How do leaders create a culture of learning?

Posted August 26, 2020 in
Leaders Leaders

Connor DeLaney

"If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original."

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As leaders of organizations, how do you create a culture that encourages learning and professional development? I know now more than ever it is challenging to ask people to put their time towards this, but I'd love to hear the different approaches we all take to do so. Thanks!
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Scott Merritt
We start with sharing the vision.  If we let everyone in on the big picture, and how they fit in, they are more responsive to learning for a reason instead of a chore.
Connor DeLaney
Love that  Scott Merritt , it's so important for people to have a long-term view and not see it as a box to check. Building that growth mindset in your organization is huge!
Morgan VanDerLeest
I've been actively encouraging my team to block off some time for professional development out of their regular workday once per week. It may sound counterintuitive, but the things they learn in those few hours a week can save us days or more down the road. Also having that time blocked off helps them be more efficient with the time they do have, instead of requiring learning on top of a regular work-week.

We also encourage sharing the things we learn. For us, that comes in the form of a Basecamp Automatic Check-In asking "What have you learned this week?". But could be a simple share in a weekly meeting. The Basecamp check-in works nicely because someone can write as much or as little as they'd like without being on the spot to speak about it.
Connor DeLaney
Morgan VanDerLeest was there ever pushback from the team that they need that extra time to "get things done"? Not only do I hear that a lot, but I also make that excuse just as often. 

Also, is everyone required to fill out that Basecamp check-in or is it optional? I could see it being more beneficial if it was required as it makes sure you are using your PD time to actually gain something they and the team could benefit from! 
Chris Marr
I can add a few things quickly: i) Spending time with each team member to identify what their individual personal and professional development plan needs to look like. Example: Asking everyone to read the same book or do the same course isn't always effective. ii) Making sure that there's clear purpose - that the individual knows why the learning is important for them, and how that learning also impacts the company iii) Once there's a plan, pass or delegate responsibility and accountability for development to the individual iv) Recognise that creating a true learning organisation is only possible if individuals are learning, AND there's a process for sharing that learning across the team v) Appreciate that many people don't actually know how to learn - so we need to teach and learn how to learn more effectively vi) Ensure that your team have all the right settings/tools/training to communicate effectively with each other and that they can discuss topics they might not agree with but still maintain a dialogue in the team (World Class Communicators) vii) Finally, that the team actually put what they are learning into action - that they PRACTICE. :)
Ruben Aguirre
For our team, the element that has been most helpful has been to set the example. If they don't see you, as a leader, willing to learn, grow, and be uncomfortable, then your team might be more reluctant to cultivate learning and not see the value of it.  If as the leader, you set the tone with those you work most closely with, they will in turn influence those that work alongside them.

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