When creating or improving a culture of learning, common challenges arise. Articulating and providing strategies on approaching them will empower you to address them in constructive ways.
- As you launch your positive culture of learning, it's likely that you'll hit some obstacles. Let's talk through some common challenges. First, people don't really understand the value of building a culture of learning or they cannot distinguish that from just offering more training. If that's the case, you'll need to educate them. Use the information you've learned from this course and couple it with material from my Organizational Learning and Development course. My book, Wired to Grow, also has some great content on the brain science of learning.
Use these materials to build a comprehensive proposal where you can easily show the value to the organization and also the return on investment or ROI. Second, your current learning programs are missing the mark and your brand or trust in your team has been harmed in the process. A study by the Conference Executive Board found that only 23% of organizational leaders were satisfied with the overall effectiveness of L and D. And only 12% of CFOs felt that HR and L and D were spending the right amount in the right places.
While shocking, this may not be news to learning professionals. In a recent study, LinkedIn Learning discovered that only 25% of learning professionals would recommend their own programs to their peers. Only 25%! This means that the majority of learning professionals know that their programs could be better, but they may not know how to fix them, yet. To start, I recommend Jack Phillips' material on demonstrating ROI. Once you understand how to align behavior change with business outcomes, you can design better learning programs.
Also, explore the education channel of this platform for lots of good content on instructional design and check out the programs and services offered by the Association for Talent Development or ATD. I also recommend shifting your perspective from training to learning. Training is really built from the organization's perspective and done to employees where learning is designed from the learner's perspective, addressing their real needs and pain points, enabling them to succeed. A third obstacle is that learning is not currently recognized or rewarded.
I've already covered many ways you can up-level the value and visibility of learning. So do those, but let's tackle the big issue, the performance evaluation process. The research on growth mindset is so compelling that a lot of organizations are rethinking their current practices moving away from ratings and instead focusing on growth and improvement. When we rate people as average, excellent, or poor, we essentially replicate the fixed mindset and say, "You are what you are." But when we move to evaluating growth and improvement, we activate motivation and ultimately potential saying, "You are what you reach for." Instead of below expectations or poor, try not yet meeting expectations.
That shift signifies that the person has potential and the organization has faith that they can improve. This positive aspirational expectation is far more likely to motivate an employee to grow than being labeled substandard. In addition, shift your reward system to be based on a combination of both outcomes and growth or learning. When you only focus on outcomes, you may be rewarding the same group of people who do a great job but are not really stretching themselves. When you reward growth in learning, you'll get more of it from every level of performer and that will fuel your organization's success.
The final obstacle is insufficient resources and support. It's certainly true that you can do more with more, but instead of purchasing more bells and whistles, first focus your energy on making the best use of the resources you have now. If you realign your programs and events to teach people how to create psychological safety and you empower more knowledge sharing and better instruction, you'll get a big shift. In addition, when you build your learning strategy around organizational growth and business outcomes, it'll be easier for leaders to see the value of your proposals especially if you calculate the real costs of attrition and disengagement because you can make the case that investing in a learning culture will pay for itself quickly.
Another option is to develop learning advocates within your organization. Find an open and influential leader and approach them about enhancing the learning culture of their team, project or department. Frame it as a pilot program so that it's easier for them to get on board. Use the techniques I've shared and track metrics so that you'll have great data to share in your success story. Once you have a win, it'll be easier to expand other groups until you hit the tipping point. You can also stretch your learning dollars by partnering with groups both inside and outside of your organization.
We'll look at that next. Obstacles are challenging, but I found that they make me get more focused and intentional about helping others learn the value of learning. It's a great opportunity to role model the very thing you seek to create.
- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success