by Mark Miller - Business Unit Director, Learning Solutions.

What's it got to do with L&D?

"For an organisation to survive, its rate of learning must be at least equal to the rate of change in its external environment" - Revan’s law.

The need to be able to react to external factors, that impact upon the operations of an organisation, is a fundamental quality of a successful enterprise.  

In more recent times, an awareness and understanding of those impacts associated with sustainability; social change, economic turbulence, regulatory pressure and general market volatility has needed to improve as these factors have emerged as major sources of risk to success.

The realisation that years of brand building can be undone by factors outside an organisations direct control has been a spectre in certain industries for years. However, the net has widened, and far more organisations are finding their operations subject to uncertainty on a scale that may be damaging and they are not prepared for.


Planning for uncertainty, across such a wide range, has tended not to be a natural business skillset for a generation of managers. The organisational ability to cope with these threats and vulnerabilities can be patchy or poorly focused. The discipline, required of an organisation, to prepare proactively for this evolving business environment has to be acquired. This level of change cannot practically be applied without looking at the underpinning that Organisational Learning and Development provides. Without this as a key tool the organisation is left with policy as a paper tiger.

Organisational resilience

To be clear, this is about major risks and an organisation’s ability to adapt and survive the impacts of these risks. It is about the resilience of an organisation forced to bend and prosper with external pressures, but not break. The precepts of risk management are a starting point - but the scaling up of mitigation is about capability and behaviour change across the soft system elements of any organisation. That is to say - it is about the people.

Understanding and deploying the mix of capability, competency, proficiency and sustainable performance, with enough clarity to act, is where Learning and Development comes into its own for organisations looking to the future.

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