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Creating a Learning Culture

How do leaders successfully drive organizational change inside an organization?

In this past year, we were able to witness a massive experiment in change, as overnight, many organizations had to transform from an in-person, hours-based workplace into a fully remote, output-based organization. And while some embraced the change well, many had difficulty.

While this is an extreme example, companies undergo systemic changes constantly: the implementation of new software, the addition of a new product or service, or changes in the organizational structure and its procedures. Leaders often struggle with getting their entire organization committed and onboard.

We often see these initiatives addressed in a company-wide email, mentioned during an all-hands meeting, and at best, supported with one-off training classes instituted for every employee.

For example, suppose a client has a communication and feedback problem. In that case, they figure, let’s go after the problem directly and deliver a company-wide workshop on how to give better feedback.

Yet, after all the money and time spent on the change campaigns, organizations still find their people not adopting the change fast enough or even at all.

Organizations find it tough to be agile.

The bigger the company, the more difficult it is to implement change. It’s like trying to change the direction of a huge boat, and everyone is rowing in various directions. You aren’t going anywhere and you’re wasting your efforts.

The key to agility is a learning culture.

So how does an organization get the whole team rowing in the correct direction? It starts with having a culture where learning and growth are not only accepted but expected.

And you can’t address the problem of being agile and adaptable if you don’t have your leaders exhibiting these traits.

Managers are the driver of company culture.

The single most important determinant in whether a team performs well is the performance of its managers. According to Gallup, 70% of a team’s engagement depends on the manager.

It all starts at the top with leadership and carries through to every level of the organization. A good manager supports and fully lives in an environment where her team members are encouraged to exhibit a growth mindset; learn new things and make mistakes, share ideas, give feedback, both negative and positive, and own their roles.