Over the last century we have made huge strides in our knowledge and understanding of so many fields.

From the internet to space travel; from cloning and stem cell research to breaking the sound barrier; and from eradicating disease to the greater comprehension of why we behave as we do.

All of these leaps were made through advancements in human learning, and never has it been clearer that learning is essential to operate and succeed in the modern world.

If we cease to learn and explore, then we stagnate and get left behind.

In business today, the value placed on knowledge is also greater than ever.  Our physical strength is needed so much less now, and growth and expansion lie in our ability to learn new skills, and adapt to new ways of doing things.

Organisations that continually encourage and support their people to grow and learn – so called “learning organisations” will succeed.

People who enjoy success both materially and in terms of satisfaction are those who take responsibility themselves for finding opportunities to learn the next thing, to expand their knowledge base and to extend their range of skills.

Being committed at a personal level to developing knowledge and skill (lifelong learning) is the route to achieving our dreams, goals and objectives. 

It also creates a life that is rich, full and interesting.

The choices we make in life about learning, and about the level of responsibility we are willing to take will impact on the level of success in our chosen careers.

Ambitious individuals will identify and target organisations committed to learning in the workplace. Businesses placing learning as a lower strategic priority will lose the talent recruitment war to their competitors. Ultimately the learning focus of the organisation will reflect their performance in their marketplace.

The good news is that many businesses on the growth journey have some of the characteristics already in place.

A more detailed understanding of the qualifying criteria and a genuine commitment from the leadership team will enable them to be considered a 21st century learning organisation.

The 21st century learning organisation

  • Learning organisations are places which thrive on growth and change
  • Learning and development is valued and evident throughout all areas of the business
  • They understand the importance of setting goals and objectives linked to each job role
  • A range of learning options is available in the workplace
  • They encourage experimentation and recognise the risks involved. As part of this encouragement, they reward individual’s input and learning
  • A no-blame culture is encouraged
  • Learning organisations find resources for  knowledge and information both within the organisation and by looking outside too. They are prepared to learn from the experience of other organisations
  • They invest in training and encourage individuals at all levels with skill and knowledge development
  • Learning organisations care about and actively encourage the learning needs of the individual
  • Development is not just about training courses but the actual work people do is used as a means of development
  • Coaching by line managers is actively encouraged and valued
  • The management of learning and development is supported and integrated as a valued part of the organisation
  • Above all, employees are encouraged to take responsibility for their own development, supported by the organisation

Leaders in many businesses believe learning is too important on the growth journey to ignore.

More and more forward thinking organisations are investing in the training and development of their employees in order to meet the challenges of rapid technology change, increased competitiveness and unpredictable and constantly changing commercial landscapes.

Success on the business growth journey requires an adaptable, flexible and agile workforce.

Organisations choosing to ignore ‘learning’ will find it difficult to grow if their people aren’t growing.

Growth and learning are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other.

Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you.