The ways to build internal and external learning culture opportunities are endless. Take a look at a few.
- The exciting thing about learning is that because it's happening around us all of the time, there are many opportunities that you can leverage to build your positive culture of learning. Here are several that I have used or helped my clients establish. Let's start with internal options. One, repurpose the wheels you have instead of reinventing them. You already have some great learning materials, so get more uses out of what you already have. Start a repository of presentation decks, exercises, articles, et cetera.
This makes it easier to use elements in another way, like creating mini videos, an interactive PDF, or another workshop. You can also take something you already have and customize it for a specific audience. Two, pump up your knowledge sharing. When you find good learning happening in your organization, make it available to a wider audience. This can save your budget from offering a duplicate or similar program. Three, tap into your peoples' gifts and passions.
Most organizations do not fully utilize the gifts, talents, and passions that their people bring to the table. You might just have someone in your organization who knows a lot about communication or marketing, or emotional intelligence, and would be honored to help. Put out a call and see what happens. Four, share costs across the organization. If you see a product or service you want to invest in, but don't quite have the budget, see if you can partner with other departments who you know will make use of it.
This can be a great way to stretch your budget while also collaborating with other leaders. Let's now take a look externally. There are a lot of possibilities ranging from your local area to your state, and from the federal level to international. One, partner with local academic institutions. From elementary schools to universities, your local schools are filled with experts who know how to teach others. I've seen some amazing partnerships develop that are cost-effective and mutually beneficial, since expertise can be shared both ways.
Some local classes and workshops might fill your needs and free up some of your budget. Faculty experts might be able to teach on topics you need, and their students might benefit from internships or mentoring. And of course, your employees might be able to up level their skills, earning an appropriate certificate or degree, especially if you offer tuition reimbursement. Two, explore options with local government and nonprofit organizations. There are likely to be shared interests and goals with elected officials and nonprofits in your area.
Even promoting some of their educational programs might boost your own catalog of offerings in meaningful ways. Three, make connections with your sister cities. Most cities have sister cities in other parts of the world. Ask your local chamber of commerce and see what options might exist to share resources and experts, as well as offer unique travel opportunities. Four, ask vendors about flexibility and creative options. Instead of deciding that you cannot afford something, talk to the vendor about options.
Some have different price points, and others offer discounts for members of national talent associations, like SHRM or ATD. Also some vendors are looking for opportunities to study the impact of their product, or pilot a new version. These can become elements of your negotiation. If you want more tips watch the Negotiation course by Lisa Gates on this platform. Five, utilize professional associations. Every industry has professional associations that offer ongoing training and professional development.
Paying for employee memberships might just open up whole new levels of content, while saving you lots of money. They also offer free webinars that might be worthy of advertising to your employees. Once you get started, ideas start popping. I encourage you to form a cross-organizational committee to explore and build on these ideas. That way you harness their collective wisdom, and they're also likely to have connections that might open doors to unique possibilities. The bottom line is that building a positive culture of learning is a collective effort, co-created by members of your community, so don't feel like it all rests on your shoulders.
Instead of doing it all, focus on bringing together the right people, and enjoy exploring and building something amazing.
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- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success