In his 1990 book The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge coined the term learning organization: “Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

Today, building a learning culture seems to be a greater organizational requirement than ever, yet most are not prepared for their learning and development needs. PwC’s 2015 Global CEO Survey of 1,409 CEOs in 83 countries found that 75% felt a skilled, educated and adaptable workforce should be a priority, but 72% were concerned about the availability of the key skills their companies needed.  Furthermore, Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends, incorporating data from 3,300 business and HR leaders in 106 countries, reported that 85% thought learning was “important” or “very important,” yet only 40% were  “ready” or “very ready” to build a learning culture.

How then does an organization build learning into its culture? It starts with CEO commitment. And CEOs in turn empower chief human resources officers and chief learning officers, who become key leaders for fostering learning at all organizationallevels. As Senge observed: “Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it no organizational learning occurs.”

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Stuart Levine


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