Agile, Learning Organizations“The learning organization can mean two things, it can mean an organization which learns and/or an organization which encourages learning in its people. It should mean both.”

– Charles Handy, “The Age of Unreason“, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, pp 225

“Feedback is the lifeblood of the organization — the exchange of information that lets people know if the job they are doing is going well or needs to be fine-tuned, upgraded, or redirected entirely.

– Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

“Visionary companies make some of their best moves by experimentation, trial and error, opportunism, and — quite literally — accident.  What looks in retrospect like brilliant foresight and preplanning was often the result of “Let’s just try a lot of stuff and keep what works. In this sense, visionary companies mimic the biological evolution of species.”

– James C. Collins and Jerry Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

“Management must also enable the enterprise and each of its members to grow and develop as needs and opportunities change. Every enterprise is a learning and teaching institution. Training and development must be built into it on all levels — training and development that never stop.”

– Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker

“…the three building blocks of a learning organization. The first, a supportive learning environment, comprises psychological safety, appreciation of differences, openness to new ideas, and time for reflection. The second, concrete learning processes and practices, includes experimentation, information collection and analysis, and education and training. These two complementary elements are fortified by the final building block: leadership that reinforces learning.

– David A. Garvin, Amy C. Edmondson, and Francesca Gino, “Is Yours a Learning Organization?” Harvard Business Review

“Learning is an economic elixir. It makes both people and organizations more adaptable, more able to respond to change, more nimble. It serves as the bedrock for innovation; it is impossible to innovate without learning something new. And when it occurs in workplaces, it is one of those rarest of opportunities — where employers’ and employees’ incentives are in perfect harmony. In the vast majority of cases, it makes both better off.”

– Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim, Lawrence Costello, and Dan McNurrer, with Larry Costello, Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era

“First, study projects that didn’t pan out and document all the insights they offer about customers, markets, future trends, your organization, your operations, your team, and yourself. Second, magnify the impact of those lessons by spreading them across your company. Senior leaders should gather frequently to discuss their failures, and efforts to share lessons with all employees will build trust and goodwill and encourage future initiatives. Third, step back and do a corporate wide review of your pattern of failure, to ensure your overall approach is yielding all the benefits it should.”

– Julian Birkinshaw and Martine Haas, “Increase Your Return on Failure,” Harvard Business Review