Using Training to Stay Competitive
Posted on February 13, 2013 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
Organizations are constantly trying to finds ways to remain competitive with other organizations, especially in times of economic hardship. Leaders within these organizations also invest a great deal of time and money into more trendy efforts that may not even work for their organizations. I think that the key to remaining competitive in the future is to develop a culture as a “learning organization.” A learning organization can be described as one that encourages everyone in the organization to become actively engaged in increasing their skills and working toward increased organizational effectiveness. A learning organization must also adopt a policy to be more accepting of mistakes as people learn new things to expand their skill sets and to remove potential barriers to learning new things that may have existed previously.
In an organization that is not currently a learning organization but hopes to become one, there are a few steps that can guide the organizational change process. However, it should be noted that this is a proposed climate or culture change so it will naturally be a longer process than many other types of organizational changes because it involves changing the underlying values and beliefs of the organization and, more importantly, its employees.
First, the organization should make an effort to build internal capability. This means that the company should adopt a system in which all employees are able to assist in designing training and to quite literally train one another. Not only does this help employees to feel more connected to broad organizational initiatives, but it allows them to teach others and learn from others on the job on a daily basis.
Next, the organization should create a mission and vision statement to encourage overall quality management which guides future processes. Place concrete goals for learning into a vision statement that is specific as well as inspiring should help leaders throughout the organization to continuously form department goals around learning.
Finally, many organizations have found it useful to create corporate universities that are company-wide and essentially schools for all of the various training programs within the company. This seems to be an effective method for developing an learning organization as corporate universities tend to train core competencies of the company that lend well to a culture change.
Goldstein, I. L., & Ford, J. K. (2002). Training in organizations. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.