication of my new book, Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations, I had the honor of being interviewed by John Baldoni for a blog he writes for HarvardBusiness.org. He asked me three, thought-provoking questions:
Organizations are cutting resources and headcount. Why is it important for an organization to create a learning culture?
What can the for-profit world learn from the nonprofit world about establishing a learning culture?
- What is a key take away from your book that has relevance to a manager seeking to navigate hard times?
Read my answers in his blog post, What Nonprofits Teach Us About Learning.
Baldoni concludes his article by saying:
Next generation organizations will continue to evolve in response to the dynamic nature of bringing people together to work. Central to future success will depend on how well the organization can adapt and innovate. Those competencies will depend on creating a learning culture.
I think that's exactly right. Any organization that wants to be successful, by any reasonable measure, must continually seek feedback, reflect on the meaning of that feedback, and use that information for performance improvement. And this learning process must be integral to the way the enterprise operates, not the exclusive purview of HR, or the CLO, or a few senior managers.