Much has been written about the importance of “change” within a business, and how developing an acceptance of it is a requirement to maintaining a culture of Continuous Improvement as well as a competitive position.
However, it is also true that people tend to resist change, even when they acknowledge the need for it.
While there are numerous methods for leading and managing change within an organization, “knowledge” is the most powerful of change agents.
If leaders can make the practice of gathering and sharing knowledge more systematic, and initiate a systematic approach to pursuing knowledge not only about the outside world and marketplace, but also about the work itself, then they can more easily achieve breakthrough results as well as a more engaged and competitive culture.
Of course this contrasts with the more common business culture of focusing on individual learning.
But consider that a great deal of the learning goes to waste when in this model because much of what is learned stays in one place. An individual may accumulate a great deal of knowledge and skill in his or her work, but little is shared. One may master one’s own job, but know little about the work in supplier or customer organizations, which could help streamline the whole process.
To implement a systematic approach to making “learning” the organization’s catalyst for change, leaders can encourage people to learn from four key sources:
- Learn about the marketplace
- Learn about the competition
- Learn about the world-at-large
- Learn about the work
We’ll take a closer look at each of these sources of knowledge over the next few posts, and point-out how each can serve as a catalyst to change and Continuous Improvement.