“Learning is valuable, continuous, and most effective when shared…every experience is an opportunity to learn.” -Kerka
Sometimes, however, it is not always easy to gauge if you are part of such a company. How then can you tell if the agency or business you work for is an organization committed to fostering a true learning environment?
Check out these few key signs of a supportive and engaging work environment:
They are Committed to Psychological and Physical Safety.
In a learning organization, employees should feel comfortable contributing to the growth process. They should not fear belittlement when they disagree with peers or authority figures. They ought to also feel safe asking questions or presenting a minority viewpoint (whether perceived or real). Employees within a safe structure feel comfortable expressing their thoughts about the work at hand and are more likely to admit when they are wrong because they feel safe doing so.
They Provide Opportunities for Group and Individual Reflection.
Supportive learning environments create time for pause. They respect and promote reflection and encourage review and feedback of organization processes.
They Embrace and Acknowledge New Ideas.
Within the context of a learning environment, employees do not fear incessant correction of mistakes nor do they feel the constant need to solve problems. Instead, they feel the freedom to take different approaches to dealing with complex situations. They feel comfortable exploring unchartered waters and testing the unknown.
They Welcome Differences and Diversity.
When people grow aware of opposing ideas, it’s how they respond that creates learning. Recognizing the value of competing outlooks and worldviews can actually increase energy and spur motivation. It’s often during such moments that the greatest minds come alive.
They Believe that Information is More Important than Assumptions.
Data, rather than assumptions, should be the background for decision making. Simple, statistical tools should be used to organize data and draw inferences.
Of course, all of these ideas for fostering growth and development are great. However, without the appropriate leadership in place, they will barely get off the ground.
“When leaders actively question and listen to employees—and thereby prompt dialogue and debate—people in the institution feel encouraged to learn.” -Garvin, Edmondson & Gino., 2008
The reality is that if an organization’s leadership takes time to stress the importance of identifying problems, transferring knowledge to those that need it and reflecting on past results while looking for ways to improve—the rest of the team is more likely to succeed.
When people in power readily demonstrate a willingness to listen and consider alternative viewpoints, employees feel safe and even encouraged to offer new ideas and options for the betterment of the group as a whole.
Should you be so lucky to find yourself in one such organization, you might want a few tips and tricks for how to make the most of it. Because, as we’ve all heard before, it’s not what’s available to you that matters most. It’s whether or not you utilize it.
Here are eight (8) unique ways you can thrive within a learning organization.
- Take advantage of opportunities to learn.
- Make use of learning to achieve personal and group goals.
- Understand that your individual performance affects the organization’s performance.
- Look for ways to inquire and build dialogue.
- Make it safe for those around you to share openly.
- Help others feel comfortable when taking risks and trying new strategies.
- Embrace occasional tension and utilize it as a source for energy and renewal.
- Be continuously aware of those around you.
If you would like to learn more about how to work with a learning organization such as FPG, please don’t hesitate to contact us here or by calling 888.613.8224. We are the nation’s top final expense insurance agency and we are committed to maintaining a learning organization for all those that join our team!