Here are a few phrases you’ll never hear a successful CEO say: “I’m comfortable with a business that breaks even,” “I love a staff that does the bare minimum,” “A Q3 with the exact same profit as last year? Awesome!”
Successful companies are always looking to grow and outpace their competition, which is why a learning organization is such a prominent goal. Having a company culture centered around learning from mistakes and continuous growth has more value than any software or consulting you could find. So if you’re looking to build a learning organization and grow your business, here are four tips that can help you get there.
1. Give your staff opportunities to take risks
Most businesses are too harsh on employees for making small mistakes. This leads to a stigma among staff that they need to play it safe, and stick to what they know. So encourage your employees to step out of their comfort zone and take risks.
This pill can be tough to swallow. They’re called risks for a reason, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll see results, and when employees take risks, sometimes it can lead to losses. However, taking risks is the only way that your staff can take it upon themselves to grow.
Encourage your staff to find new ways to approach challenges or learn a new skillset that could give them mobility. This will give your employees motivation to get better on their own, and if they make a mistake, then it’s a great learning tool for what to do next time.
2. Reward and recognize your employees for learning
Imagine a baby taking its first steps. If you compare their walking talents to most adults in the world, they’re not the best at it. In fact, they’ll stumble and fall over every chance they get. But everyone around that kid is encouraging and awestruck when they take their first steps towards becoming a functional and bipedal adult.
Through encouragement and rewards, that kid is going to be much more determined to get better at walking. Show your staff the same type of recognition.
I’m not saying that you should treat your staff like they’re a bunch of babies. That would be condescending and quite frankly, an awkward conversation for everyone involved. When you train an employee at a new position, they’re not going to get the hang of their new responsibilities right away. But if they show potential, cultivate their determination and encourage their growth. They’ll strive to get better in no time.
3. Put more development plans in place
If an employee is underperforming, it can seem easy to give them the old pink slip and send them on their way, but that’s the easiest waste of an onboarding budget imaginable. As long as your staff shows drive, it’s important to lay out steps for them to improve.
Offer them recommendations for a book, or show them examples of what they’re working towards. Sometimes the only difference between a lackluster employee and an all-star is knowing the steps to get there.
However, it’s important to make sure that these employees don’t feel singled out. Set development plans evenly across the board for your staff. When you show your staff that everyone has areas to improve upon, these development plans seem a lot less like babying, and more like an actionable plan to get better.
4. Let your staff see their strengths from your perspective
Sometimes it can be tough for someone to appreciate their own skillset. If you’ve ever heard your own voice in a recording, you understand exactly what I mean. But sometimes it’s the only way that we can hone in on what we’re good at, and learn what areas we could work on.
Try implementing 360s for your staff. No, I’m not talking about spinning them around in their office chair, that’s more of a last resort. 360s are performance reviews from the perspective of managers, peers, and sometimes even customers. You’ll be able to show your staff their strengths and give them opportunities to tackle their weaknesses
However, try not to focus on the weaknesses too heavily. Studies show that this can lead to self-confidence issues which can be counter-productive in the long run. But when you prioritize your staff’s strengths, you can give them the motivation to work harder, and improve their skillset.
Overall, it’s about facilitating drive in your employees.
A true learning organization is hard to come by. It’s hard to find a staff that has the motivation to continuously improve. When you know how to cultivate that motivation yourself, you can turn any business into an ideal learning organization. And when your employees actively seek out ways to get better, you’ll see results in no time.
In The Meantime, Here's Something To Help You On Your Journey. Take The Leadership Culture Survey