A Learning Organization

Posted by: Julie on Friday, March 21st, 2008

hbr1.jpgI just read the March issue of the Harvard Business Review, and there are some terrific articles in there to check out if you are at all interested in leadership, organizational growth, strategy, authenticity, talent management, and much more.  This month’s issue is great.  This morning I read a particular article entitled, ‘Is Yours a Learning Organization?’

David Garvin, Amy Edmondson, and Francesca Gino explore how an organization ‘learns’ new things.  They say,“Leaders may think that getting their organizations to learn is only a matter of articulating a clear vision, giving team members the right incentives, and providing lots of training… A learning organization, however, not only has a compelling vision, but has team members skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge and ideas.  These people foster open discussion, think holistically and systemically, and are able to adapt quickly to unpredictability.”

The authors then go on to describe three building blocks for assessing the depth of learning in your organization:  1) a supportive learning environment, 2) concrete learning processes and practices, and 3) leadership that reinforces learning.

 As I read this article, I am reminded of the book The Starfish and the Spider.  The basic idea of this book is that creativity and new ideas come from the edges of an organization and not necessarily from the center.  Knowing that and encouraging that in your organization is helpful; but in order for that creativity to be ‘learned’ within the organization, the organization must become a learning organization!  This is the piece that intrigues me the most about this HBR article.  It describes the means by which our organizations can foster and implement new ideas effectively.

In the church planting world, it is ever so important to foster and implement new ideas effectively, especially when it comes to catalyzing a movement!

 Is yours a learning organization?  Why or why not?

4 Responses to “A Learning Organization”

Steve Says:
March 22nd, 2008 at 11:50 am

You actually read the Harvard Business Review?!!

Julie Says:
March 22nd, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Haha, of course Steve! How do you think I climbed the corporate… oh wait… :) Seriously though, it’s a great read! I’m leaving this month’s issue in your box!

Laura Says:
March 23rd, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Julie, you are such a great friend and a great inspiration to everyone. God has truly blessed you, and I hope you can continue to inspire those around you. I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished! I hope everyone else knows how beautiful you are on the inside and out. I love you!

Steve Says:
March 24th, 2008 at 8:01 am

Thanks! I’ll pick it up and drop in and say hi!


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