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Promoting a Learning Culture


Hi all,

Thanks for looking at my question, i have another couple of questions posted and from the replies i starting thinking that maybe, just maybe, there might be some hints and tips that can really help me to promote a better learning culture.

Previously, when the company was being built up, it was a core set of 6-10 people who went home every night, read the internet, learned the IT systems industry and how to do thier calling, and the directors individually challanged them and everyone built up thier knowledge that way, now a couple of years on and the company is four times the size, the directors are even busier with new huge clients, and the learning is still expected to take place, and people are expected of their own accord (as it was in the beginning, and shall be for always...)

So what hints and tips are there that can help me achieve my goal of promoting a learning culture within my organisation?

Thank you in advance
Diane Mooney

3 Responses

  1. Learning from a place of safety
    Hi, Diane.

    Although it may seem obvious to some, the best learning happens when we feel safe. In times of trauma (the boss shouts at you and tells you you were employed on the basis of knowing something already) you do of course learn at a massive rate, but the wrong stuff! you learn to make sure he never finds out about the other stuff. You learn to blame. You learn what high stress feels like. You learn to defend, avoid and repel.
    When creating a knowledge-creating culture (in Powerchange we call it ‘a knowledge-creating culture’ because it does more than help us learn. It creates priceless knowledge) the importance of people feeling safe with each other becomes clear. For full and worry-free communication to happen, we need to know that what we are going to receive will not harm us. We need to know that we will not be blamed in any way. That we will be praised for making mistakes that produce learning and create knowledge. Mistakes, are never made on purpose. It is impossible to make a mistake on purpose! So, Number 1: Make Failing Safe.

    The second is: Raise Personal Worth. You are not – and never will be – what you do. What you do is merely what you do! It is behaviour. The behaviour of a cow is not the cow. If the cow never produces another litre of milk or never has a calf again, it doesn’t then become a squirrel! All the time it is alive it is a cow. When it comes to people, it is worth asking about the value we put on human life. What is the value of a person? THAT is the value of every single human being in the organisation, every stake-holder, from warehouseman to top client. The worth of their contribution may go up or down, but their personal value is… priceless… immeasurably high.

    That includes you, of course. Show people how to treat themselves and others by you treating YOU as a an invaluable, priceless human being! And watch the culture change.

    Andrew Sercombe, CEO, Powerchange(.com!)

  2. Forget top-down
    A learning culture can’t successfully be foisted on people from above, or so I reckon, anyway. People need to feel empowered to learn and to find that their learning leads to reward – not just money, but recognition.

    A key factor here might be to look at the review process. If it is simply focussed on results, that won’t reward learning. If a person is expected to account for how they developed themselves during the period under review, they are farmore likely to see that as part of their role. It isn’t necessary for this only to take formal learning events into account, but making of web 2.0 technologies to access the conversation should also be regarded as an acceptable CPD tool.

    Also, a policy of pre-briefing and debriefing in respect of formal learning events does wonders to demonstrate the manager’s buy-in to the individual’s personal development.

    Sadly, in the UK, few managers’ KPIs include cater for the management of their teams. In fact, they often have more stringent personal targets to achieve than their team members. This leaves them no time to ‘manage’ which makes a mockery of the title.

    If it is possible to redress that imbalance and for managers to be given KPIs that reflect the development of their team: collectively and individually; and if those managers can then be encouraged to foster a culture in which learning is valued, this empowers the individual to take ownership of their own learning… and THIS is what you want.

  3. Thanks Karen
    Thanks for replying, some interesting veiws there…

    What im trying to do is make the managers and directors adapt an environment that allows successful learning and development to be adapted in the workplace, so it’s really pushing it sideways and up to allow the front line employees to learn more and use it effectivly. If that makes sense, thanks for your input – if you can think of anything else, please come back and pop it in a comment – it’s really helping ūüôā


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