Reply to all 6 parts with 150 words a piece

Part 1

The term learning organization is quite interesting. According to Edmondson,Garvin, and Gino(2008), a learning organization is “an organization made up of employees skilled at creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge” (p. 109). Two of these three authors were in the video interview in this week’s class materials talking about their article on this very subject. The authors go on to list the three building blocks of a learning organization: a supportive learning environment, concrete learning processes and practices and leadership behavior that reinforces learning (Edmondson, Garvin, & Gino, 2008). The leadership component of a learning organization is a key part of the puzzle. However, these new leadership behaviors as a standalone are not enough to build a learning organization. The behaviors need to become part of the organizational culture.

The leaders in a learning organization have some additional responsibilities added to their job description when they want to foster a true learning environment in the organization. Those responsibilities include becoming leaders who ask questions, listen to others and actively promote dialogue with and between employees. Edmondson, Garvin, and Gino (2008) state that “When leaders demonstrate a willingness to entertain alternative points of view, employees feel emboldened to offer new ideas” (p. 115). Of course, change like this can take some time as the employees need to trust that the leadership team actually wants to see these new behaviors over the long-term and that questioning and thinking laterally are considered desirable traits in the workforce versus just the buzzword trend of the week.

Just like on one of my IT projects, the leader sets the tone and models the desired behaviors for the learning organization. On my projects, the leader is the project manager and that is usually me. I see projects and project knowledge management as a subset of a learning organization with a valuable role in capturing, organizing and allowing access to previous project knowledge in a quest to do things better the next time.

According to Wilhelm (2017), in a learning organization, “the value of continuous learning is espoused, driven and modeled by the CEO and senior management” (para. 2). In his article, Wilhelm (2017) provides numerous examples of organizations, such as Apple, Johnson and Johnson, and Microsoft, described as innovative learning organizations that think ahead and often think out of the box to leapfrog the competition. Wilhelm also lists organizations that dropped the ball in the learning organization game with negative business performance impacts, such as Amtrak.

Part 2

Learning Organization and Role of the leader

A learning organization is a term that describes the organization which promotes the learning of its employees and transforms itself in business management. It develops as a result of the pressures being faced by the organization these days to enable them to remain competitive in the business environment. The learning organization as a group of individual or group that work together collectively to enhance strength to creates outcomes desired or dreamt of the organization (O’Keeffe, 2002).

The initiated work and research of Peter Senge and colleagues that encourages the interconnected way of thinking and employee’s commitment as the employees work harder for the organization to achieve the desired goal. This concept increasingly becomes relevant in daily activities reference to the increasing complexity and uncertainty of the organizational environment in which organizations leaning may be the only sustainable source of competitive advantage. Burns referred to leadership as a reciprocal process in which individuals’ motives and values in a context of competition and conflict that encourage individual to realize desired goals held by leaders and followers independently and mutually in the organization (Burkett, 2017).

The leader’s influenced the group’s commitment and compliance with the task, maintenance, identification, and culture to achieve the desired objectives of the organization. The leader plays a vital role in the individual or group performance and the achievement of desired goals as the success or failure of the group and the organization laid on the qualities of the leader. The personal and social competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skill helped to understand individual ability to creates and maintain relationships for a productive learning environment for members and the organization (Easterby-Smith, Crossan, & Nicolini, 2000).

The concept of learning organization recognized roles for leaders in learning organization as seen in leaders of the traditional organization where the leaders are responsible for building an organization that expands strength to understand complexity, vision and improve shared mental models for learning in the organization. There are five major features to identify a learning organization which includes system thinking (collaborative learning culture), personal mastery (lifelong learning mindset), mental models (room for innovation), building shared vision (forward-thinking) and team learning (knowledge sharing) (Herrera, 2007).

The collaborative learning cultures with a notion to treat the organization as a complex system consists of smaller systems as a mechanism to understand the entire system to identify the complexity of the organization and with long term concentration (Rijal, 2009).

Lifelong learning mindset which described a process the individual took to enhance vision and the energy to concentrate on being consistent with learning in the organization.

