The Learning Culture: A Report from the Hub


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It’s been awhile …. I’m back from what became a long journey, working with a number of leading research and consulting firms on what they defined as “corporate education”. Our little secret … it was all about the money.

I spent hours every day focusing on developing paid for webinars that were thinly disguised marketing messages for the sponsor’s products. Writing white papers that were paid for by companies looking to justify their approach or methodology to corporate education. Developing charts, diagrams, infographics and more that proved the current prescribed vendor approaches to learning were absolutely correct.

So the assumption that I’ve heard many times – corporate education analysts are too often paid lobbyists for vendors – turned out to be true. I was living on the wheel, climbing up and sliding down the spokes, avoiding the hub of things. This is a report from that hub.

The key message is simple. Change or die. Corporations that do not “get it” will go out of business and be replaced by those that understand the following:

  • The research tells us that high performing organizations, the type many aspire to become, are driven by a learning culture.
  • Enabling and empowering everyone so they can find what they need to know, whenever and wherever they need it, is critical to the success of a company
  • Becoming a learning culture is the only way a corporation can succeed every day and win in a highly competitive almost Darwinian global marketplace.
  • Finally, if you’re not scared, you’re not listening, and if you are not building a learning culture, you’re falling further behind every day in terms of sales, profits, customer satisfaction levels, innovations, service, and everything else that comprises your business.

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So from this point forward this blog will be about  building a learning culture. We’ll define what it is, help you assess where you are (pdf), and recommend changes you might need to make. We will explore the relationship between leaders, learners and technology. And provide examples of learning cultures in action, from exciting new companies like Tesla and established organizations like the WD-40 Company, to not-for-profit organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

In addition, since we don’t have all the answers, we will be sure to add any links to books (Creating a learning Culture), other posts, whitepapers (At the Water Cooler of Learning),workshops, webinars and other resources that might help. As a starter. here’s one from my friend and colleague Stephen Gills 16 Signs of a Learning Culture and another great resource from Marcia Conner Introduction to a Learning Culture.

I will be working with many of the most experienced and brightest minds in our field, and the areas of learning psychology, neurosciences, sociology, learning theory and more. People who have come to the same conclusion. We need to stop looking at the pieces – the spokes – and start to focus on the real problem at the hub. We can no longer spend ridiculous amounts of money and time on point solutions, and not try and solve the real problem – how to create learning cultures.

Looking forward to learning together.

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One comment

  1. Stephen J. Gill · February 4, 2015

    David, glad to see you are blogging again and re-focusing on how to create a learning culture. This first post is an excellent summary of the impact of a learning culture. It should get organization leaders thinking about what they need to do to make their organizations competitive, sustainable, and successful. And thanks for the mention!

    Like

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