Once organizations have the right people in place, they must consistently develop their talent to keep pace with the market’s ever-changing needs. For many businesses, however, professional development unfortunately stops once a new hire is trained. Years later, company leaders will wonder why their employees have become complacent and actually seem resistant to learning new things. The reason is simple—they are out of practice.
To start building a new culture of learning, model the process for your direct reports by picking three things you want to learn in the next ninety days. Share your plan for learning with your team, including what resources you will use and when you will carve out the time to get it done. Keep your team updated on your progress and make time to discuss how your learning can help the organization. Next, ask your senior leaders to follow the same process of building and sharing their learning plans. On a monthly basis, have them share their progress and give them room to brainstorm ways the learning can be applied in your organization.
After three months of practicing this new learning culture with your senior leaders, ask them to cascade it, using the same process, to their direct reports. Be sure to recognize the achievement of learning goals in the same way you would recognize performance goals. Consistent learning is just that important!
“During my time at IBM, I came to see that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it IS the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”