Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Authentic leaders who lead within organisations recognise that learning and development is not just a department but an exploration that is present in the culture of all of it's people. The following is a reflection on the work of Systemic Scientist Peter Senge in organisational learning and development. It involves discovering how organisations, teams and people work together at their best and then continuously improving on it. It could be a school, a small business, community group or a multinational global company that works across cultures. There are many tools, skills and practices to integrate organisational learning into the workplace and it's an on-going evolutionary process of practicing, testing and adapting the learning. Organisational learning allows people to be open and candid in a team setting and continuously challenging their own thinking as well as raise questions. It's about challenging the thinking and historical information about how the company does things, this means putting aside pre conceived ideas and allowing the organisation to become the change it seeks.
It's easy to be a critic of how other people do things but it's much more difficult as a leader to be critical of yourself. The work of examining your own thinking is the authentic leadership skill of reflection. The cornerstone of organisational learning is to build collaborative and collective environments where people can reflect. Reflection involves looking at the current situation as well as their aspirations and unpacking it together in conversation. Our Coaching Conversations is a great example of how we are facilitating this kind of learning and development within Australian workplaces and I am always energised by the great insights these sessions produce. Collaborations might include reflecting on current reality which can come across quite fragmented at times, you see a problem and know someone needs to do something about it but we don't often see the wider context of it all, the causes and conditions responsible for it. How did the problem come about? What is the cause of the symptom? A lot of Organisations react to a symptom rather than reflecting on the organisation as a whole and looking at the systems to better understand there source. Some leaders might even seek to blame the individual and not take responsibility for the system itself and this is obviously a flawed assumption based on reaction that will only delay real cultural change. One thing is for certain, real systemic change takes a lot of hard work, commitment, thinking together on a shared vision and effort to implement. The question behind all this work is why? Driving a vision within an organisations involves the work of knowing what the "we" really care about and what really motivates the people involved; this is what becomes the vision and aspiration. Knowing what people really care about involves reflecting on what we really care about as a human being, not just professionally but for your whole lives. It's easy to understand what is motivating a reaction, you want to fix the problem and make it go away but understand that problems arise out of a set of basic practices can help you reflect on the systems as a whole. Then the last part of real systemic change is having a vision of where you want to be. What is your true aspiration and where you want to be? And it is really important to know your why. What is the future you really care about? Naturally you begin to interconnect, your work, your life, your family and this way we can continue to build more and more healthy and sustainable networks in the world and with respect to our environment and earth. For more on workplace leadership coaching visit the website.