Fall 2000


The second of three forums on learning sponsored by Fast Company and Saba took place in San Francisco April 27, 2000. Lively discussions couched in the context of Learning and Culture in the New Economy provided LiNE Zine with thought-provoking statements we thought you'd enjoy.

If you're interested in future Fast Company/Saba events, send an email to info@linezine.com and mention this article.


In the San Francisco Bay Area “e” has replaced “I” as the vowel of choice, so it was delightful to hear the following statements from some of Silicon Valley’s leading thinkers. Three core questions helped us explore the theme of learning and culture: What is culture? Why does organizational culture matter? What does culture have to do with learning? Here are some of the answers that emerged in during the Fast Company/Saba event. Let’s begin with the learning question.

What does culture have to do with learning?

“People are looking for an energized learning environment where they can grow, not just a “fun” place to work.”

“If you don’t fuse culture and learning your organization becomes like a fish tank where you are so concentrated on the fish you don’t realize, until it is too late, the dirty water has killed the fish.”

“Children from dysfunctional families in good neighborhoods and good schools do well. Children from strong families in dysfunctional neighborhoods and dysfunctional schools do not do well. How’s your organizational school and neighborhood? ”

“Learning is an 80/20 split. 20% is learning, and 80% is practicing what you learn with a personal coach in your organization."

“The formation of a culture is a natural thing. You can’t drive a natural system, but you can disturb one. Leaders of chaos can mindfully establish discomfort, making sure no one gets bored and everyone learns.”

“A culture of shared leadership, where everyone has an equal stake in the company and teams are self-directed and measured by outcomes, builds a strong and positive culture—but it also requires that everyone has the competency to work and learn every day.”

“Story telling is a big part of organizational learning and culture.”

“The new economy mixes a workforce of baby boomers who often grew up with a traditional business sense and Gen-Xers who are saying the heck with traditional business. Finding ways to work in that organizational-mix requires continuous learning.”

"Documenting what works and what doesn't, and then sharing that information, builds a culture where people learn from each other."

 “It is not just fast company; it’s best company and culture and learning that help you get where you’re going.”

 “Culture has to be about people. People are the most important thing. When you feel important, respected, cared about, you are open to learning.”

What is culture?

“Culture is the rituals, the interpretations, the way in which we act around events.”

“Culture is who the organization is.”

“How everyone interacts and reacts to the good, the bad and the truly ugly defines culture.”

“Organizations are patterns of conversations, interactions and relationships—that is what determines culture.”

“Culture is the overriding context in which we work.”

Why does organizational culture matter?

“Good culture can be a sustainable competitive advantage to gaining and retaining talent.”

"People came to our company because of our vision and a culture that let them apply value to that vision with their talent."

“Customers are attracted to organizations that have magnetic and vibrant cultures.”

“Stimulation through learning helps prevent burnout and boredom.”

“Organizational culture is a mirror of what people see as the core values of the organization.”

“Culture comes from community. A strong sense of community keeps people involved and productive.”

“How messages are embedded affects the culture of the organization. If the leaders always use war metaphors,the culture reflects the stress and survival tactics of war. You create a world in the moment with your language.”

Same thing in your Petrie dish?

-LiNE Zine




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