Room for innovation a model of generalizations, deep assumptions or pictures and images that influence how individuals understand the organization and action involve as to allow for new ideas and changes related to recognized and challenges in the organization (Satyendra, 2014).

Building shared vision as the leader hope to pass on the picture of the future in which shared vision forms a powerful motivator to the subordinates in the organization. The leader engaged in dialogue, commitment, and enthusiasm instead to command the assistant to take to task in the organization (Wang, & Ahmed, 2003).

Team learning or knowledge sharing for the entire organization come together as a team to achieve common goals by collaboration and build a shared vision of the organization.

Learning organization promotes and rewards collective learning that benefits to maintain innovation and competitive, as a better place to respond to pressures, knowledge to link resources to individual needs, improve quality of outputs and corporate image and increase the pace of change in the organization (Burkett, 2017).

The role of the leader in the learning organization

Leader as the designer that creates a common vision with shared values and purpose, determine the policies, strategies, and structures to transform new ideas into a business decision, create active learning to allow continuous improvement of the policies, procedures, and structures of the organization (Wang, & Ahmed, 2003).

Leader as a teacher coaches’ tasks with mental models to understand the concepts of reality and restructure views that see beyond the superficial conditions and events of underlying causes of the issues.

Leader as steward emphasizes the attitudes of the leader as being a vital part of a more significant thing who believe not to lead but build a more exceptional organization and reshape the business operation of the organization (Sharma, 2017).

Inspire a shared vision that would sustain growth and competitive advantage over others and encourage individual employees to share the view of the organization. Motivate and influence the team members and individuals or group to promote the image of the organization through a commitment to achieve the desired goals. Innovation would improve the organization in a challenging environment, creativity, new ideas, and lead over competitors. Celebrate the team’s achievement to motivates the individual group to perform more in their task and leader to explore different areas to perform better every day in the organization (Hester, 2013).

The leader should set examples for the team, group, and individual to see and follow to bring the desired goals to fulfillment. The leader should be able to communicate verbally and non-verbally to the team and individual to express thought and feeling as well as be a good listener. They should be able to forecast the future and attempt to take the necessary or bond step to ensure the stability and consistency that would move the organization and the subordinate forward to achieve the desired goals in the organization (Sharma, 2017).

Part 3

Okay, I have to smile. As I listened to the top management skills from a bevy of experts, I found myself wondering about the expert selection process. Did the folks making this video choose their management thought leaders for the video based upon who answered the question with a different answer than the other experts? Ii would really be interesting to know if there were identical answers from experts that were not recorded here! Many of these management skills translate well to the leadership skills column in everyone’s personal scorecard, too.

I had to think for a while before selecting the management skill and the expert that ranked as #1 for me. I think it is a tie for me between Wiesenfeld and the idea of being accountable and explaining the “why” behind your directions to others and Wittenberg (the Google guy!) focusing on curiosity and the idea that you really need to be curious and recognize that you don’t know everything about everything. To me, there are the top two project management choices that are more aligned with the need to influence and motivate others when you have no direct authority over them as employees yet need to get the project work done and done well. A close third is Langer and being mindful since you really can’t waste time using yesterday’s solutions to solve tomorrow’s problems.

If I had to choose one expert and one skill for my own improvement, it would not be someone that I have listed as one of my top two choices. Wiesenfeld and Wittenberg resonate with me because I already think about these skills and use them quite a bit as a project manager. There is always room for improvement in the areas you do okay with. There are always new tools and techniques to be acquired and applied, too.

I am going to head towards the other end of the spectrum and select the expert and a skill where I see much room for improvement, at least for me. That takes me to Zelleke and the skill of being devoted to the interest of your followers when you are leading them. Perhaps this is part of being a project manager, but there is only so much time and so much bandwidth to work with in a fast-paced project environment. While I recognize the interests of my team and my stakeholders, I am only interested in them as far as they fit within the scope of the project effort. Anything outside of the scope is outside of my scope as well since I am time-constrained and focused on meeting the project objective and delivering the defined project outcome within the constraints of scope, time, cost and business value. To develop this skill soon requires me to spend a bit more time looking at my team members as a whole person versus just a project resource for a relatively short period of time. Perhaps this more global view of my team members, one by one, will provide me with more opportunities to motivate them and get them to have more skin in the game as we work together to get our project completed.

