Lessons on Organizational Learning from Dead Poets Society Todd Greer Academic Desk
“You can callme ‘OhCaptain, My Captain’.” Professor Keating’s words turn life at Welton Academy upside- down. Modus operandi is gone. Keating’s poetry class meets an uncomfortable, yet
norms to think strategically about development. Thus, organizations propagate the usual overlooking potential for long-term people development.
enlightening world of thinking freely. The Dead Poets Society presents an intriguing platform for rethinking how nonprofit leaders engage learning processes within their organizations. Organizations often restrict growth through in-the-box human learning and growth. Using Keating’s lectures and research from human resource development literature, we should ask, “What happens if nonprofits create open and safe spaces for team learning and growth that will encourage people to seek greater development in their areas of expertise?” The Professor Dead Poets Society shows us John Keating, returning to his alma mater as professor and status quo challenger. His liberating style, unorthodox delivery, and uncommon activities create a world where boys become men, and classrooms become places for thinking. Keating’s mantra Carpe Diem provides encouragement to explore intrigue, challenge, and struggle, and expels limited, reserved thinking and acting. Adapting Thoreau’s words, Keating exhorts, “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice, but the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.” Keating succeeds because Human resource development is a process of developing and unleashing expertise for the purpose of improving individual, team, work process, and organizational system performance. Sadly, this is rarely executed. Nonprofit staff and board members are often too focused on the now and maintaining he makes learning personal, not fun. Human Resource Development
Human resource development’s learner centered approaches have changed the framework. Self-directed learning has existed for decades stemming from Albert Bandura’s work on human agency.These approaches allow learners to direct their pathway of growth based on gaps between their knowledge base and the direction of market movement. Organizational Growth Lessons Based on Dead Poets Society , nonprofit leaders must see beyond staff development as a one-size-fits-all. For a competitive advantage, leaders must unlock individual gifts and talents for personal and organizational good. Adapting Keating’s statements that, “We don’t read and write poetry because it is cute. We read and write poetry because we are part of the human race.”We might expand our view of learning and growing not to make more widgets but because we are humans relating to other humans. By empowering team growth, our organizations experience benefits.Leaders need to dig into opportunities and individuals to make learning and growth personal. It means provoking and challenging individuals to maximize their potential and encouraging bold thinking. We might say, “You, nonprofits, must strive to find your own voice. But the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all!” After 15 years of on the ground work in nonprofits (churches, higher ed. institutions, sports leagues, and membership associations), Todd Greer, Ph.D. (Organizational Leadership) serves as Executive Director of SynerVision Leadership Foundation. His mission in life is to grow others through the engagement of their “sweet spot” where they can thrive in families, teams, organizations, and especially as people.