Continuous learning offers a strategic advantage – Sanjeewaka Kulathunga

In a fast-moving world spurred by the advancement of information and communication technologies (ICT), organisational learning needs to be part of a corporate strategy to enable enterprises to continue improving, and building new skills and competencies based on prior successes and failures.

Organisational learning is the holistic process of creating and transferring knowledge inside an organisation, and then applying the same to modify its strategy. As an enterprise grows, and acquires experience and expertise, it should incorporate new learning into its operational processes.

There are three basic components to this. Recognising new organisational insights, individual tacit learning and experiences are transformed into clearly recorded information as the next step. Finally, all recorded learning information is shared within the business as a prime corporate strategy.

For example, customers are leaving a reputable software outfit because their products are not easy to use. Organisational learning means taking what’s been discovered from customer feedback, and developing a suitable action plan together with marketing and production, to improve the products and make them customer friendly. This should convince consumers to remain with the brand since their concerns have been addressed.

Many businesses use organisational learning to increase annual revenues by optimising their products and services. For instance, The Walt Disney Company was worth more than US$ 57.06 billion in 2022 since its cartoon series, movies and themes parks are popular the world over.

Disney continues to create new forms of entertainment through organisational learning and now operates a television network, producing music and providing a streaming service through Disney+.

To meet the evolving demands of consumers, Disney introduced its first streaming service to the UK in 2015. This was its first product in the streaming platform line and was called DisneyLife. Over the next five years, the business learned what consumers wanted from a streaming service. In 2019, it launched the upgraded Disney+ version.

Unlike Disney’s example, a learning organisation doesn’t need to implement major adjustments across the board every week. Instead, businesses should be able to learn and execute small adjustments on a regular basis if needed.

Crafting an organisational learning strategy is integral to the success of corporate entities. A robust strategy lays a strong foundation that will assist all teams and contribute to the overall strategic objectives of the business. It also covers knowledge retention and transfer, which will fulfil the needs and wants of employees, partners and consumers.

According to management consultancy firm McKinsey, the global workforce has changed over the last decade owing to various factors including an increasingly competitive business landscape, the digital revolution, a multigenerational workforce and regular employee reskilling or upskilling to stay competitive in the market.

Staying ahead of the competition is one of the most difficult challenges for any business. Maintaining a competitive edge requires the enforcement of numerous strategies across the organisation to make the business stand out positively before the consumer.

If employees are constantly creating, retaining and transferring organisational knowledge, the business is able to innovate and stay ahead of its rivals during market competition.

All corporate leaders should realise that organisations must be adaptable to sustain and flourish the business over time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of businesses had to adapt to a new style of working where employees worked from their homes. In addition to that, they had to reconsider their ‘product-market fit.’ Problem solving abilities gained through a strong learning strategy are critical to success.

Learning organisations always outperform non-learning entities in terms of productivity and profitability. When employees gain insight-ful knowledge, they’re able to use it to improve their working methods. And when they share these fresh discoveries with their teams, those colleagues also become more efficient and effective.

A strong learning strategy is decisive because it stimulates creativity and innovation, and allows a business to attain its maximum potential in various areas. This can be accomplished by fostering a work atmosphere in which employees are exposed to new ideas, engage effectively as a team and experiment after being given reasonable time to reflect on their novel findings.

Ultimately, a solid learning strategy will enable a business to become invincible in terms of competitiveness, productivity and profitability in these volatile market conditions.