Learning organization

All posts tagged Learning organization

Shifts in Social Learning

Published January 14, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

learning environment

A fundamental shift occurred in how people work as a result of social learning. This is due to the development of new strategies with respect to how we have always worked, and innovative tools designed to accelerate and broaden individual, as well as organizational reach. Social learning is exactly what it sounds like – learning with and from others. This occurs naturally at conferences and in group settings, as well as between old friends at a café, just as easily as it does in a classroom setting. We can experience social learning for instance, merely by walking down the hall to direct a question at a colleague or when we post the same question to someone that will respond.

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Social learning also provides people in every level of the organization, a way to reclaim their natural capacity to learn nonstop. It can help a physician navigate more safely; a sales person become more persuasive; and air traffic controllers keep up to date. At its most basic level, new social learning can occur when people become more informed, gaining a wider perspective, and able to make better decisions by engaging more closely with others. In short, social learning happens with and through other people, as a matter of participating in a group or community setting, not just by acquiring knowledge.

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Another way that social learning happens is by using social media tools and through extended access and conversations with various connections like workplaces, communities, and online for example. It also happens when we keep a conversation going on a social media outlets rich with comments, as well as through coaching and mentoring. It can even occur during a workout at the gym.

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The fact is that most of what we learn, network and elsewhere, comes from engaging in groups where people co-create, collaborate, and share knowledge, fully participating in actively listening, driving and guiding the learning process through whatever topics to help with improvement. This kind of training often provides individuals solutions to challenges that have already been resolved and the collaboration process offers another way to address obstacles that no one has overcome before. In their book, The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning, Wick, et al. (2010), outline the following six principles as guides, to help develop the “breakthrough” learning process:

  1. Define outcomes
  2. Design the complete experience
  3. Deliver for application
  4. Drive learning transfer
  5. Deploy performance support
  6. Document results

These principles reveal a strategic importance to learning with organization, that can and should support the social learning process, and in turn, social learning provides another method of engaging education that can lead to improved performances with successful outcomes.

That’s it for now. Until next time … keep organized and never stop learning!

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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. – Plato

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References:

Wick, C., Pollock, R., & Jefferson, A. (2010). The six disciplines of breakthrough learning. San Franciso, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

For more information on social learning visit: http://marciaconner.com

Winter Break – Friday Edition

Published December 26, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Winter Break Fri 1

 (Blog Repost from April 10, 2013)

Why Become a Learning Organization?LearningOrganization

In today’s global economy a profitable company must become a learning organization if they want to experience sustainability. As the world becomes more complex and businesses become more interconnected, organizational leaders must encourage an environment that embraces group learning practices. Organizations that excel will be the institutions that discover how to inspire commitment and the capacity to learn from personnel at all levels.  In the early forming and norming stages of an organization, for example, everyone is learning how to work together, figuring out what systems succeed, which do not, and develop adaptations for more effective performance. In addition, modern brain imaging techniques, previously unavailable prior to the year 2000, reveal that it is almost impossible to retain new information unless it is emotionally relevant. For instance, most leaders are not mindful that stress and fear create environments that encourage learning disabilities. Therefore, leaders who use fear and intimidation in their organization as a strategy are most likely to constrict the learning process (Reason, 2010). Organizational cultures where individuals can learn together and expand their capacity to create desired outcomes; where innovative and expansive patterns of reasoning are nurtured, tend to experience more success in reaching their goals.

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Organizational Knowledge and The Learning Process

Published September 10, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

Business objects

According to business analysts, to achieve maximum results, organizational “knowledge” has to be captured and used.  In one of the MBA courses at Ashford University, our professor revealed that successful leaders capture organizational knowledge and use it effectively by: (a) keeping it human; (b) putting focus on useful knowledge and “know-how”; (c) collecting artifacts; (d) the avoidance of insular or isolated focus; and (e) keeping knowledge fresh.

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The learning process is an essential component in organizational management and often transpires when leaders detect, analyze and correct errors. Argyris (1993) suggested that mistakes occur because of a mismatch between what an organization intends to achieve with their actions with respect to what actually transpired.  In other words errors are made when a disconnect emerges between intentions and results. In addition, learning also occurs when an organization produces a match between intentions and results for the first time. The most effective business leaders understand that actionable knowledge is significant in running an organization efficiently (Argyris, 1993).

