LEARN AS IF YOU WERE NOT REACHING YOUR GOAL.
WHO IS THE BUSINESSMAN WHO LEARNS?
If you are a businessman, there is something you are surely doing to keep your company competitive – investing in your employees. It is a way to improve their knowledge and to widen your business possibilities. And this is excellent, of course. But what is the next step? Is this enough to say that your company is “learning” something? What is a learning organization? Are you sure you have grasped all the opportunities you were given to make your company better and more productive?
Confucius used to say: “Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it”.
HOW TO CREATE A LEARNING ORGANIZATION
You must have understood that the correct answer the above-mentioned questions is NO.
The culture lying at the basis of such a change is not something you can throw together. And it does not happen by chance. Imposing such a thing in a very short time means scaring your employees, making them unconfident of themselves and confused. As always, the “time factor” plays a key role. So, let us have a look at what resources and skills are necessary to make your company a “learning organization”.
First and foremost, keep in mind what follows:
- Invest in a traditional but not obsolete training.
Stop thinking that a traditional training means a better quality of work.
- Encourage the 4 learning levels.
Start training your employees about the Vision of your company and you will be half way there. Then:
1) learn from practice, processes and best practices, trying and applying them in similar situations;
2) learn new competencies which may be useful in situations where you may not know how to behave;
3) learn how to use what you already know in situations more complex and fast-moving, where it is necessary to find a more structured solution. Try over and over again!
4) learn how to learn to shape the future, instead of undergoing it. At this stage, you will find that you have a new critical point of view, that you have developed going through the first three levels.
- Exchange information because this is the basis of knowledge.
Information is the invisible voice of any company’s heritage, today more than ever. Exchanging, sharing and spreading it – from top management to production – means creating valuable knowledge.
- Provide the basis for a relaxed and cooperative working environment.
It is certain that he who makes no mistakes, makes nothing. Feeling free to make mistakes in good faith and with no fear of being blamed or punished is essential to generate enthusiasm and creativity. This is the basis to create a healthy, productive working environment.
LEARNING ORGANIZATION: WHY?
The businessman who joins the market with this approach proves to be aware, brave and prudent at the same time. He knows that he can learn a lot from his mistakes, and this is precisely the reason why he is more likely to survive in a market who changes at the speed of light. Because this is what makes you and your company different from your competitors. This is that kind of place where making mistakes has a meaning, where you can learn how to learn, and where negative experiences are essential to get a real knowledge.
WHEN CAN YOU SAY “I MADE IT”?
As always, “it is easier said than done”. Before taking this step, the best thing to do is creating a balance between change and immobility, between old and new. Once you got this, you will have to go for innovation – you will have to balance it with the pre-existing processes. It will be easier to get a stable staff rather than an unstable one undergo such a training.
What is the perfect balance? That depends – your feeling and experience make the difference. You will know how to get to this balance.
Last but not least, the very first thing a company has to do to learn from their mistakes and to appreciate their failures is to give the right value to those mistakes. This is the reason why there has to be an open and transparent communication within a team. This is also the correct way to allow everybody to give their contribution to identify strong suits and weakness. The goal is to create a virtuous cycle to give a never-ending feedback to the staff, spurring them to make their best every day.