I attended a Leaders Connect http://robpasick.com/leaders-connect/ session last week to hear a panel of leaders and experts in the medical device industry. The experience in the medical device industry represented on this panel ranged from one year to over four decades. Almost all of those presenting have begun and successfully managed multiple companies with at least one member of the panel on his 4th venture. The contributions these individuals have made to the medical device industry have included the development of surgical tools as well as laboratory tools, cardio vascular rehabilitation equipment, cardio pulmonary devices, advances in neuro technology and a recumbent bike used in most hospitals, rehabilitation centers and more recently in homes. The passion and excitement each presenter displayed when talking about their careers, their companies and the medical device industry in Michigan was palpable. But as I listened to each of them on Friday morning, it struck me that these are the individuals who have built or are building successful companies, companies which have solved important problems and have positioned themselves as innovators in the industry. But what about the companies that were not represented in this morning’s session, the ones who failed to live up to their lofty vision and expectations? As I listened, I wondered what it was that separated those who were here and were being celebrated and excited about the future of Michigan’s Medical Device industry from those who were not. I surmised that one important variable that separated them was the capacity to learn from their experience. In our view at Learning to be Great™ , building and sustaining a learning culture is fundamental to both early and long term organizational success.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What is a learning culture?” Here is what we mean when we use that term:  A “learning culture” is a work environment that supports and encourages the continuous and collective discovery, sharing, and application of knowledge and skills at the individual, team, and whole organization levels in order to achieve the goals of the organization.  A learning culture is a culture of inquiry; an environment in which employees feel safe challenging the status quo and taking risks to enhance the quality of what they do for customers, themselves, shareholders and other stakeholders. A learning culture is an environment in which learning how to learn is valued and accepted. In a learning culture, the pursuit of learning is woven into the fabric of organizational life.

If you believe as we do that learning cultures are fundamental to organizational success and would like to assess whether a learning culture exists in your company, we encourage you to take our free on-line assessment, Assessing Your Learning Cutlure. Simply scroll down to the bottom of hour home page and click on “take the assessment.” When you have completed the survey, we will provide you with a feedback and report that will enable you to know at a glance the extent to which you have a learning culture in your organization.

In addition, if you are interested in viewing the Leaders Connect session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLfhuG16EvI