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One way of capturing knowledge and using it effectively is by keeping it human. This means that although every company wants to be highly profitable, the human factor is equally important. It requires the development of a culture that supports employees with such components like a generous compensation, benefits, and a safe working environment. It also means becoming an organization that is socially conscious to the environment and contributes to the welfare of the community. Furthermore, companies that embrace a keep it human attitude, are also the firms that are popular with consumers usually because they have devised systems that are focused on customer relationship management and engage in practices that support responsible corporate citizenship.

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In addition, effective organizational leaders focus on useful knowledge and know-how strategies. Bontis and Choo (2002) identify this tactic as knowledge strategy and purport that it is a competitive strategy that is built around a firm’s intellectual resources and capabilities. It consists of the strategic choices a company makes using knowledge and experience to guide a firm’s development and operational functions. In addition, innovative knowledge strategies can help motivate superior performance levels (Bontis & Choo, 2002).

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Another useful strategy is collecting artifacts which include anything from competitor product samples, to adding technology that helps run the company more efficiently, to valuable information about the industry like where to mine for new leads. Collecting artifacts can: (a) help managers operate the firm more effectively, (b) give them a competitive edge, (c) help paint a clearer picture of the current marketplace, and (d) help managers anticipate new trends and changes.

On Friday, we will take a closer look at how organizational knowledge helps leaders in the strategic planning process. Until then … keep organized!

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A person should look for what is, and not for what they think should be. – Albert Einstein

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For more information on Media Magic, our digital publications, or to purchase any of our accelerated learning Business Life titles, please visit our website at: Media Magic Publishing.

References:

Argyris, C. (1993). Knowledge for action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Bontis, N., & Choo, C. (2002). The strategic management of intellectual and capital and organizational knowledge. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

The Science Behind Mindful Practices

Published August 6, 2014 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Recently, neuroscience students from Brown University published their findings on mindfulness practices (meditation) and the positive effect they have on helping individuals manage and even overcome mental disorders. Below is a post written by Christina Sarich (2014) that was published last week on the Mind Unleased website, that shares their findings:

“Can mindfulness practice (meditation) help vanquish mental disorders? 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 7.7 million Americans suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – approximately 3.3% of the US population when combined. Of these, approximately 40% of the individuals with schizophrenia and 51% of those with bipolar are untreated in any given year, but with the new studies being presented by Juan Santoyo and his peers, there could be strong scientific proof that meditation could help even the most debilitating psychological disorders.

Juan Santoyo is studying neuro and contemplative sciences, and he isn’t doing it ‘just to tickle his fancy,’ but to solve the real problem of mental disorders in our society. He presented his findings at the 12th Annual International Scientific Conference of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

He noticed when his family emigrated from Columbia that many homeless people suffered from psychological orders that often went untreated. Instead of pumping them full of pharmaceutical meds, he sees another plausible solution based on the preliminary results of a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

The paper describes how meditation affects a subject’s ability to change brain activity in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Given the chance to observe real-time feedback on their PCC activity, some meditators were even able to control the levels of activity there.

“You can observe both of these phenomena together and discover how they are co-determining one another,” Santoyo said. “Within 10 one-minute sessions they [participants in a meditation study] were able to develop certain strategies to evoke a certain experience and use it to drive the signal”  (Sarich, 2014).

Brain-Disorders

To surmise, Brown University’s research indicates that training in mindful meditation facilitates an awareness of present moment experiences, such as body and breath sensations. These practices can also change a person’s brain activity which enables their ability to manage mental disorders more effectively. In addition, mindful practices help prevent depression, reduce stress, and relieve chronic pain! This research is exciting and gives promise to coping strategies that offer alternative methods to not only manage enhanced emotions, it also offers hope for the management of psychological disorders with successful outcomes.

Friday’s post will focus on some of the practices I utilize that have been instrumental in my own healing process;  how these practices work as coping skills which have helped me both professionally and personally, and reveal the long and winding road that led me to their door.

Until then … keep organizing.

