How To Create a Culture of Continuous Learning

What makes the greatest teams so successful? 

In sport, and in business, it’s a desire to constantly be better. 

New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks, boasts a winning percentage of 77% since their first official match in 1903, making them one of the most prolific and consistently-successful teams across any sport. 

Best Winning Percentages in Sport 

New Zealand All Blacks (Rugby) – 77% Brazil’s national football team – 63% San Antonio Spurs (Basketball) – 61.7% Dallas Cowboys (American Football) – 59.5%  Montreal Canadiens (Ice Hockey) – 57.9%  New York Yankees (Baseball) – 56.4% 

So what makes the All Blacks different to other teams? 

A former captain of the team, David Kirk, attributes their ongoing ascendancy to “divine discontent” – an attitude to learning and growth that is never satisfied with past achievements but always searching for the next challenge. 

“The best teams I played with were forever searching for the tiniest possible increment of improvement. During the 1987 World Cup, the team played and trained with a clear analogy in mind. This was the image of being on a staircase. Each match and each training session was both a step upward and, at the same time, nothing more than a preparation for the next step.” 

Why Should Organizations Create a Culture of Continuous Learning?

By putting constant improvement at the center of their psyche, the All Blacks have built a winning culture which encourages continuous learning instead of complacency. 

In today’s organizations, a person’s career is no longer the end product of an education. Instead, a career is an education itself for workers, and it has to be a constant process of learning and development. The pace at which technology evolves can create circumstances in which a mastered skill may be outdated within a few years. It’s now essential to promote and enable ongoing learning opportunities.

Top performing companies are five-times more likely to have a culture of learning, but only 31% of organizations have established learning cultures.  

The Benefits of Continuous Learning

1. It enhances a company’s ability to compete
As learners acquire new knowledge on their own, the chances of uncovering new ways to do things are higher, which can improve efficiency and produce better results.

2. It improves employee retention
Continuous learning shows that the organization is hungry to champion personal and professional growth among its employees (and willing to provide the tools and time to make it happen).

3. It lowers the costs of learning
Learning becomes a constant informal and social process taken on by every individual, compared to a set of formal courses and lessons established, organized and paid for by the organization.

4. It makes learning learner-centric
Learning should always be about the learner, and many (especially Millennials and Gen-Zers) expect their organization to provide development opportunities for them. 

Technology Enables Learners to Own their Learning and Development Needs

In this fast-paced business environment, learners require opportunities to close skills gaps beyond the traditional ways of content delivery and development. They demand new, more flexible options to develop their career paths, and want more self-directed learning opportunities that allow them to train in ways that work best for them. In fact, employees are more engaged when given the autonomy to pursue their own development goals. 

A data-driven learning platform provides employees with the tools they need to succeed in self-driven programs. Leveraging learning analytics is also a great way for Artificial Intelligence-enabled solutions to deliver more definitive conclusions related to individual learning. This then plays a deeper role in guiding a learner’s decision-making process.

Source