To Create A Learning Organization, You Need Leaders Who are Life-Long Learners Themselves

Strategic Government Resources (SGR) just completed its January, 2014 Conference, and I presented Daniel Goleman’s book, Focus, at one of the sessions.   The theme for the conference was: Creating a Learning Organization:  Leading-Edge Strategies for Employee Development

And here’s the description of the conference:

What is the most important asset to your organization? It’s not about having the latest and greatest gadgets (although that’s always nice too), but your PEOPLE are who truly make the difference. In fact, personnel costs are the single biggest expenditure in your overall budget! The future of your organization depends on how you invest in the development of your employees.

SGR is a company that “partners with local governments” in a variety of ways, with training, recruiting, collaborating tools to help local governments get better, and do better, at serving their communities.  Ron Holifield, the CEO, is a former City Manager, and a non-stop idea guy.  And he has put together quite a team to help turn those ideas into actions and tools.  The result:  SGR is in fact a valuable “partner” with local governments all across the country.

But…  back to the SGR Conference.  Just take a good look at the title: Creating a Learning Organization:  Leading-Edge Strategies for Employee Development

Some thoughts:

#1 – Learning Organizations do not happen by accident.  They have to be created.

#2 – An organization needs multiple strategies, and on ongoing capability to capture and use “leading-edge strategies,” to develop employees. Because there are so many learning styles, and so much whiplash from technological change, you have to keep updating approaches and strategies.  What’s the alternative?  (What’s the opposite of “leading edge?’”  “Lagging-edge; faded-edge; left-in-the-dust edge?”)

#3 – For “Employee Development.”  This we know – employees do not arrive in a new position “fully developed.”  Employee development is an always needed, ever ongoing part of the schedule in every healthy and successful organization.  Ignore this at your peril!  Ignore this, and your employees remian undeveloped and underdeveloped.  And an undeveloped/underdeveloped employee! a great job serving the community.

Now, a thought I had about the emphasis of this conference.

To create a learning organization, you need leaders who themselves continue to learn. 

Regularly, all the time.  And, they need to be quite visible about their own learning.  They need to be seen in learning situations and gatherings.  They need to frequently be seen with a book in hand.  They need to make it clear that they do not yet “know everything,” and that they are in a perpetual learning mode themselves.  And they need to go out of their way to make sure that the people they lead/serve/develop see them as a model of a learning person, setting the example as a life-long learner.

There is little chance that you will succeed at building a learning organization if you are not a learner yourself — and then, if you are not seen and perceived as such a learner.

But, when the leader continues to learn, and regularly shares part of what he/she learns with the leadership team, and it then cascades throughout the organization, then employees also learn, and they are developed, and the organization has a much better chance at being healthy and effective and successful.

And, yes, this is true for every kind of organization, whether serving local governments, or in any other arena.

So, here are the questions for today:

Are you a learner? And, is your organization a learning organization?

If not, well…You are way behind the leading-edge.


Randy Mayeux

Contributed by:
Randy Mayeux
Professional Speaker & Writer
Co-founder, First Friday Book Synopsis

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