The Learning Organisation

Feb 1, 2019 | AgileAus, Guest Blogs

Today’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Chris Chan who is the Tribe & Adaptive Leadership Coach, ANZ

It’s that time of year when we are submitting to AgileAus and reviewing of Expressions Of Interest (EOI) has begun.

Each year I look forward to being part of the community that helps bring the Agile Australia Conference to life. This year I am thrilled to once again be a conference Lead for The Learning Organisation stream, along with my friends Helen MacQueen and Sue Visic.

In general terms, learning has come to be synonymous with people “taking in information” (filling the bucket). I am excited about The Learning Organisation stream because this is the first time we are exploring ideas that transcend this view.  As a Tribe Coach at ANZ I am constantly seeking seeks ways to build a learning organisation that encourages everyone to adapt and improve.

In our stream we are looking for tales of amazing Learning Organisations.  Our stream is described here.  We are not just focused on seeing topics on applying the process of learning in our work (for example using Lean startup techniques, or applying hypothesis driven development), but also on how we can create a culture of learning.


I am passionate about exploring how we can facilitate the learning of people in organisations, how organisations can continuously transform themselves through learning and how we can create cultures where learning is part of the DNA. A Learning Organisation is skilled at modifying its behaviour and form to reflect new knowledge and exploit new insights.  It is through learning we re-create ourselves (changing the form of the bucket).

A culture of learning is a culture that learns from its mistakes, is curious and asks questions. It asks questions about what it does today and also looks at other industries and other practices to try and learn and continually innovate and by trying new things. It is a culture that rewards people who try new things.

Creating a learning organisation is no easy feat as it changes how people work, how they think and interact; the changes are not only in the structure of the organisation but in the people as well. I feel that most organisation’s culture are set up to optimise the existing business model.  This is not to say that organisations never learn, but when you look at the culture and how works gets done, the core DNA is about the known and predictable, efficiency, execution, and ROI. A learning organisation is setup for collective learning where people are helping others to learn and learning comes first, and delivery comes second.  


 I am curious to hear from people who are working in a learning organisation.

  • How do you create the space for people to learn in your organisation?  
  • How are you building a learning mindset into your organisation’s DNA?  
  • How are mistakes viewed and rewarded?  
  • How do you use data to help direct your organisation’s learning ability? What do you measure, and why?

If you have a story or some experience about creating a learning organisation, or you feel you have some insights into this that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you –  I would encourage you to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).  If you know of someone who would be great speaker, please give them a nudge to submit an EOI too.

Chris Chan

Chris Chan

Tribal and Adaptive Leadership Coach, ANZ

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