A Learning Organization – Nu Leadership Series

“ Every failure is a blessing in disguise, providing it teaches some needed lesson one could not have learned without it. Most so-called Failures are only temporary defeats.”
Napoleon Hill

If organizations truly want to be learning organizations, they must first respect the employees as more than physical beings. Learning organizations are the future for effective organizations. However, most business executives have the delusion of learning from their own experiences. In this situation, these leaders exercise trial and error. However, organizations that rely solely on their past experiences to solve future problems will make fatal mistakes. Some leaders who view themselves as mavericks try to succeed in the market with little input from the frontline employees. Obviously, “leaders know best” is their motto. Senge (1990) argues that many organizations operate without a clear understanding of teamwork. Senge notes, “Most teams operate below the level of the levelest IQ in the group.” Therefore, this short-sighted view results in inefficiency in the organization.

Many managers believe the myth that they are smarter than their employees. This is fueled by their “top down” strategy. Although organizations solicit employee input, many leaders don’t want any feedback. Even though some workers may be smart and have access to information 24/7, most managers do not let them make routine decisions. Forward-thinking organizations understand how to utilize talented workers (Morgan, 1997).

Peter Drucker (2000) argues that leaders need to value their staff. Knowledge workers don’t perform just for monetary reasons (getting paid) but believe they can make the organization better with their contributions. Drucker noted, “Organizations that understand this…will be able to attract, hold, and motivate the best performers. That will be the single biggest factor for competitive advantage in the next 25 years.” Therefore, future organizations need to solicit the aid of the knowledge worker.


Drucker, P. (2000). Managing knowledge means managing oneself. Received on May 19, 2006 from http://www.pfdf.org/leaderbooks/L2L/spring2000/drucker.html.

Morgan, G. (1997). Imagination. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Senge, P. (1990). The Fifth Discipline. New York: DoubleDay.
© 2008 by Daryl D. Green