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Successful organizations are learning organizations

Successful organizations are pre-eminently organizations with a positive learning culture. Forming high performance teams and learning & development go hand in hand and reinforce each other. Trust is the common denominator. All the more reason to invest in L&D and trust.

Trust is not given naturally. Children develop trust in their relationship with their parents. That is called attachment and it works throughout your life in establishing relationships with others. It offers you a sense of security and safety as an adult.

Challenge for management

Trust in teams is also not given naturally. The challenge for management is to cultivate and safeguard that trust. That is not optional. Successful organizations are characterized by teams that can work well together in a culture of trust. This also appears to be a condition for becoming a learning organisation; Mutual trust facilitates a positive learning culture.

Of strategic importance

Good leadership therefore focuses on restoring, maintaining and strengthening trust; it is of strategic importance. That’s not easy. Conflicts, skewed power relations, status differences, lack of openness and negative group thinking actually cause mistrust and result in dysfunctional teams. So the question is how do you get the engine of confidence going?

Eight steps

Eight steps that should strengthen mutual trust within a team and contribute to a positive learning culture.

1. Invest in the informal system

It is important for a team to make time for informal contact so that people get to know each other better and mutual trust and mutual respect are given the opportunity to grow. Colleagues who have gotten to know each other better and have confidence in each other will be more inclined to ask work-related questions and offer tips, thus establishing a system of informal learning.

2. Provide a safe environment

Team members should feel that they are working in a safe environment that respects their differences and where people feel supported by colleagues and protected by their supervisor. This includes the right to make mistakes (and learn from them) and a culture in which colleagues help each other in performing their tasks. This also leads to people with more self-confidence wanting to take on new challenges and learn skills.

3. Promote open dialogue and clear communication

An open dialogue between team members and the willingness to communicate and share emotions are also important conditions for trust. Criticism is never personal, but always task-oriented and constructive, intended to make each other better.

4. Focus on a common goal

Effective teamwork is impossible without a jointly supported and articulated goal, which all team members are aware of and which is pursued by the team as a group. Based on that goal, clear L&D choices can then be made, also with regard to the onboarding of new team members.

5. Formulate and share the core values

High-performance teams have a highly articulated and shared vision and mission that reflect the core values โ€‹โ€‹of the organization and on the basis of which new members are recruited and socialized through various channels, including L&D.

6. Put the common interest first

In a strong team where cooperation is paramount, the team members know how to separate their own interests from the team interests and subordinate their own goals to those of the team. In such a setting, people are also more willing to share their (newly acquired) skills and to use them for their work.

7. Promote systemic alertness

A strong team is aware that it is an open system that operates as a node in different networks, with permanent exchange and influence between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. This alertness concerns both threats and opportunities, and the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, whether or not via a targeted package of L&D.

8. Encourage shared leadership

In a high-performance team there is a lot of room for individual initiative and individual responsibility, without people being judged harshly for mistakes. The development of personal leadership, among other things, also fits into this picture.

Teams or organizations designed in this way not only facilitate cooperation and engagement, but also a positive learning culture, in which people are prepared to take on new challenges and to use and share their acquired skills with others.

Success with #workingwithconfidence

Ad Hofstede

Soon you will find my white papers here

Here you will soon be able to download my white papers for free on learning & development, lifelong development, leadership, management and group processes.

Complex organizations

Many have responded positively to my new logo. The idea of โ€‹โ€‹a maze inspires it. For me, it symbolizes the complexity of organizations and the role of the consultant.

You often see it in vacancies, the candidate must have experience working in a complex organization. This means you know how to work through a maze of opposing interests and still achieve your goal despite institutional opposition.

Many, if not all, organizations are complex in nature. Complexity usually does not refer to a complicated corporate structure or labyrinthine housing. Rather, it has to do with how work processes and relationships are organized and managed and the issues and emotions associated with them. That quickly gives the feeling of a maze in which you can get lost.

After more than 25 years of working at Erasmus University, I can relate to that. No organization is as complex and labyrinthine as (this) a university, believe me. In addition to numerous hierarchical relationships, systemic relationships and contradictions (both internal and external) and leadership issues play a role.

I look at teams and organizations from a systemic perspective. They increasingly operate as nodes in networks, with permanent exchange and mutual influence between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. If you want to support teams and give them confidence, you have to make that complexity or that maze of connections transparent.

In addition, teams and management benefit from looking at the emotional level. It is this hidden part of the labyrinth that is often underestimated in organizations. Emotions and tensions can lead to dysfunctional or neglected teams, friction between management and employees, faltering policies, resistance to change or an exodus of staff.

As a consultant, you are also a guide, offering reflective space and providing insights with which those involved can master the labyrinth on their own and can again #workwithconfidence

Ad Hofstede