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More Lessons From the CEO

  1. MAKE SURE THAT THE ENTIRE ORGANIZATION KNOWS OF YOUR COMMITMENT TO LEARNING. Meet with your key managers, and make sure they get the message. Also make sure that the message gets to the rest of the company (via speeches, emails, memos, etc.). Never miss an opportunity to get the word out: From this point forward, learning will be the rule, not the exception.

  2. BACK UP YOUR WORDS WITH ACTION. As discussed throughout the chapter, a proper learning infrastructure is a key prerequisite of a learning culture. In order to build the infrastructure, you'll need to make sure that the business is healthy, there is a minimum of bureaucracy, you have a top-tier team of managers and employees throughout the organization, and so on.

  3. REMOVE BARRIERS TO PRODUCTIVITY. Anything that comes between employees and getting the job done in an open organization should be removed. This means ridding the organization of red tape and bureaucracy at every level—a large task in itself, involving everything from restructuring to Work-Out-type meetings to establishing trust by sharing information.

  4. IF YOUR COMPANY DOES NOT HAVE AN ARTICULATED SET OF COMPANY VALUES, ESTABLISH A SMALL TASK FORCE TO CREATE ONE. Values can be key in guiding a company, but only if they are the right ones. Make sure that you get the right people working on this, under your leadership, and that the values they define are the principles that best represent the spirit of the company.

  5. START A "BEST PRACTICES" MOVEMENT. Best Practices is one of the hallmarks of a learning culture. Assign at least one key senior manager the job of finding the best companies to study and emulate. Let it be known that Best Practices will be an important part of the company culture.

  6. CONSIDER IMPLEMENTING COMPANYWIDE INITIATIVES. While not every company is able to launch programs like Six Sigma with the success enjoyed by GE, Welch proved that if executed properly, such initiatives can reduce costs, enhance productivity, and add value to an organization. The key is making sure that the initiatives you introduce are the right ones for your organization—and, of course, that they are executed with skill and precision.

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