“She works on learning and technology
in a way that is creative, concrete and quirky”

The best way to strengthen the learning organization is to ….

A friend took over a large, far-flung learning organization. His task was to strengthen it. Strengthen it. Two words, hundreds of possibilities.

Perhaps my recommendations aren’t what you would expect:

  • Think less about the learning organization and more about the company or agency. Get really smart about the context. What is keeping the executives up at night? They want  you to strengthen learning in order to do what? Change what? Add what? Fix what?
  • Fight the inclination to tend to your edifice and head count. Instead focus on building learning, community and reference capacity in line with organizational priorities.
  • Deliver less training and more value, more integrated programs. That will mean doing a few things well and in concerted fashion, not everything. That is likely to mean shifting to smaller targeted bites of learning, information and support.
  • Measure  on metrics that match organizational  goals. Yes, that means questioning the habit and history of measuring the learning organization based on butts in seats and hits on elearning modules. Looks to error rates, sales, retention, and customer satisfaction.
  • Great learning organizations aren’t all about marketing and delivering events. Instead, they are quietly influential, producing assets and experiences that are helpful. Employees say, “Thanks, that’s just what I needed.” They don’t know quite what you did. What they know is that it answered a key question or pointed them to a useful resource. No fuss, no fluff. Just good stuff.
  • The great learning organization works its magic through field supervisors, social networks, and on demand programs.
  • Some might not know that the learning organization was involved with a program, experience or asset. That’s how integrated and seamless the contributions are. And that’s a good thing.

In my gym clothes, I chat about these matters with Jeff Cattel from the Corporate Learning Network. Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 1.51.52 PM



  1. I LOVE IT!!! Danke schön 🙂

  2. Darrell Walker says:

    This is spot on relative to what we are facing as we shift our content development and delivery model to a more learner-centric, need-based focus. The aspect of tying effort to business value cannot be reinforced enough, and then measuring performance in ways that reinforce the strategic value established by the company’s or client’s goals…now that is a learning culture in the making. Ultimately I see this change in momentum lining up the learning organization with the priciples of performance management and an outcome oriented function, which is where we all should be striving for if we really want to impact change or transformation. Thanks for this Allison.

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