Thursday 26 July 2018

The ongoing state of learning

Companies that succeed are those that learn all the time, even when the going is good

This is an insight that came to me from 2 directions this week, one from an article in Forbes magazine, and one from a discussion on Toyota

The Forbes magazine article is called "finding the secret to success requires embracing an ingoing state of learning", written by Daniela Pineda, who makes the following point;

The secret to success is to not be content with succeeding as an outcome. That is not enough. You have to continually cycle through learning, applying and adapting to ever-changing conditions in order to be an effective organisation.
Daniela describes a cycle of learning from experience and knowledge sharing which will be familiar to most Knowledge Managers but the point about "not being content with succeeding" also echoed comments in the Toyota discussion. As we can read in this HBR article,

over the past 40 years, (Toyota) has recorded steady sales and market-share growth. Despite this enviable stability, senior executives constantly hammer home messages such as “Never be satisfied” and “There’s got to be a better way.” A favourite saying of former chairperson Hiroshi Okuda is “Reform business when business is good,” and Watanabe is fond of pointing out that “No change is bad.”

This is a tough discipline and one that requires a strong will, but if an organisation can learn and improve all the time, even when things  are going well, then it will be ready for anything.

Success is not good enough. Continuous improvement is the goal.

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