There is currently a lot of discussion in the business world about making individual companies into Learning Organizations. The idea is that a company will continually transform itself by focusing on and investing in the learning of its members and employees.
Along those lines, here are a few random thoughts on making both the individual dental practice and also the entire field of dentistry into a learning organization:
- A learning organization is analogous to a colonial organism – it has specialized parts with specialized functions.
- Each part has responsibilities for “intelligence gathering”, which it reports back to the whole for strategic or survival purposes.
- A learning organization continually questions and challenges its own ethos.
- A learning organization in the business world is one that places high value on its view of the outside world – i.e. its “strategic vision”.
- Information that either confirms or conflicts with the strategic vision is constantly acquired; assessed for truth, validity, and applicability; and used to modify the present strategic vision if indicated.
- A learning organization understands that change is constant, inevitable, and often desirable.
- Backed with a shared organizational vision of the outside world, a learning organization knows when and where to pick its fights.
- A learning organization has a shared vision of its internal and external marketplaces.
- A learning organization must be governed by people who are trained leaders, who are continuously educating themselves in personal and organizational growth matters. Each and every position, at each and every level, is important. At a learning organization no person may just “fill a vacancy”.
- A learning organization recognizes that it “doesn’t know what it doesn’t know”, and seeks and welcomes the vision of outside resources to help it expand its understanding and its influence.