“The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition.”
Peter M. Senge wrote this quote nearly thirty years ago in his management classic, “The Fifth Discipline“, but this has never been more applicable, especially over the past few years as technology continues to accelerate change.
Is your organization a learning organization?
If the key to navigating this transition is to learn faster than the competition, how do we make this happen at every level inside the organization?
How does an organization learn?
Let’s approach this problem from a high level – how does an organization learn in the first place?
Formal learning (as the name suggests) is a more structured way of learning which involves a classroom setting, e-learning courses, webinars, etc. If you are trying to navigate technology disruption, you may have formal workshops on AI, big data, or the blockchain. This tends to be a “top-down” approach to learning.
Informal learning is what happens outside of a structured setting and can be spontaneous, sparked by the motivation of the individual(s). Examples include self-study, coaching sessions, books, and online resources. This is a “bottoms-up” approach to learning new things.
The majority of learning is informal
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, the vast majority of corporate learning is informal learning. Informal learning happens at the point-of-need and is tailored to solve real-world problems.
If informal learning is a more prevalent way for an organization to learn, how do we encourage more of it? To answer this question, we need to understand the barriers that currently exist.
Stay tuned for part two of this series.