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Evolutionary Leadership Development

Create a Learning Organization Culture*

Evolutionary leadership development means developing the capacity to lead an organization on a path of evolution.  An evolving organization performs and produces at higher and higher levels.

The foundation of evolutionary leadership is a Learning Culture in the organization. 

The opposite of a Learning Organization Culture is a disorganizing culture of anger, blame and attack.  

In a Learning Culture, at every level of the organization workers do not fear mistakes.  They relate to mistakes as inevitable feedback pointing to a higher level of functioning.  They calmly and confidently analyze their own conduct to identify their contribution to what goes wrong, in order to learn how to do better.

The opposite of a Learning Culture is demonstrated by a manager who feels justified in reacting with anger and resentment when his team members err.  We can call this an Attack Culture.

In such a negative organizational culture, animosity fills the air.  Everyone in the organization can feel the animosity and presumes it's directed at them.  So everyone lives under the feeling of threat.  No one feels secure in their position, safe to make mistakes; they become risk-avoiding, decision-making stalls and no one accepts accountability.  Everyone fears attack.  

Then, when any member of their team makes a mistake, everyone else directs animosity at that person in an unconscious attempt to free themselves from the pervading sense of threat.  They feel a false and superficial sense of security momentarily as long as they direct their attack at another.  

No one wants to work in such a hostile environment.  Ironically, though it is fear that they can't stand living and working in, they only stay because they are even more afraid of leaving, because the organization culture has trained them to be so afraid of risk.

The antidote for this toxic culture of fear is to create a Learning Culture in the organization.  In a Learning Culture, mistakes are not only expected, but celebrated.  They are viewed as opportunities for learning and improvement.  They are therefore valued as causes of improvement.

In such a culture, when a manager feels disappointed by an employee's performance, the manager does not feel threatened.  She identifies what she would have wanted done.  She then explains that to the employee.  

The manager then helps the employee understand what she wants done about the present situation going forward.  This form of constructive back - more appropriately called "feed-forward" - coaches the employee in what to do when encountering similar situations in the future.  

Instead of feeling threatened by an employee's disappointing performance, the LEARNING manager accepts accountability by admitting to herself that the employee might have done better if the manager had better prepared him. 

In a Learning Organizational Culture the middle-manager does not fear upper management or leadership.  He knows that the Learning Leader EXPECTS mistakes to be made and welcomes them as gateways to continual improvement.   

The Learning Manager learns from his employees' mistakes what he needs to do differently to produce higher functioning employees.

Thus, via the Learning Culture, an organization constantly evolves.  The Learning Culture is evolutionary in nature. 

In the dysfunctional culture of threat, blame and attack conditions DEVOLVE into harsher conflict, costlier confusion and worsening chaos.  

Looking at what WOULD HAVE been the right thing to do, and then looking for the right thing to do about things NOW, characterizes a Learning Culture response to errors and leads to higher and higher levels of individual and team performance.  

Using every mishap as an opportunity for leadership education, team education and individual employee education, instead of an opportunity to vent blame, attack and criticism, creates a Learning Culture that INEVITABLY generates higher and higher levels of individual, team and organizational success.

*(Inspired by the work of CEO Thought-Leader, Bill Schwarz)

Bring a Learning Culture to YOUR organization.  

Call 404-297-4043 or email for more information about motivational team building, leadership development and positive Organizational Culture inspirational keynotes. 

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