What they are and how to build them
Business magazine after business magazine has named GE Chairman
Jack Welsh as the world's "manager of the century".
General Electric was founded more than a century ago by America's
greatest inventor, Thomas Edison. Welsh is credited with reinventing
it four times in the past 19 years. Asked whether GE will look the
same in 20 to 30 years' time as it does today, Welsh replies:
"I doubt it. I hope it will be the greatest learning
institution in the world."
And GE is a typical high-profile leader of widespread moves to
turn all effective organizations into learning organizations.
The world's top-selling book in 1999, The Learning
Revolution, by Gordon Dryden and Dr. Jeannette Vos, considers
the trend so important, they have devoted an entire chapter to Tomorrow's
business world, subtitled Big growth opportunities for 'the
They forecast a growing marriage between education and business,
and provide models from five related areas:
The book cites many examples of each concept in action. One of
its favorite models is the development of Silicon Valley around
- Electronic, interactive, multimedia software presents almost
unlimited potential for learning and education.
- Accelerated learning skills, in particular, provide
virtually-untapped business opportunities.
- Successful manufacturing and retailing companies can prosper
even more by selling services: by providing the training
necessary for customers to use their products much more
- Every successful company has to become a continuous learning
organization, and every individual needs to continue to relearn
- Schools and colleges can follow university research
departments in using their expertise to form strategic alliances
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