Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Learning Systems

In writing my latest article (to be published in May), I spoke indirectly about the organizational mind. There, I was laying out the three core systems of an organization with respect to Organizational Fitness. One of those systems is the Learning System. Its two main sub systems are the observation systems and learning systems. What struck me was how important the learning system is to an organization's world view.

How an organization tunes the observation systems dictates how much and of what it perceives. The learning systems (which include the tacit learning discussed previously) help an organization interpret and prioritize the observations by fitting them in to the current world view, and perhaps adding to it or modifying it to some degree. Differences of focus, quality, maturity, and completeness of these learning systems can, for the exact same operating environment, provide completely different world views.

Since an organization's world view shape strategies, objectives, execution and programs of change, the differences in the learning systems can highlight why some organizations are better able to navigate their operational environments than others.

The real question becomes this; how do you tune observational and learning systems to help navigate highly dynamic environments where ambiguity, complexity and unpredictability are the norm?



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