We shared our thoughts on this topic at a recent CIPD Festival of Work conference. I guess, implicit in this question is that the right learning culture will drive growth. We wanted to check this out and consulted the academics and even asked ChatGPT what constitutes a learning culture, why would you want one and how do you get one – ask those questions to ChatGPT and you will get some interesting and incomplete responses and ultimately it does drive growth because it drives engagement and performance at an organisational level. I want to take us into the direction of what we can do.
Note I said we!
As a leader or learning and talent specialist I suggest that the right learning culture starts with you. We pose 3 challenges to help you consider this for yourself. Is your learning culture driving your growth?
Challenge 1 – It starts with you!
What is your attitude to and how do you show up as a learner to your colleagues and to the wider organisation? When was the last time you learned something formally and shared that with others? When did you have and share an ‘aha!’ moment at work? What do you not say about learning in the flow of work that leaves it open to interpretation?
Challenge 2 – What kind of learner are you anyway?
I divide us into 3 categories – tourists, volunteers and hostages! Which one are you? This hugely impacts not only our openness to learning but the depth of your experience when presented with learning situations. When you are in the space where learning could happen what is your attitude? A volunteer is open to learning most of the time looking for opportunities in everyday experiences for themselves and others. Tourists are not averse to learning but maybe don’t always think about it or take the opportunities when they present themselves. Hostages have shut themselves off from learning and don’t take time out at all and feel hostile to most situations where learning could take place, everyday interactions with colleagues and managers or more formal situations such as mentoring, coaching and 1:1 line manager conversations.
Challenge 3 – What can you do about it?
As a leader or learning specialist what can you do? Work on converting some of your tourists to volunteers, hostages to tourists, volunteers to advocates (new category, we need lots of these to spread the learning) or any combination for forward momentum. We asked some of our clients this question and we already know some of the standard answers (ask ChatGPT) but what are people doing on the ground:
- One charity we spoke to provides budget and training options. Individuals get to choose where they spend their own budget – a great way to convert hostages into tourists and tourists into volunteers.
- Another client organisation targets their learning to specific talent groups and everyone can be in a talent group, it feels special and targeted, again creating volunteers who step into the space of their own accord. Therefore everyone becomes a volunteer.
- Our final client organisation in the tech sector breaks down the key skills or experiences needed to be successful in a variety of roles (competency framework or job descriptions) and provides clear options for team members to improve their skills, knowledge and mindsets in those key areas. So when they see ‘Ability to work with ambiguity’ they know exactly where to go to learn more about that and how they develop it.
All three of these offer an element of choice to the learner. Have a think about what you can do for you and your organisation to offer choice and put each team member in the driving seat – so you don’t have to be the only one driving the learning agenda.
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