Imagine a company that, in the face of unprecedented change, is continually learning how to learn fast: managing tremendous amounts of information; creating new products and processes in response to global competition; using new apps to be more efficient and effective; and being responsive to learning preferences of a multi-generational and diverse workforce.
Imagine a company in which employees are hired because they are excited about learning and improving themselves. They have a history of taking responsibility for their own learning. They aren’t afraid to admit that they don’t know something and they willingly seek out the help they need to improve themselves and become high performers.
Imagine a company in which the message from the CEO to new employees is that learning and self-development are highly valued. Continuous learning is expected from senior leadership and everyone else in the organization. Incentives and public recognition reward those employees who seek out opportunities to enhance their competencies and increase their capability to contribute to the success of the organization.
Imagine a company in which critical information is easily accessible on a mobile device. Equipment operators can view safety information on their smart phones when and where they need the information. They can learn how to operate and maintain a machine from their tablets. Managers can download coaching advice prior to meeting with a direct report. Leaders can see a video on open book management just before discussing this approach with their teams.
Imagine a company in which managers meet every few weeks with their direct reports to discuss performance goals and learning goals. Employees report what they’ve been learning. Managers give employees constructive feedback and together they decide how to achieve goals. Managers provide opportunities for employees to practice newly acquired skills and put into practice what they've been learning.
Imagine a company in which team leaders ask for feedback on their leadership. They discuss their communication, delegation, coaching, team facilitation, and planning with team members. Team leaders are constantly improving the effectiveness of team meetings and modeling meeting management for team members. Together, they are learning how to facilitate and contribute to meetings that are engaging and productive.
Imagine a company in which project managers conduct an “after action review” at the completion of each project. Project team members discuss what happened, how it happened, the results of what happened, how that compares to what the project was intended to accomplish, what were the successes and failures, and what should be done differently in the future. Project managers and team members put this learning into practice on their next projects.
Imagine a company in which organization-wide strategic planning is seen as an opportunity for learning. Participants are asked to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the planning process. Leaders and managers use that feedback to improve the organization's strategic planning process and this new process is standardized in the organization.
Imagine what it would be like to work in an organization like this.