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“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings.” —Thomas Merton 

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References:

Sarich, C. (2014, July 26). Neuroscience students shows how meditation can vanquish mental disorders. Retrieved August 1, 2014, from The Mind Unleased: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/07/neuroscience-student-shows-meditation-can-vanquish-mental-disorders.html

Learning Organizations and Effectiveness – Part II

Published May 17, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Transitioning Into a Learning Organization

As the world continues to expand, older models of running an organization, under the direction of a unilateral black box control system, are proving ineffective. These forms of control usually develop from individuals trying to control the situation like Steve Jobs displayed during his reign at Apple. In today’s ever evolving marketplace, leaders are finding success by developing organizations that center on relationships with the intent of creating a whole entity from a variety of components. This is a type of operational control system that is attached to ongoing and real time explanations between divisions and is designed to achieve stability in organizational relationships (Espejo & Reyes, 2011).

Institutions that are making the transition into an effective, well-oiled learning-machine incorporate mechanisms to include a systematic collection of information for analysis and dissemination. They are open to new ideas and focus on cooperative education and training by conceiving programs that meet their needs. Learning is conducted over an expanse of time. Leaders implement clear communication devices, seek unfiltered information, and engage in advanced levels of problem solving. These are tools that help motivate staffers to work together in a cohesive manner and require full participation as well as accountability (Cates, 2009). Organizations that embrace openness to criticism and accept change increase their odds in succeeding.

To effectively transit into a learning organization, leaders must conduct annual and monthly reviews to help identify their strengths and weaknesses. Information collected from these reports is used to decide strategies that can assist to develop higher skill levels.  Used effectively they provide systems that serve to motivate advanced performances (Silberman, 2007). For example, annual reviews give insight to the volume of transactions an organization generates, identifies individuals who experience more developed levels of achievement, and reveals areas where improvement is needed. These systems help organizations strengthen their weaknesses.

Make things happen

Four Motivational Characteristics

Companies are likely to achieve higher levels of success by becoming a learning organization because it fosters a climate of collaboration. Four motivational characteristics of an effective learning organization are: (1) collection of data and intelligence, (2) experiential learning processes, (3) experimentation with new ideas, and (4) changing unfavorable conditions by sharing information and building strong relationships (Garvin, 2000).

The Collection of Data and Intelligence – Because organizations are not always adept at delivering positive outcomes, devising methods to collect data and intelligence from personnel, suppliers, partners, distributors, consumers, and others is essential. This can be accomplished by methods that measure performance levels. This includes surveys, observation, appraisal systems, financial reviews, knowledge testing and skill assessments that are used to ascertain performance levels, and competency gaps (Roberts, 2012).

The Experiential Learning Process – Most scholars are in agreement that experience is a factor that is underestimated and in some cases disregarded. However, research reveals that experience pervades all manners of the learning process. Experiential learning encompasses an individual’s active engagement from both the inner and outer world. Active participation is the key element of experiential learning because it involves the entire person through thoughts, emotions, and physical activity (Beard & Wilson, 2006).

Experimentation of New Ideas – Experimentation is a fairly new concept in organizational management and therefore an uncommon practice other than for market research and research and development purposes. For experimentation to truly become effective, organizations must encourage an open atmosphere that considers all views. Experimentation in this context attempts to produce or prove something new and creates a series of events and activities that can be analyzed in order to discover unidentified barriers. Effective experiments gather data that is important in the development and management of the organization (McClain & Smith, 2006).

Sharing Information – Effective leaders also understand the importance of collaborative management and develop cohesive systems. They build strong relationships and create a foundation in which they become more adept at working together to achieve outcomes and desired solutions. By establishing a shared vision and clear channels to open communication where people feel safe in sharing knowledge, they build a genuine trust and camaraderie. This is an integral component that can determine a company’s failure or success. Efficient business collaboration unites individuals, increases performance and productivity, and gives an organization a competitive advantage (Peterson, 2001).

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Achieving Goals

Learning organizations that work together and collaborate are capable of achieving higher levels of success because everyone is focused on a common goal that is larger than their individual goals. For example, they strive to make their organization safer, logical, standardized, and fluid. Additionally, they are connected in more cost effective ways, upgrading their systems and policies in doing so (Galsworth, 2005).

