Marquardt (2002, p. 211) presented 16 steps necessary to build a learning organization. A closer look at our organization revealed that there is still so much to learn and change. Using Marquardt’s metaphor, our organization is still in the caterpillar stage, “earthbound” and “nonlearning” (p. 235). The major challenge keeping our company in this status can be linked to only two things, attitude of employees and leadership style. Unfortunately, the 16 steps proposed by Marquardt boil down to these two things.
Employees have negative view about change. They are not willing to leave their comfort zones, take risks or commit to transforming the company. They lack the motivation to educate, improve and develop themselves professionally. The old, tested way of doing things remains the norm. However, the more disturbing fact is the lack of effort from the leaders. Based on Marquardt’s discussion, the main effort for change should come from the top, from the leaders.
Presently, the leadership style in the company does not cater to the needs of a learning organization. The organizational culture does not empower the empoyees to express their creativity or explore their potentials. In short, our organization is 16 steps away from transformation. Based on the guidelines, to effect change, the leaders need to recognize their role as the agents of change. According to Marquardt’s book, “The first step is for leadership to commit themselves to transforming the company into a learning organization” (p. 210).
Before that could happen, leaders should first of all need to recognize the need to transform our caterpillar ways to that of a butterfly. This step corresponds to the creation of an organizational vision. The company needs a more dynamic, interesting, inspiring vision to keep both leaders and employees stimulated into transforming and improving the company as well as creating an environment for continious learning.