Learning: The Work of Organizations

The work of organizations is as much about learning and changing as it is about producing. To create susstainability, and organization must be able to adapt on the fly. Rigid form cannot adapt quickly to the environment of constant change in which all organizations live. Creating a sustainable organization requires a change in how we design organizations. We must design for fluidity and flow, like a stream that can adapt in the moment to changes in its environment, freely taking whatever action is needed, changing form as needed, on the fly.

Change is a process of observation, learning, and the growth that comes from adapting to new information. But our organizations have rigid structures that cannot adapt to new information quickly. It is time for leaders to learn this lesson and begin designing organizations from the ground up as organisms that are fluid, capable of adapting on the fly, as living systems where learning and changing is the key focus, the work of organizations, and yes, producing value along the way.

Our expertise is in the area of human nature and the human condition. The simple truth about change is that all change begins within. Organizational change comes about only when people accept and move through that change. The acceptance and the motivation to change occurs within us. Part of our work at Mindshift is to help leaders shift how they see themselves, their work, and their organizations.

Organizations are only as intelligent and agile and creative as their people. The essence of any organization is people working together to achieve a shared vision. This occurs within a culture that includes all the normal issues and dynamics prevalent in social communities. Organizations are, if nothing else, social communities.

In all organizations, leaders set direction and culture produces customer value. A culture's strength is based in its values and beliefs and the alignment of such beliefs with leadership. When a lack of alignment exists, communication issues often exist in parallel. Once these issues are addressed, an organization and its members can get on with the core tasks of creating, learning, and producing.

Our fundamental belief is that the primary task for both people and organizations is to learn. The success of every endeavor depends on our ability to learn, to apply that learning, and to change and grow. This core belief at Mindshift defines our value proposition: to develop insights and capabilities that enable transformational change.

Opportunities for change and growth exist in every organizational activity, from alignment and vision work, to strategic business moves like mergers and acquisitions, to retooling systems and developing talent. Every organizational change and client engagement offers opportunities for learning and growth. Change is simply the path where this occurs.