Furthermore, organizations strive to ensure they achieve the outcomes they desire.  Once data from knowledge management systems are collected, received, interpreted, and processed, priorities and deadlines are implemented to help keep them on track to accomplish their goals. Follow ups and feedback are essential to monitor effective and ineffective systems. Evaluation of systems and experimental results also helps discern errors and is factored in for the development or adjustments that will make the organization run more efficiently and the staff work together more productively.

Organizations also implement the use of electronic communication devices as a means to achieve their goals and facilitate the learning experience. This includes the implementation of discussion boards, social networking, and instant messaging tools. These components allow organizations to communicate and coordinate events and programs in real time from remote locations removing time and space limitations. In addition, organizations work collaboratively to address and achieve larger goals like environment problems, unemployment, urban development and more (Fink, 2007).

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Identifying Obstacles

Today’s leaders are learning to become more flexible as they endure enormous amounts of external pressure to survive.  In order to achieve the desired outcomes leaders are required to identify the following types of system blindness that can hinder their goals: (a) spatial, (b) temporal, (c) relational, (d) process, and (e) uncertainty. Spatial blindness, for example, only allows a fragmented viewing of a system, not the entire whole. Relational system blindness, on the other hand, is the perception an individual may experience by perceiving only what is happening to them, not necessarily what is occurring elsewhere. Identifying system blind spots can help leaders understand some of the challenges they encounter (Oshry, 2007).

Situations that are stressful and create fear also create obstacles. For example, Reason’s (2010) studies indicate leaders who engage in methods of intimidation constrict the learning process. Because of this, leaders must learn that fostering a culture of stress and fear creates an environment that encourages learning disabilities (Reason, 2010). Leaders who are able to identify organizational disabilities can tackle elements that threaten a company’s productivity. Instead, they adopt strategies to support organizational learning by creating an environment that nurtures innovative patterns of thinking. Therefore, organizations need to work together to achieve a collective vision that thrives and must strategically implement programs and systems that are designed to help them produce the outcomes they desire. In doing so, they can motivate genuine learning. Team members are inspired because they are focused on more significant matters. Effective leaders know how to bridge teamwork and fabricate a creative climate that is free from confining attitudes (Senge, 2006). Leaders who have functioned together as part of a team or group that has achieved extraordinary goals comprehend the advantages of a collaborative learning experience. There is an acknowledgment and recognition in each other’s strengths and compensation to make up for each other’s weaknesses.

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Strategies for Successful Outcomes

Learning organizations have the ability to introduce innovative opportunities that solve issues. One fundamental element to efficient learning is the innate ability to reflect and review the learning process. This helps identify which methods are effective and which are not. Spitzer (2007) postulates the key to success is measurement because it can reveal the organization’s current position in the marketplace, identifies strengths and weaknesses, and helps in the development of new goals. For this reason, performance measures have a transformational effect (Spitzer, 2007).

Decentralization of the decision making process is another effective strategy for positive outcomes. This exists where organizations foster a climate of trust and unbiased communication systems. This model can address the needs of the whole company rather than that of one individual who is leading with a personal agenda. In addition, when organizations run into issues based on gender, race, and age, working together in collaborative effort can minimize these kinds of challenges (Peterson, 2001).

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Conclusion

The reality is that we are all discovering how to learn together and are inherently evolving into a learning community. Leaders are beginning to understand that people are capable of learning quicker when they put their attention on actions that solve problems. In the long run, an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition will likely be the key component to their longevity. This research concludes that a healthy learning environment fosters good decision making. It is derived from knowledge, hard work, experience, and in some cases, as a result of bad decision making. Organizations that learn to adapt by identifying their errors and seek new opportunities for learning will set themselves up for a prosperous existence.

A successful learning organization is the driving engine that motivates and inspires individuals. The most effective leaders today are flexible, apply active listening skills, and develop methods that will improve organizational performances. Even though it stifles growth, organizations are likely to achieve higher levels of success by becoming a learning organization because it fosters a climate of trust; creates a culture of decentralized decision making; and it integrates people, systems, and technology. Leaders that adapt a learning paradigm will most likely outlive those resistant to change.

References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Beard, C., & Wilson, J. (2006). Experiential learning: A best practice handbook (2nd ed.). London, England, UK: Kogan Page.

