National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Developing a Learning Organization


Leaders evaluate performance at all levels to understand the causal factors of successes and failures. All those involved learn incrementally, applying today’s lessons to the next assignment. This focus on continuous improvement brings with it a responsibility to share lessons learned throughout the organization.

In a learning organization, leaders treat honest mistakes as opportunities to learn and do better next time. Understanding that failure is a part of learning, they establish command climates in which followers are motivated by a desire to succeed rather than fear of failure. At the crew level, conducting regular After Action Reviews (AAR) is one of the most powerful tools a leader has for building effective and cohesive teams.

Discussion Points:

  • Discuss the relationship between developing a learning organization and safety.
  • What happens when honest mistakes are punished rather than used as a learning opportunity?
  • How are mistakes and failure dealt with within your crew/organization?
  • What was your crew/organization’s most recent learning moment?


Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Mar 2022

Have an idea or feedback?
Share it with the NWCG 6MFS Subcommittee.

Follow NWCG on Twitter  and Facebook