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Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Module 6


Module 6: Enhance the organization’s ability to change and compete by supporting organizational learning (part 1).

Organizations that cannot learn are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Gaining a competitive advantage is hard. Maintaining a competitive advantage is even harder. To survive and compete over time, organizations must be willing and able to learn and change. In fact, without learning, there can be no change. This is true for individuals, teams, and organizations of all types. And just like individuals and teams, when an organization bounces back from adversity, learning is how it adapts and grows. Resilient organizations are learning organizations. In learning organizations, leaders at all levels build and lead resilient teams.


This module consists of two “at home” assignments (6 hours) that must be completed prior to the facilitated discussion (1-3 hours). Completing the preparatory assignments is essential for engaged participation in the facilitated discussion.

Assignment 1. Learn the following key terms and ideas. Knowing these key terms and ideas is essential to understanding the concepts that support each leader task in this module. (0.5 hours)

Key Terms and Ideas


Assignment 2. Reflect on your unique leader/follower experience with each of the leader tasks and concepts below. Consider ALL the reflection questions, prepare notes, and be ready to discuss during the facilitated discussion. Read some or all of the recommended reading to prompt critical reflection on your leader/follower experience. (5.5 hours)

Note to Students and Instructors: The recommended reading for each leader task is updated routinely. Articles added in the last 30 days are marked (new). Instructors may assign additional reading or relevant videos at their discretion.

Leader Tasks and Concepts

1. Analyze organizational learning capacity.

Organizational learning is the process of continuously improving and innovating to gain and maintain competitive advantage. Learning organizations must be good at both continuous improvement and innovation.

Continuous improvement is making a product, service, or process better (knowledge exploitation). Innovation is creating a new product, service, or process (knowledge exploration).

Competitive advantage is anything that puts an organization in a favorable position as compared to competitors. The surest way for an organization to gain and maintain a competitive advantage is to learn and change faster than the competition.

Organizational change is the transition of an organization from its current state to some desired future state. For an organization to change, it must be willing and able to learn. Change is not possible without learning.

Recommended Reading:

Organizational Change is Never Easy – Some Tips to Help

5 Ways to Create More Positive Workplace Changes

Taking Process Improvement Further

Business Process Improvement: Identifying What Needs to be Fixed

Leadership and the Psychology of Culture Change

The Cultural Life Cycle of Organizations


2. Promote a shared vision.

Mission is what individuals, teams, and companies do day-to-day to accomplish goals and objectives. Vision describes what an organization wants to be in the future. A bold and aspirational vision will drive learning and change in an organization.

Promoting a shared vision helps to align the efforts of people and teams across the organization. Shared vision helps keep people and teams in the organization headed in the same direction.

Promoting a shared vision includes explaining the purpose or “why” behind the vision. Organizations are better at learning and change when people believe in the organization’s purpose and “buy into” the vision. The daily actions of leaders, especially senior leaders, must be consistent with the organization’s vision.

Organizations realize their visions by building a great culture and executing on sound strategy. Culture is the shared assumptions, values, and beliefs that govern how people behave across the organization.

Culture sets the conditions for strategy to be effective. Strategy is a roadmap of plans and policies for accomplishing the long-term goals and objectives of an organization.

The plans and policies developed to achieve long-term goals and objectives (strategy) are more likely to succeed when people in the organization collectively value learning and believe that change is possible (culture).

Recommended Reading:

Vision and Mission

Shared Vision: A Development Tool for Organizational Learning

4 Steps to Creating a Shared Vision that Will Energize Your Team

New CEO Study Describes “Culture” as Fundamental to Success

The Links Between Organizational Culture and Effectiveness

Establishing an Organizational Culture Through the Net


Facilitated discussion. Be prepared to discuss your experience with each of the leader tasks and concepts above. The facilitated discussion is the key to successful learning because it ensures you have a thorough understanding of applicable factual (what), conceptual (why), and procedural (how) knowledge relevant to each leader task.


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