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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Veldon Law: Take Time To Learn

It should go without saying that we are all constantly in a state of learning. Even the simplest of new or unfamiliar tasks illustrates this premise.

On your way to work you encounter considerable traffic which is blocking your usual route. You automatically go into problem solving mode and re-route yourself, perhaps onto roads that you have previously not traveled. You arrive at work, a bit later than planned, but have learned a new and maybe even shorter path. The same could be applied to finding and then driving to the address of a social gathering you are to attend in a location you have yet to visit. Other examples of learning could be learning a new software program, learning a new recipe, and in the case of this premise learning that organizations learn, too, just like individuals.

It is most intriguing that most widely recognize “individual” learning and the need for the same. At the same time many never think about the implications and need for “organizational” learning. “Organizational” learning just like “individual” learning is something that is needed for the organization to survive and thrive.

It isn’t that the organization itself learns, rather it is the individuals within the organization that learn, and apply and account for what they learn about what it is that they do and can do for the organization that creates organizational learning. Critical in this process is the accounting or recording of what is learned so that processes, systems, and approaches are documented and systematized which then encourages and creates improvement.

If an organization stops learning it is no wonder that they fall on hard times. If they are not learning about their market, how to reach it, how to create it, how to improve what they deliver they have little chance of thriving and surviving. There is a constant need to be learning, assimilating information, analyzing it, responding to it with planning, and programs, products and services, and evaluating and improving. This need for learning occurs within the organization's internal environment as well as its external environment. Both are of equal importance.

It should not be surprising that leadership and management guru, W. Edwards Deming is quoted as saying, "Learning is not compulsory; but then again neither is survival."

Summary: Individuals and organizations must take the time and extend the effort and resoures to learn!