Learning and Organizational Development – Some Signs Your Current Strategy Isn’t Working

The success or failure of learning and organizational development depends on a number of factors, and this is not always the mark of competence in your leadership. When it fails, it’s easy to assume that either you have failed as a leader, or that your team has failed you, and this quite simply isn’t usually the case. When it comes to an organization, there’s a bit of a paradox inherent to the structure.

Learning and Organizational Development – Some Signs Your Current Strategy Isn’t Working

An organization must work as a single entity, one collective, focused mind with clear, unified goals and strategies for obtaining them. It must be a super organism that can work with a single mindedness that rivals that of a swarming hive, with a focus that cannot waver in the face of diversity. At the same time, an organization is made of discreet entities, people. Individual people, no matter how much they agree on philosophies and goals, are not identical, and cannot be one hundred percent conformist in their ways, even if they deeply desire to be so. As a result, there is a conflict of the need for unity and the impossibility of avoiding some individuality.

Learning and Organizational Development

As a leader, this is a mess for you to work with, especially when it comes to learning and organizational development. So, chances are it’s not a failure on anyone’s part so much as just a failure of a current strategy, and that means it’s time to try a new one, rather than conduct self-loathing or to play the blame game.

The Signs

One of the first signs that your current strategy may not be working is an increasing amount of arguments, be they hostile or civil, among individuals within team units undergoing development. These arguments may be over simple things like what should be addressed first, or how important something is or is not. This is a failure of goals and priorities somewhere along the line, and it can simply happen sometimes. This is easily addressed once all involved are permitted to speak, and the strategy is reviewed with this in mind.

Another issue is increasing competition among teams to complete a goal before others. While some healthy competition is not necessarily a bad thing, the goal behind organizational learning and development is for parallelism and even-pacing across the board to be accomplished, unlike what older models once permitted.  If competition is becoming too fierce, perhaps if you’re trying gamification especially, it may be best to rethink it, or to rethink the rules of the “game” presented, so that it’s a bit less of a competitive environment.

Lastly, the most obvious is goals just not being met either by individuals or by teams in an orderly amount of time. This is most likely the result of relevance of information not being spread properly, and the Venn diagrams for overlap being way off. This can happen, as predicting this sort of thing isn’t an exact science, at least for now. If this happens, review where what information is going, and where the overlap of relevance is, because chances are it’s a good bit off, and this is easily remedied.


Learning and organizational development is indeed a science, but alas it is not an exact one for now, so keep an eye out for early warnings that a strategy isn’t working – don’t blame yourself, simply learn from it.


Discover how to start building a new organizational development strategy here.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
Jason Silberman on sabtwitterJason Silberman on sabgoogleJason Silberman on sabfacebook