I spend a lot of my time thinking about culture change and helping large organizations achieve it. I focus as much as I do on this topic because of this:
The only sustainable competitive advantage a company can have is its culture.
In a world that is constantly changing, what kind of culture can provide a sustainable competitive advantage? My answer is a learning culture. That is, a culture that enables its people and teams to learn, and to learn fast; a culture that celebrates and rewards the curious, the challengers, the critical thinkers, and the relentless optimizers; a culture that purposefully sets up conditions for learning and takes care to keep them healthy.
A key condition for learning is safety. (Of course, there are other conditions, but safety is fundamental.) People need to feel safe to talk about what’s working and what’s not working. Safe to ask for help on a project. Safe in the understanding that the job is not to appear perfect; instead it’s to solve real problems and to keep improving. This kind of safety nourishes a learning culture and accelerates the pace of learning.
What, in your experience, enables or blocks a thriving learning culture in the workplace? I’d love to hear from you!