Building a True Learning Organization

Becoming a learning organization is the basis for creating a culture of service and innovation. It also helps bind your IT team together around a shared vision.

Learning organization

This simple act connects the entire organization together in a common mission to serve the guest. It makes them interested in their mutual success. And it gives them a sense of being part of a team and a comfort level with speaking up about potential improvements, even when the suggested enhancements are out of their own area of responsibility.

A Hard Path to Making It Look Easy 

After I finished my talk with Jim I felt a bit like I had just been allowed to peek at the magic behind the curtain. I had a deep appreciation for just how hard the team works every day to make my hotel experience pleasant, peaceful and painless. I had tried about five hotels in the Washington, D.C. area before I settled on this one. If you had asked me why, I'm not sure I could have told you. It wasn't necessarily the best reviewed or most convenient hotel, but it just felt comfortable. And it felt right.

I can now see why. I can see how much work that takes. And it makes me appreciate all of the hard work even more. Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing to hear as an IT organization? At a cocktail party, someone asks your CEO about his IT organization. He pauses and simply says, "You know, they're great. I can't even tell you what really makes them different from the IT organizations at the other places I've worked, but this team just gets it. They just feel right."  

That's what becoming a learning organization sounds and feels like. Jim and his approach provides some great lessons for all of us in IT, but only if we're willing to listen. And if you are ever in the D.C. area and need a place to stay, let me know. I’ve got a great recommendation for you. 

About the Author

Charles Araujo is a recovering consultant and accidental author of the book, The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. He is an internationally recognized authority on IT Leadership and liberally shares his message of hope about the future of IT and what it means for all of us. He is the founder and CEO of the IT Transformation Institute and serves on the boards of itSMF USA and the Executive Next Practices Institute. You can follow him at @charlesaraujo.

Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of an eight-part article series titled "Seven Steps to a Next-Generation IT Organization." To read the previous installment, "The Four Pillars: The Secret to IT Transformation," click here. 

This article was originally published on 03-19-2014
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