It was in my final year in primary school and you could describe my academic journey before that as almost invisible even though I had obtained 3rd position in one of the classes before then. My invisibility was so legendary that I didn’t make it to school leadership position other than being a class perfect.
However, my primary six was the year where I shot into limelight for my academic adventure.
It was a cold afternoon and my class teacher was treating the subject of Mathematics and suddenly, got stuck. Choosing to be vulnerable, she invited her fellow teachers to our classroom to brainstorm on the difficult mathematical exercises she was struggling with.
Whilst these esteemed adults combined strengths to unravel the mystery of the challenge, we seized the opportunity for a childish pleasure of gossips, tantrum, and aloofness from what the teachers were battling with.
In a fit of anger, our class teacher loudly and angrily requested that we all bow our heads against the table. This was a typical strategy for taming nosy children at the time. Not too long after we complied, our teacher interrupted our obedience with a different instruction. This time, she requested that we all attempt the challenge.
A few minutes later, I had come up with an insight that helped to solve the problem.
This was how my fame began to spread across the school. This was also the beginning of a learning adventure for me. I loved and enjoyed the fact that I could solve the challenge with my curiosity, enjoyed the attendant fame, earned respect amongst peers and school Authorities, and relished other social benefits associated with my new status.
To reinforce the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin which says “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” I have since accomplished a few feats professionally leveraging my investment in self-development.
At an individual level, learning has to be continuous, self-driven, and strategic. This means you never stop learning regardless of your sector or last achievement. The rate of change in the internal environment (your mind) must equal or be greater than the rate of change in the external environment for you to remain relevant. To be self-driven means that regardless of your organization’s commitment to employee development, you must have a personal plan to develop yourself because your work is a fraction of your life’s endeavors. Your dream requires a prize and that prize is self-development. It must be strategic implies that there has to be a logic to your investment in learning. Learning must be helping you to advance your progress towards specific predestination. You must always have an end in mind.
At an organizational level, investment in employee development should not be seen as an expense but an investment whose returns span more than the immediate.
According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. This is in addition to the fact that these companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training.
The definition of a learning organization is not restricted to a business that prioritizes the training of its workforce.
Peter Senge (1990: 3), named the Strategist of the Century’ by the Journal of Business Strategy, defined Learning Organizations as Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.
I will like to expand that thought by submitting that a Learning Organisation encourages experimentation, learns from failure, aware of success recipe, free from hierarchical barriers, celebrates progress instead of perfection and have multiple approaches to learning.
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