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2010). The new social learning: a guide to transforming organizations through social media. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Blevins, R. (2001). A study of association between organizational trust and decision-making, communications, and collaboration in comprehensive, regional institutions of higher education. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, MI, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April24 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304707494?accountid=32521

Cates, C. L. (2009, May 17). The creation of a large scale corporate feedback system with a view toward learning organizations and sustainable change in higher education. Cincinnati, OH, USA: ProQuest LLC. Retrieved April 4, 2013

Espejo, R., & Reyes, A. (2011). Organizational systems: Managing complexity with the viable system model. New York, NY: SPi Publisher Services.

Fink, L. (2007, Jul-Sep). Coordination, learning, and innovation: The organizational roles of e-collaboration and their impacts. International Journal of E-Collaboration. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/222376102?accountid=32521

Galsworth, G. (2005). Visual workplace visual thinking. Portland, OR: Visual-Lean Enterprise Press.

Garvin, D. (2000). Learning in action: A guide to putting the learning organization to work. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Haney, D. (2003). Knowledge management in a professional service firm. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, IN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305334057?accountid=32521

McClain, B., & Smith, D. (2006). Experimentation in a collaborative planning environment. Monterey, CA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Oshry, B. (2007). Seeing systems: Unlocking the mysteries of organizational life. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Peterson, M. (2001, February). International collaboration in organizational behavior research. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Chichester, US: Wiley Periodicals Inc. Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224884660?accountid=32521

Reason, C. (2010). Leading a learning organization. Bloomington, IN : Solution Tree Press.

Roberts, J. (2012). Beyond learning by doing: Theoretical currents in experiential education. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Schein, E. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing.

Silberman, M. (2007). The handbook of experiential learning. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Spitzer, D. R. (2007). Transforming performance measurement: Rethinking the way we measure and drive organizational success. New York, NY: AMACOM Books.

Ward, T. (2006). Implementing knowledge management to support effective decision making in a joint military environment: Key enablers and obstacles. Minneapolis, MN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304910517?accountid=32521

Wick, C., Pollock, R., & Jefferson, A. (2010). The six disciplines of breakthrough learning. San Franciso, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Learning Organizations and Effectiveness – Part I

Published May 15, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Introduction

The world has become more interconnected and, as a result, conducting business is more complicated.  Individuals are constantly discovering how to work together in a world business community to survive and are committed to higher levels of excellence in doing so (Galsworth, 2005). As a result, companies are transiting into learning organizations for sustainability. Organizational leaders, therefore, are creating an environment that embraces group learning practices. In other words, company leaders are discovering new ways to inspire commitment and the capacity to learn from personnel at all levels in order to excel.  The issues we  examine in this research, look at the methodologies that organizations incorporate to achieve higher levels of success by fostering a culture that facilitates the learning process. We analyze how cultivating a climate of trust can support an environment that consists of decentralized decision making, and how integrating people, systems, and technology are utilized to achieve those goals. We will also identify characteristics of ideal learning organizations, observable behaviors, barriers that prevent goal achievements, and scrutinize various strategies that are incorporated to help overcome these barriers.  Our research concludes that when it comes to what makes an organization successful, applying efficient systems to encourage the learning process is a key component that allows an organization to flourish.

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Characteristics

Learning organizations are experts at producing, acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and retaining knowledge specifically focused on the modification of behavior to reflect the new knowledge. One characteristic that organizations adopt as part of the learning paradigm is social learning. Social learning occurs where people receive knowledge from others, with others. It transpires inherently wherever individuals gather – at town meetings for example – and between colleagues having lunch, just as easily as it happens in a school situation. In addition, social learning appears in the workplace when we pose a query or text message a friend with the same inquiry. Social media tools also allow learning to take place unconstrained by distance or time boundaries. Most of the knowledge acquired in today’s organizations, in fact, comes from engaging in networks where people collaborate, co-create, and process information with full participation. Successful corporate leaders encourage group networking to help acquire further knowledge and experience. Social learning, for example, is easily observed in new hires. When an individual is initially engaged in a new occupation, they seek knowledge from discerning the performance of others and modeling their behavior, or by asking another employee for assistance. In the meantime, training still serves as a valuable tool in the learning process because it provides individuals solutions to challenges that have already been mastered by others (Bingham & Conner, 2010). A new hire employee in the fast food industry, for example, during the initial training period may constantly resort to others for guidance in remembering various elements like product prices, contents for special meal packages, and other applicable systems of operation.

