Leadership for Learning (Video 5 minutes)
Vigorous Learning Organizations are Key.
A Vigorous Learning Organization is one base of the program of the Compression Institute. The other is Compression Thinking. A Vigorous Learning Organization concentrates on internal development that is a stretch for companies, but all elements of it have been seen in action. If dedicated, real people can do it.
The other base, Compression Thinking, concentrates on externalities, re-thinking what we are, what we do, and most important, why. The bases complement each other. Both assume that a company or any work organization see that it is vital to change what we do because of excess consumption and environmental abuse.
Vigorous Learning Organizations (VLOs) are operational; they do something. They learn by doing besides learning vicariously. A VLO might be a company, which is a legal entity for tax purposes. Or it can be an agency, a non-profit, or a voluntary work group. In any case, a VLO is a human organization that carries out a project, or a set of projects. Some companies live for centuries; others die aborning, but in any case when their purpose expires, so does the company.
Vigorous learning is discovering something new by experiment, or by combining the experience of many people. Learning goes faster and deeper if the group learning process is structured. Learn from the past, but beware of perpetuating obsolete models of reality or unsubstantiated myths. A Vigorous Learning Organization is created, structured, and culturally tuned for operational learning by everyone.
A Vigorous Learning Organization has five elements, a composite of the practices seen in the very best operational companies over a 25-year span. None perfectly mastered all five elements (impossible), but all at least partly practiced all five. You can too if you are dedicated to inculcating the behavioral disciplines, augmented by supportive organizational policies. The further this learning system develops, the more it becomes the framework for how the company functions.
Below are the five major elements of a Vigorous Learning Organization. Each is vital to the whole. Click on each one for an explanation in depth.
- Leadership for Learning
- Transformative Common Mission
- Rigorous Learning Systems
- See the Whole – Systems Thinking
- Behavior for Learning
All five elements interrelate, so developing a Vigorous Learning Organization is more integrative than implementing independent modules, expecting them to fit together like bricks in a wall. For example, learning to engage in insightful dialog is an ingredient of all five elements. Start with Leadership for Learning and becoming familiar with where you are going; then just start somewhere and begin to cultivate a new culture.
Developing a Vigorous Learning Organization is an organic process like growing a garden. You will experience some weeds and setbacks, but keep going. Structures, as with Rigorous Learning Methodologies, are trellises on which human capabilities can grow. Learning to become regenerative with nature is a human development process as well as a system development process. Vigorous Learning Organizations, including their leaders, grow themselves by learning how to re-develop the human processes in the world in which they live.
For any of us individually or for any organization, it is easier to change how we think by changing what we do rather than the other way around. However, we want an organization that is the opposite of a cult. To define a cult, see the review of Alexandra Stein’s book on cults.
To investigate the Vigorous Learning Organization in more depth, go to: