Create a Learning Organization with These 4 Skills Based Activities

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In the book The Fifth Discipline, author Peter Senge introduces a concept called the “learning organization”. A learning organization is a company that facilitates learning within its culture and, through that process, continuously transforms itself. It’s this type of culture that allows organizations to grow both in terms of the products and services they provide and the talent they attract. Some companies that have been considered learning organizations include Apple, Toyota, and General Electric.

Senge identified five essential elements to becoming a learning organization: systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team building. While all of these components are equally valuable, let’s focus on one aspect – personal mastery. In particular, skills mastery.

4 Ways to Achieve Personal Skills Mastery

Before we talk about how to achieve personal mastery, let’s talk about what skills are. I’ve mentioned before how the terms knowledge and skills are often used interchangeably. And the vast majority of the time, that’s probably okay. But when we’re talking about learning, understanding the definition of a skill is important because it drives how mastery is achieved. 

Skills are proficiencies developed through training or experience. Skills are not the theoretical understanding of a topic (that’s knowledge). Obtaining personal mastery involves having a self-awareness of the skills we possess and need, coaching and feedback about our performance, and lifelong learning. There are four primary learning processes where we gain mastery.

Retraining provides training (again) to workers. It often takes place after a merger, acquisition, or restructuring. An example might be retraining the accounting team on a new procedure for processing expense reports. They already know how to process reports, but they need retraining on the new way.

Upskilling is the process of acquiring new skills. It’s typically related to the job that the employee currently holds – for example, a programmer learning a new computer software program. 

Reskilling involves learning new skills, but it’s usually for the purpose of transitioning to a new role. It could be for a promotional or lateral opportunity such as an administrative assistant learning how to code or an accounts payable clerk learning payroll.

Development takes place when an individual gains new knowledge and skills for the purpose of transitioning into a role of greater responsibility (i.e. management development). Often, when we think of development, it could involve multiple roles over the long term.

All of these learning processes are effective. The key is for HR departments, managers and employees to build these activities into their overall learning strategy. HR departments should have learning strategies that align with the goals of the business. Managers need to have learning strategies, so employees are able to perform at a high level. And employees want personal learning strategies to accomplish their career goals…

Source: hr bartender

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