Guide: How to Become a Learning Organization

The four steps to becoming a learning organization and iterating on the underlying machinery of a business.

Guide: How to Become a Learning Organization

How do you become a true learning organization?

I’ve pondered this recently and have been inspired by the way Ray Dalio, from Bridgewater, applies the scientific method to his work (see his book, Principles). Whether it’s for marketing, management, business development, or any work process, the approach looks something like this:

Step 1: Objectively take note of the phenomena (“Our team reported a greater sense of strategic clarify in the last team meeting.”)

Step 2: Seek out the underlying cause-and-effect relationships/patterns that drive the phenomena (“Surveying the last 10 team meetings we’ve had, meetings that followed the x,y,z structure were more strategically clarifying for the team than meetings that followed the a,b,c structure.”)

Step 3: Create a playbook of actions rooted in those cause-and-effect relationships (“For team meetings where the desired outcome is strategic clarity, follow the x,y,z structure.”)

Step 4: Apply the playbook to future scenarios, and repeat steps 1-3 (“After applying the x,y,z structure to team meetings, the most critical elements are x and y, but not z.”)

I’m starting to apply this approach to a few parts of my work. I’m curious if I can accelerate my rate of learning and produce successful outcomes more often and in a more repeatable way. Being able to understand and then influence the underlying “machinery” that drives outcomes isn’t rocket science. It’s simpler: pay attention and consider everything as part of a larger case-study.