Another significant characteristic of learning organizations are the educational tools they implement.  Wick et al. (2010) purport that corporate training and development programs can and should provide strategic significance to the learning process. Leaders must support training programs because of the benefits, rewards, and improvement in workplace performances. The most effective executives comprehend that each individual’s learning experience, however, is shaped by a variety of components including: (a) his or her expectations, (b) aptitude and emotional experience, (c) prior experiences, (d) learning style, and (e) attitude. Therefore, the success of acquiring new skills and training programs rely on the design, facilitation, and absorption of the program (Wick, Pollock, & Jefferson, 2010). Effective training programs, therefore, should include follow-ups, assessments, and continual re-evaluation to keep skills honed and the creative energy stimulated to maintain a cohesive organization.

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Observable Behaviors

Baack (2012) explains that artifacts are one example of an organization’s observable behavior. They are observed by the overtly stated values and norms that identify organizational behavior (Baack, 2012). Artifacts, for instance, can transmit nonverbal messages in a non-linguistic manner. An organization’s culture, on the other hand, is determined by other behavior and observable artifacts.  They are represented in the physical signs of an organization’s dominant culture like the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood or the Pentagon building in Washington. The logo like McDonald’s golden arches, can become synonymous with quality service as a trustworthy organization.

Schein (2010) discusses the behavior and connection between leadership and culture as a significant factor in both an organization’s macro- and micro-cultures. His research is focused on another kind of observable behavior: the influence superiors have on subordinates.  He contends those who are resistant to change do not experience organizational longevity (Schein, 2010). In the fast food industry, employees were encouraged, for instance, to operate by adopting a modeled behavior which included identical uniformed attire, as well as the manner in which food items were prepared and delivered to consumers.

Another significant behavior learning organizations foster is a climate of trust. This type of conduct encourages openness, integrates people, implements fair communication systems, and utilizes technology efficiently. In this climate, organizations can address larger issues collectively for more effective outcomes (Blevins, 2001). For a theatrical stage manager, for example, the key component is making sure the technical aspects of a show run smoothly, like actors called on time and in place for their performance, that the prop crews run efficiently, and lighting cues are properly administered. Trust and open communication are the elements that can make or break a significant theatrical experience.  In these kinds of learning arenas, building stronger relationships enhances the creative process significantly.

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Behavioral Results

Most experts agree that the ability to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace and recognizing opportunities gives organizations an important competitive advantage. Hanley (2003) asserts that knowledge management is essential for an organization as a method to monitor behavioral results. Behavioral results from effective knowledge management systems include: (a) the reduction of cycle time, (b) the improvement of quality, (c) lowered costs, (d) increased organizational learning, and (e) improved core competencies (Haney, 2003). Learning organizations that effectively integrate technology, people, and systems, produce a cohesive union experience with extraordinary results. Knowledge management is important to the success of an organization because acquiring and processing information increases situational understanding, helps identify systems, analyzes relationships, and enables higher quality decision making.

Efficacious leaders and management teams actively look for information and programs to increase situational understanding which results in behavior that incorporates the use of technology, organizational systems, and socialization. These elements foster higher performances in decision making that can affect the development and productivity which produces value by generating new intellectual property (Ward, 2006). An entertainment production company for example, utilizes information and technology for the production of high quality intellectual property in the form of audio and video files that are distributed to various social media outlets. Organizations that do not apply knowledge management strategies can hinder an organization’s development and productivity.

Barriers to Characteristics

Now that businesses and economies have become global, performance and consumer demands are unyielding. The period essential to reflect, assess, and identify barriers is inadequate. Financial capital emerges at the sacrifice of social and natural capital.  Senge’s (2006) research identifies that one significant barrier organizations encounter is suppressed growth. This comes from their inability to embrace an environment that nurtures the learning process (Senge, 2006). Organizational cultures where individuals learn together expand their capacity to create desired outcomes. In addition, an organization’s failure to evaluate and make adjustments to rapid growth and expansion can cause a company bankruptcy or, in extreme cases, place the public in danger. Where innovative and expansive patterns of reasoning are nurtured, companies tend to experience more success.

