Arie de Geus, who was the head of planning for Royal Dutch Shell, stated the issue very concisely. This is what he concluded after a study of companies that have lasted the longest:
"The ability to learn faster than competitors may be the only sustainable advantage."
People often say we want to have a learning organization. Organizations per se do not "learn". It is on people who can learn - or not.
It comes down to two things:
- How fast the people who comprise the organization can learn; and
- How fast they can change the systems that either facilitate or impede their learning and their doing
Learning is either a habit or a parlor game (often played in schools). You memorize something to pass a paper-and-pencil test and then it is soon forgotten. What is "learned" in classrooms is soon forgotten, roughly 95% in less than a year. We seem dumb to the fact that there is no paper-and pencil test in real life or in the real world of engineering. The purpose of schooling should be to learn how to learn.
Learning Mode Assessment Tool
Are you in the learning mode? Are you growing in competency? How would you know?
The best way to know is by measuring people's performance in their roles. If that is growing at the right (superior) pace, you can assume that learning is occurring. But if you want to know how to make learning necessary, how to instigate it and how to measure it, you may want to consider a tool for doing so.
TAKE THE LEARNING MODE TEST
Make your best judgment about each item. Use a scale of 1-10, 1 being "not much", and 10 being "to an impressive degree." Once complete, enter your total and submit to see how you measure up. (As an added value, Free learning tools on submission page)