Part 4

The Video Titled, The Crucial Skill for Tomorrow’s Leader

The extract from the video, the crucial skill for tomorrow’s leaders I watched from Harvard Business Publishing that presented eight leadership experts who share their thought and perspectives into the most vital skills for leaders of tomorrow. I am going to run through what individual contributed or presented on the video and from there pick the one that stands out to me.

Dr. Angel Cabrera said the most important thing about a leader was the trust of followers, and if there are no followers, you are not a leader. The followers took faith to trust the judgment of the leader; leader only have trust that is hard to build and easy to lose but communicating new idea and tools can be good or bad. In summary, said leader should have communication tools to build trust and conserve in order not to lose the faith of followers (HBR video, 2010).

Bill George believed that leadership was about skills but the character of the leader and the person within form the most important thing about a leader to find an authentic voice and authentic self that are genuine. The explanation of one’s life story and purpose and how to lead formed the based question if you don’t know where you’re going, why would you want to follow? He pointed out that all leader needs to have a sense of purpose of why they are leading or a leader (Beacon Review 2010).

Daisy Wademan Dowling said that leader could not be effective unless possessed the empathy and relentless ability to build capacity around them. Leaders must understand where they are coming from and with connection instead would not be an effective leader without understanding the followers, motivation, and should be a teacher to teach followers instead of command (Beacon Review 2010).

Andy Zelleke believed that leaders need devotion to the interest of followers such as community, society, nation, and organization that are the timeless aspect of leadership.

Batia Mishan Wiesenfeld thought that the most critical aspect of leader was giving direction to followers get into why and habit of explaining why, and the act of telling why asking followers to do something, why you are doing something yourself force one to identify the underlying values of the behavior or request. He pointed out that the explanation allows individual to ensure conveying and communicating those to followers that creates a dynamic of accountability of the reason of asking followers to do something came in compliance with the practices (HBR video, 2010).

Evan Wittenberg pointed out that the essential skills of the leader of the future or behaviors were curiosity because the world is complicated as leaders walk across more boundaries. He said that the only way for leaders is effective was to understand that one doesn’t know everything, but be curious, and inquisitive about different environments and no assumptions (Beacon Review 2010).

Dr. Allen Langers believed that the most critical aspects of the leader were to be more mindful a simple process to notice new ideas and that when new ideas seen put one in the present that allowed to take advantage and opportunities to avoid the dangers that arise. The outcomes of mindful leaders were no longer have followers applying yesterday’s solution to today’s solutions (HBR video, 2010).

Scott Snook pointed out that the most crucial skill that a future leader should possess was a clear sense of calling or purpose and leaders who are technically competent or wonderfully skilled are not sure of the why, that is realized in students, executives, and elementary schools. He said the clarity of purpose was on the base, bedrock, and why am I doing what I’ m doing that the leaders of the future need (Beacon Review 2010).

The outstanding aspect that I would like to stand for is that of Dr. Angel Cabrera, President, Thunderbird School of Management, pointed out that leader needs the trust of the followers and followers should trust their leaders. The followers took the heart to trust the judgment of the leaders and communicate new ideas can create an environment that could expose the followers to either trust or mistrust. Since leaders only possessed the confidence that is hard to build and easy to lose, then the leader has to behave in a manner that the follower would trust the judgment. The follower should be able to forgo their understanding and embrace the leader’s decision if the trust is there (HBR video, 2010).

Therefore, the leader should endeavor fashion out methods through to build, maintain, and improve existing communication of trust to the followers to the stability of the organization. The leader should have communication tools to develop and conserve trust in order not to lose the faith of followers (HBR video, 2010).

