Did you know that 42% of graduates leave university and never pick up a book again? My 9 year old daughter told me this fact recently as her school are developing a selection of lunchtime ‘fun to learn’ clubs for the children to choose to attend in an effort to establish at an early age a discipline for self learning. Wow. My child who is usually a reluctant student, but who is now looking forward to giving up her play time to attend a times table club! And here is the really interesting bit. The ‘teachers’ are their peers, the big kids in Year 6 who every younger child aspires to be like.
Which got me to thinking more about the work place and the all too often attitude of the employees where learning is seen to be the sole responsibility of the organisation to provide. And where ‘training’ takes the form of a traditional classroom format provided by externals once in a while as budgets allow. Leading organisations take a very different approach.
They understand that individuals must be disciplined to take responsibility for their own self learning and it is the responsibility of the organisation to foster a culture where self learning is encouraged and rewarded. The goal of a learning and performance culture in an organisation is to create an environment where everyone teaches, everyone learns, and everyone enhances their exceptional abilities. Achieving this goal starts at the top.
A learning and development culture has the following benefits:-
Develops leaders at every level of the organisation
With capable people at every level of the organisation, someone is always ready to step in and lead a team should a replacement be necessary.
Attracts and retains the best
Intelligent people are always on a quest for knowledge. A culture dedicated to this quest serves as a magnet to these individuals.
Skilled workers are always more efficient, and efficiency has a direct impact on your organisation’s performance.
Enables succession planning
When adding or replacing Managers, you don’t have to go outside the organisation to look for candidates. You have a pipeline.
So if you’re frustrated by your employees that sit back and wait for the invitation to attend a training day or your sales team who aren’t keeping abreast of world affairs or your team that haven’t developed a greater commercial understanding of the business, then I guess we have to look to ourselves as leaders of the business and question our progress towards creating a learning and performance culture. Which then brings me to the next issue, mentoring and coaching. Do we have people in the business equipped to mentor and coach?