Learning organizations continually learn and adapt to environment in a way that keeps them market relevant and producing meaningful products. Peter Senge, a systems scientist at MIT, came up with the concept that learning organizations are successfully adapting to their environment but have special characteristics that make them different than other organizations.
Systems Thinking: The ability to see objects and activities as bounded and part of something bigger.
Personal Mastery: The desire of employees to become masters of their work.
Mental Models: The desire to change current ways of thinking and create new models.
Shared Vision: Getting employees to perceive the same shared visions.
Team Learning: Helping team members to learn from each other and reinforce each other.
Such organizations have an open system that takes in new information, integrates into their knowledge and skill base, and adapt. Once they have moved through the stages of adaptation they move onto new learning. The key difference is that they are never complacent and continue to adapt and develop.
This requires the right type of leadership that has the capability to allow certain levels of freedom to experiment on ideas. The mindset of leadership should be focused on guiding people to greater performance rather then controlling actual occupations and outcomes. The leaders will need to be view their position more as an informed mentor that creates masterpieces;not products.