“In the long run, the only sustainable competitive advantage is your organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.” Peter Senge
It’s a basic employment skill in today’s world. Each of us must embrace continuous learning or quickly fall behind in our career of choice. But for leaders, there is a bigger question. How do you infuse that learning ability in the organization? The top tier…the leadership team…cannot do the learning alone. They are generally too far removed from operations to keep up-to-date on the trends and demands of the customer and the changes emerging in process. At best, they may be part of a larger learning effort, setting an example and supporting learning principles.
But for an organization to truly excel, employees throughout the operations level must embrace learning and be trusted to leverage its power! These are the ‘drivers’ who make changes happen. They see the immediate impact of their learning on the output of the organization. This is the group who needs multiple opportunities to learn, multiple ways to learn to suit their styles, and clear expectations of learning as part of their job.
A leadership team committed to growing the organization both in size and impact will encourage learning at all levels. They will pursue their own learning goals, act as mentors, and develop policy that makes clear that learning is valued at all levels of the business. A CEO with vision will insist on learning as evidence of organizational commitment and energy for the future. And the best business plan will include support for employee learning and recognition for the positive changes that can occur in the organization.
A talent investment! No other expenditure can offer as great a return. It’s the key to a vibrant organization ready to compete in tomorrow’s environment.