Two ways

There are two ways of looking at the words called “Learning Organization”.  And they do not mean it the same way.

Way #1:  One way, and what I see typically it being regarded as is:

“The management has determined that the reasons why the organization is not doing as well as it should is because the people working within the organization has not been equipped with “the right skills” to do their jobs and as people.  It then believes that the work of Peter’s is to (magically) transform such skills.”

Way #2:  The other way to see this work is to regard it as a systemic strategy development programme:

  • To first appreciate that the reasons getting in the way of an organization not moving in the way we hoped it would, could be more  than what we assume (yes, even if it is from the horse’s mouth).
  • Then:

Seek to understand systemic causalities to problems that are resistant to our efforts to change it.  Do not attempt to break the problems down by departments or units or over time.  Should we do so, we are subjecting our thoughts to events within the environment.  Rather in this work, it is first to step back and notice patterns that are recurrent.  The best way to see this is to look at it beyond the organization to what is happening for most organizations.  To be able to step back and see both the forest and the trees.

For example, rather than say, we are seeing more patients admit to the hospitals for chronic illnesses in this ward, step back (from the trees – the latter is the work of the medical staff) to notice what happens to such issues as a patterns over time  (to see the forest), i.e. what is causing more citizens (even if it means globally) to succumb to chronic diseases, a question that we may sometimes reserve for scientific studies.  Then again, should we look at these studies, they continue to be snapshots (at a point in time or space). Yet in this work we say, when something is as persistent as it is, something is ‘pushing’ or causing it systemically over time and space.  It is not accidental.   Till we get to see (and learn) what it is as an organization (not the doctors, not the scientists), no amount of ‘learning to be (robotic-ally) efficient’, will really make that difference to the organization and ultimately the citizen (and the country).

The question I usually ask is ‘what has been resistant to our efforts to change it and why?’  These questions will take us through the five disciplines of this work that would help us turn around (that’s the Theory U) the situations for you and the organization.

So which way do you see this work?

If it is the former, then in my view, this work is really not up to scratch for you.

If it is the second, then welcome to this work!