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Why Organizations Don’t Learn and How To Fix It

Although it seems simple and clear cut, continuous learning and growth is difficult for companies to sustain. It is a complex situation that is easier said than done. Companies can get so wrapped up in focusing on success that they simply neglect learning and growth potential. There are many factors to why organizations don’t learn and in this article we are going to discuss how these factors impact an organization and how to make a purposeful change.

Why Organizations Don’t Learn and How To Fix It

Fear of Failure.

Failure has a crippling stigma that is making it nearly impossible for organizations to learn. Many of us avoid mistakes by not taking any risks and staying in our comfort zone. It is easy to become comfortable and have a desire to stay there. However, complacency makes it very hard to succeed.

The reaction to failure should not be punishment or embarrassment. Instead of fearing failure, organizations should embrace it and promote it as a learning opportunity. Employees have to feel supported during a time of failure in order to learn and grow from their mistake. This will give them the confidence they need to continue taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zone.

The Mindset.

There are two directions you can take your organization’s mindset. One direction is fixed, where those with a fixed mindset believe that you either have it or you don’t. They are not open minded to learning and growth and view failure as an incompetency. The other direction is growth, where those with a growth mindset believe that no matter how much you know, or how good you are, you always will have room for improvement. They seek challenges and opportunities to learn and are happy to take risks.

Organizations should be teaching a growth mindset. Even some of the greatest leaders of an organization could take a new approach on improvement. Teaching this mindset will help employees handle challenges, give them motivation for self-improvement, and learn from their past mistakes. A growth mindset atmosphere makes it hard for one to ever become complacent.

Performance vs Potential.

Discovering an individual’s past accomplishments and competencies is easy, but their potential to learn and improve can be difficult to determine on paper. Many employers neglect the potential and only focus on past performance when reviewing an employee or possible candidate. Two people can have the same skill set and accomplishments, however their hunger to learn and determination to succeed is the differentiation.

Organizations should incorporate a focus on potential into their hiring process, performance evaluations, and promotion decisions. The individual who has the potential to improve, learn and grow will be a much greater asset to an organization than an individual with a fixed mindset.

Exhaustion & Lack of Reflection.

Employees that are worked until exhaustion don’t have the energy to learn, they’re either too busy or too tired! Employees who are pushed in to “overtime” can get run down, leading them to lack of growth and even not applying already acquired skills. As an organization, make sure you are hiring the right amount of staff so that they can learn and perform optimally. Giving them the proper amount of breaks throughout the day and an adequate amount of time off will also improve motivation to learn and perform well.

If an employee is too busy or too tired to learn, they most likely won’t have time to reflect on their growth, accomplishments or areas of improvement either.

Learning Takes Practice.

Habits can be difficult to break and usually don’t happen overnight. The best way to ensure that your organization will continuously learn is to be mindful. There are many contributing factors to the lack of growth of an organization including fear of failure, a fixed mindset, a performance only focus, working until exhaustion, and lack of reflection. Be aware of what is going on and welcome feedback. Your employees are a great resource to easily recognize internal issues.

If you feel like your organization could use additional support, consider hiring Labor Systems as your trusted staffing agency.