Growth Mindset
Organization Transformation

Growth mindset as a vehicle to developing a Learning Organization

Lisa Danels
published on July 28, 2020

Developing new organizational capabilities is critical to becoming an agile organization that adapts quickly to changing conditions.  Learning is essential to drive business strategy and ensure companies stay competitive. It goes beyond results when employees feel their companies are investing in them they feel more valued and it improves their employees’ experiences. The result is more committed and engaged employees.

Becoming a true learning organization doesn’t happen overnight.  It happens in stages and can even be described as a journey on the path to maturity.

The Four Levels Of Learning Organization Maturity

Bersin Research, an independent HR-focused analyst group at Deloitte, has done extensive research on high-impact learning organizations. Bersin has extracted a maturity model that serves as a guide for all organizations looking to evolve to the next level of organizational learning.

According to Bersin’s High-Impact Learning Organization Maturity Model, businesses can fall into one of four distinct levels as a learning organization:

  • Level 1: Episodic/Programmatic
  • Level 2: Responsive/Contextualized
  • Level 3: Continuous/Empowering
  • Level 4: Anticipatory/Flow

Bersin’s recent research revealed that  94% of companies fall into one of the first three levels, and only 6% of organizations that have achieved full maturity at level four. With this new Learning Organization Maturity Model, corporate leaders can arm themselves with a framework that allows them to assess their current progress and evolve to the next level of organizational learning.


Bersin Learning Organization Maturity Model

Source: Bersin – Top Findings From High-Impact Learning Organization Research

Defining The Maturity Levels

Organizations working to build a seamless culture of learning typically start at Level 1 and reach full maturity at Level 4. As a result, for older, less agile organizations, maturity may not be an upward, linear path — some organizations will jump up and down between levels for a multitude of reasons. It’s also important to keep in mind that all parts of the organization may not move at the same speed or take the same path towards maturity.

While learning organization maturity levels are not absolute, they do give leaders a strong sense of where their companies are and what they need to do to move forward. Bersin defines the four levels of maturity as follows:

Level 1: Episodic/Programmatic

Organizations at this level seek to simply make work more productive through incidental training that is often tactical or reactive.

Level 2: Responsive/Contextualized

At level two, companies are focused on training excellence, led by a centralized Learning and Development (L&D).  The L&D team is responsible for governance and instructional design.

Level 3: Continuous/Empowering

Organizations that mature to level three are characterized by their focus on organizational performance. As a result, they make talent development a core competency of management throughout the company and use key performance indicators.

Level 4: Anticipatory/Flow

At the highest level of maturity, a learning organization is characterized by business executives and employees throughout the organization aligned around continuous learning (both formal and informal). As a result, they are aided by the adoption of strategic tools for L&D and an agile corporate structure.

For a more detailed explanation of Bersin’s High-Impact Learning Organization Maturity Model and the four levels, download their full report here.

Leverage Growth Mindset as a way of Build a High-Impact Learning Organization

While organizational shifts towards becoming a learning organization they can’t ignore the neuroscience of the brain.  According to Gartner, only 17% of employees will readily change. Human beings look for predictability and in change that predictability flies out the window.  In order to get people more comfortable with change, we need to ensure they embody the eight key factors that make up a Growth Mindset.

How do I think

Which includes a person’s belief and approach to learning and growing and their willingness to learn from mistakes.

Learning Mindset- Have a passion, dedication, and belief that new skills and talents can be developed over time.

Mistakes See failure and making mistakes is part of the learning process to grow and improve performance.

What I do

Which includes a person’s ability to take on challenges, face obstacles, and put in the necessary effort to build your capability.

Challenges– Seek out challenges that push you beyond your comfort zone and enable you to learn and grow.

Obstacles– Is willing to confront difficulties, stay focused, and be creative in finding new innovative solutions to setbacks.

Effort- Use focus, energy, and discipline to attain mastery and achieve personal and professional goals.

Who I engage

Which includes a person’s willingness to engage others in their development including asking for help, allowing others to support them, and learning from the success of others.

Feedback – Seek and give feedback regularly and see constructive criticism as a way to grow and improve performance.

Success of Others– Is inspired by others and sees their success as a driving force to develop and take risks.

Allow Help & Support– Courageously asks for help in order to progress forward and avoid being stagnant.

In order for employees to grow a Growth Mindset and move along the continuum from Fixed to High Growth Mindset, they need to know where to focus.  Human Edge has developed a Growth Mindset Assessment tool that can help employees pinpoint where they need to focus.  As a result, this will enable employees to learn faster and go to the next level of performance. To learn more about our CORE™ Growth Mindset Assessment click here.

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