At a former place of employment, for example, one of the partners displayed poor leadership skills. Long hours and little compensation began to create stress and discontent among the staff. The partner did not possess highly developed leadership techniques and was therefore unable to motivate staff members. The deficient leader was unable to identify and comprehend the barriers he created by displaying immature, temperamental, out-of-control behavior. This ineffective behavior did not serve to motivate the crew. His actions revealed inadequate leadership from the lack of respect he showed towards his subordinates. His behavior communicated that he did not value his staff. He was incapable of piecing together that workers, who are offered little compensation, rarely receive compliments or support, and are exposed to continual reprimanding, are not inspired or inclined to give their best performance. This unproductive environment was nurtured from poor behavior and feedback from a leader who rather than show appreciation and gratitude for their services, used means of intimidation and fear as his M.O. These kinds of conditions constrict the learning experience and foster low morale in personnel. Needless to say, this leader’s methods were ineffective.  They only served to create more barriers and, as a result, he was never able to achieve the level of success he envisioned.

This concludes the end of part I. Part II will be released this Friday. Stay tuned …

References:

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2010). The new social learning: a guide to transforming organizations through social media. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Blevins, R. (2001). A study of association between organizational trust and decision-making, communications, and collaboration in comprehensive, regional institutions of higher education. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, MI, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April24 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304707494?accountid=32521

Galsworth, G. (2005). Visual workplace visual thinking. Portland, OR: Visual-Lean Enterprise Press.

Haney, D. (2003). Knowledge management in a professional service firm. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Ann Arbor, IN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/305334057?accountid=32521

Schein, E. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing.

Ward, T. (2006). Implementing knowledge management to support effective decision making in a joint military environment: Key enablers and obstacles. Minneapolis, MN, USA: ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304910517?accountid=32521

Wick, C., Pollock, R., & Jefferson, A. (2010). The six disciplines of breakthrough learning. San Franciso, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

The Learning Paradigm

Published May 13, 2013 by Mayrbear's Lair

Learning_Paradigm

Scholars confirm that to maintain a successful place in today’s global market, there is a need for organizations to be flexible and as a result, today’s CEOs are learning to make necessary adaptations in order to achieve their goals. In addition, because leaders are being bombarded by enormous amounts of external pressure to survive, they have come to understand that learning is the key to their long-term survival and growth. Research indicates that executives are devoting more time to educating their staff and transforming their companies into learning organizations in order to keep up with the expanding global marketplace.  In other words, they are actively seeking opportunities for learning and create an environment with events and activities that support the learning process (Garvin, 2000).

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In addition, effective executives acknowledge that their actions create their reality. If they want to see a different reality, they must learn to take measures that employ efficient strategies. This includes plans that are designed with specific goals to achieve the outcomes they envision. Successful leaders in today’s global marketplace are the ones that tackle organizational learning disabilities because they pose a threat to the company’s productivity.  By adopting strategies that support a learning organization, executives are setting up an environment that nurtures new and expansive patterns of thinking, where collective aspiration thrives and people work together on learning how to produce the results they desire. Leaders that have the flexibility to move their organizations toward a learning paradigm know how to ignite and reignite that spark of genuine learning because it helps drive individuals to focus on what really matters.  Strong leaders are capable of bridging teamwork into macro-creativity and create a climate that is free of confining assumptions and mindsets (Senge, 2006).

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People learn faster when they put their knowledge into action solving problems. Marquardt et al. (2009) refer to this as action learning.  The emphasis on learning is what makes this process strategic rather than tactical in equipping leaders to respond to change more effectively.  Simply translated it is the dynamic process that involves a small group of people working together to solve real organizational problems, while focusing on how their learning can benefit individuals, groups, and the organization as a whole (Marquardt, Skipton, Freedman, & Hill, 2009). I believe successful leaders in today’s organizations must have the flexibility to move their institutions toward a learning paradigm, by applying superior active listening and developing skills that will improve individual, team, and organizational performances. In conclusion, leaders that are flexible and adapt a learning paradigm will most likely outlast those that are too rigid and resistant to change.

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References:

Garvin, D. (2000). Learning in action: A guide to putting the learning organization to work. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Marquardt, M., Skipton, L., Freedman, A., & Hill, C. (2009). Action learning for developing leaders and organizations: Principles, strategies and cases. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Senge, P. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday Publishing.