To develop this crucial management skill in my personal and professional managerial roles in future I would build a solid trust within and among my followers and I would show and be an excellent example that my followers could follow, make a positively related judgment that follower could trust and agreed with at all times. I would concentrate on improving my technical competence and incredible skill to prove my followers’ sense of calling or purpose of being the leader. I would show my curiosity as if I don’t know anything but to learn from the follower too and curious about different things, and I would no assume as the only way that I could be an effective leader to my followers ( Freifeld, & Desmidt, 2013).

I would be more mindful to notice new ideas that could allow to take advantage and opportunities and to avoid the dangers that may potentially arise. The outcomes of my conscious leadership would not allow followers to apply yesterday’s solution to today’s problems. I would create devotion to the interest of my followers and giving direction to followers that would convey and communicate the dynamic of accountability of followers to do something (Robins, & Judge, 2017).

I would build empathy and relentless strength around my followers as well as motivates and teaches my followers as an effective leader instead of force or command.

Part 5

I like your breakdown and explanation of individuals, groups and organizations. Sure seems like managing and leading changes across each of the levels to some degree. As an independent consultant, I am pretty much an organization of one person. I think that is true even when I am working at a client site for a short time on a specific project or task. After almost 20 years on my own, I have come to recognize that the word “independent” in the generic job title is right on target. When I see the word ‘group’, I almost always substitute in the word ‘team’. Looking at the world from the project manager’s perspective has its strengths and weaknesses! In my corporate life, I was the regional director of a 14 state consulting group providng IT systems consulting to clients across many industries. Having a group meant that I had the strategic point of view of where my district was in the food chain and the other folks in my slice of the organization actually did the work. I missed the work aspect of things but I learned a lot in this particular job. This was my next to last and most senior level corporate role before I punched out into consulting land.

Part 6

In this course, I have learned that individuals and groups are all branches of the same organizational tree. The organizational tree may be a very large and ancient oak tree with many branches, or the tree may be a new sapling just beginning to grow. Individuals and groups of individuals exist as part of that tree, with the individuals being the leaves of the tree and the way the leaves are organized on the branches illustrating the groups or teams of individual organized in a way designed to get something specific done. The behaviors and activities of the individuals and the groups take place within the context of the organization much as the branches and leaves exist as part of their tree.

The goal of the organization is to organize and use the individuals and groups effectively to achieve their strategic mission, vision and values. The goals of the groups are more tactical in nature, targeting defining and then doing specific business initiatives or projects that help to meet organizational goals. Groups may also have operational goals as they perform tasks day-to-day that “keep the lights on” in their organization, so to speak. The individuals populate those groups and have a twofold view: the group or team’s goals and their own individual goals relative to skills, rewards and other aspects of the workplace.

Managers play a key role in ensuring organizational effectiveness as they manage the groups of individuals organized in functional ways to get work done. As managers in any organization, excellence is something we should strive for. Of course, being human means that it is a constant struggle to do better, to learn more, to acquire more skills and to try to reach our own definition of excellence. New knowledge can help us become better managers over time if we pay attention and try new things on for size.

My current organizational role is an odd one since I am a consulting company of one person. I call myself a “renegade hired gun” project manager who goes to client sites for a short time to help them do things better. This organizational worldview is slowly changing as I cut back on travel time and stay at home working at my kitchen table as much as possible. This change in focus is making me into a teacher and an enabler versus a project “doer”. The term “individual contributor” describes me as I use my expert knowledge and expert power to teach others, do research for my doctoral degree and provide a more methodology and best practices form of consulting to my clients. I am one of many leaves on the organizational tree, although I move from tree to tree as I go from client organization to client organization.

When I was younger, I thought that the best measure of managerial productivity was getting everything done as quickly as possible. Over the years, I discovered that this assumption was a mistake. It can be easy to strive for speed and sacrifice the quality of what is being done. I think management works this way as well. Too quick and you can miss something; too slow and you can be viewed as ineffective. Striking a balance in all the areas seems like the correct place to start from in many organizations and in many situations.

There are many ways to use my learning in this course. One key point is that new information allows me to view the organization, its managers and its leaders in a more thorough fashion. This may change the way I deal with my clients and allow me to be more effective in my communications and consulting work. The topics in this course link to my doctoral research on project managers, emerging technology, and project knowledge management and can be used there as well.