Thursday, December 01, 2005

Strategic Learning

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the important link between strategic planning and organizational learning. An article that sheds light on the connection is Strategic Learning: A Leadership Process for Creating and Implementing Breakthrough Strategies by William G. Petersen. There is a book by the same title. After twenty years as a CEO of multinational businesses, Dr. Pietersen is now a Professor of the Practice of Management at the Columbia Business School in New York. He identifies the need to change as the central challenge facing leaders today. He goes onto say that three approaches have held out the greatest promise of enhancing an organization’s ability to adapt to change: the concept of the learning organization, the “resurgence” of strategic planning and complexity theory. He observes that none of these work on their own. He then identifies five “killer” competencies that organizations must master in order to become an “adaptive enterprise”: Insight, focus, alignment, execution, and renewal. The Strategic Learning model is then presented as a practical leadership process for mobilizing these five competencies. The process has four linked action steps: learn, focus, align and executive which are described in more detail in the article showing the potential for developing “breakthrough strategies”.

At the end of the article, the same four step process is described in terms of the individual learning and leadership development that can occur. The quality of emotional intelligence is also integrated into his model. Petersen’s synthesis of strategic planning, organizational and individual learning and leadership development offers insights that can help us build in new opportunities for learning in our strategic planning and thinking efforts. For a copy of the article, go to: