Becoming a Learning Organization

Think like a tree. The roots and the leaves are where the resources are gathered. The rest of the structure exists to support leaves and roots. The trunk is strong, but its purpose is to get the leaves where they can drink in the sunlight.

1) Push learning to the outermost parts - the leaves - of your org chart.

2) Create listening channels that bring ideas back from the leaves to the decision-making heart of your company.

3) Align incentives - some incentive for working to find a good idea, more incentive when a good idea is found.

4) People at the Leaf end need to be looking for Great Ideas - useful techniques and patterns, and noting Big Ideas as they are encountered.

5) Branches - middle management - need to be integrating Great Ideas into current processes (explicitly) and passing along Big Ideas.

6) People in the Trunk need to be looking for the next Big Idea that will disrupt the company and allow it to be reborn as a new, better company, while incentivizing the branches to find the best Great Ideas to improve the existing company.

7) Seeds are small, but they carry all the information needed to grow a new tree. A new Big Idea needs to be launched as a Seed, not as a full Tree.

(Thanks to Clayton Christensen and The Innovator's Dilemma for clarifying many of these ideas).

Does this picture match what you want your company to be like? Let's talk!

Professional Learner