Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Create a culture of learning in Non-profits by Sneha Challa

ANDREW ID: snehac
Date:  4 th November 2015

OXFAM America

In non-profit organizations, leadership and management board form a key role in creating a culture of learning in the organization as  they set the tone of the organization. The board should take a lead-by-example model  where in they themselves embrace the habit of continuous learning. If I were the President of Oxfam America I would create weekly and monthly plans where in boards members and the staff learn together and learn from each other. This will help the board members gain new perspectives as to how we can grow as an organization together. This will help staff learn effective ways of working together to achieve a common goal and and also find new approaches to problems which they haven't thought of before.

In the absence of continuous learning, organizations keep repeating the same practices and mistakes. A human being would learn from other's mistakes as much as he/she would learn from his own. It is important to have opportunities for individual learning at  Oxfam America. Individual learning prepares employees and volunteers for the inevitable changes that will occur in the goals and work processes of the organization.  Training workshops, University learning, travel to conferences, leadership programs, mind management - through yoga and meditation form a key role in individual development and well-being of employees. Training workshops give them a big picture of the international development industry and learn through case studies and research papers etc.

Second approach that I would like to implement at Oxfam is organizational learning. Although individual learning is very helpful, it doesn't necessarily enhance organizational effectiveness. Through this teams would be continuously involved in evaluation and feedback of the programming at Oxfam. This involves having regular meetings to analyze methods,processes and delivery mechanism along with analyzing market research data , current trends and competitor approaches. This continuous learning and discovery process fosters innovation which can produce state of the art development programs and win new funding sources. This organizational learning process facilitates individuals' and team's ability to learn, grow and change from organizational experiences.

I would also bring in approaches that would help employees understand the value of sharing knowledge and learning from each other. I would like to bring in a new award/reward system where employees are awarded for significant contributions to the company wide knowledge bank or helping the organizational learning process.


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