Cultivating Change-Ready Cultures Require Leaders To Foster Learnability
Alice Meredith
Cultivating Change-Ready Cultures Require Leaders To Foster Learnability

At the heart of any successful company is a culture of change readiness. To cultivate this, leaders need to inspire their teams to become ever more learnable so that they are always ready for change. But what does it mean to be learnable, and how can a leader help foster this attitude in their team? Let’s explore.

What Does Being Learnable Look Like?

You may be asking yourself, “What is learnability, and what does it look like?” Simply put, it is the ability to continually learn new skills and adapt quickly to changing technology, changing work environments, and ever-evolving industries and competitive landscapes. Technological innovation has accelerated the need for all organizations to evolve and adapt to fit the ever-evolving needs of their clients and the global landscape.

Being learnable means having an open and inquisitive mind, being willing to consider different perspectives, and having an innate curiosity about the world around you. It means pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, trying new things, and exploring the unknown. It also means being willing to take risks and make mistakes – because only through trial and error can we really grow. 

The Learnability Quotient (LQ) : How to Measure Learning Aptitudes

In today’s constantly changing work environment, it is crucial for individuals to continuously adapt and improve in order to succeed. The Learnability Quotient (LQ) is a way to measure a person’s ability to learn and adapt to new situations. It can provide insights into how a person approaches new challenges, and whether they prefer tried-and-true methods or innovative solutions. LQ is gaining recognition as a key indicator of an individual’s potential for success in a rapidly changing world. In fact, it may even become as important as a person’s IQ and EQ. Employers are looking for team members who are dedicated to continuous growth and development and are able to keep up with the fast pace of change. As the way we work evolves, it is essential that each member of a team continues to evolve, learn and adapt.  In fact, learnability has been described as “the hot ticket to success for employers and individuals alike” (Mara Swan, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent, ManpowerGroup).

Organizations of all types need leaders and employees dedicated to keeping up with the pace of change because how we do what we do today certainly won’t be how we do what we do tomorrow, right?

Related: The Importance of Learnability

How Leaders Can Foster Learnability

Leaders can foster learnability by creating an environment where taking risks is encouraged as opposed to penalized. They can provide opportunities for their team members to take on new challenges or try different approaches or tasks. They can also demonstrate learnability themselves by pursuing learning opportunities such as further education or workshops, reading industry journals or books, or simply listening more than talking in meetings.

10 Simple Strategies for Fostering Learnability in Teams

As an individual who has been responsible for inspiring teams to invest in personal development and elevate their learnability levels, I have found the following ten strategies to be effective:

  1. Recognize the importance of learnability: It is crucial to understand that learnability, or the ability to adapt to new situations and learn new skills quickly, is essential in today’s constantly changing workplace. Employees who are not learnable may become obsolete and be replaced by those who are.
  1. Communicate the value of learnability: It is essential to communicate to your employees why learnability is important. Explain to them that being able to adapt and learn new skills will make them more valuable employees.
  1. Encourage lifelong learning: Encourage your employees to engage in lifelong learning, which includes both formal and informal learning experiences. Formal learning experiences can include structured programs, such as classroom training, while informal learning experiences can include on-the-job training or self-directed learning through reading books and articles.
  1. Provide learning opportunities, communicate their purpose, and make learning opportunities accessible to all on the team: Offer a variety of learning opportunities for your employees, including formal education programs, on-the-job training, mentorship programs, and encouragement to read books and articles on the relevant subject matter. The more opportunities you provide for learning, the more likely your employees will be to develop their learnability levels. It’s important that your employees understand why they are engaging in the learning and development activities you provide. Without a clear purpose, it can be easy for employees to become discouraged. Lastly, make sure that learning opportunities are accessible to all employees, regardless of their location or schedule. This can include providing online training or flexible scheduling for in-person training.
  1. Set achievable goals: setting specific, achievable goals can motivate employees to learn new things and provide a sense of direction. When employees reach their goals, it can boost their confidence and encourage them to continue learning.
  1. Reward employees for learning: Show your appreciation for employees who are actively developing their learnability levels through financial incentives, such as bonuses for completing training courses or gift cards for attending industry conferences, which can motivate employees to learn and show them that you value their learning and development.
  1. Make learning fun: There are various ways to make learning enjoyable, such as through gamification or simulations and exercises. By making learning fun, employees may retain more information and stay engaged in the process.
  1. Encourage social learning: Social learning, where employees share their knowledge with each other, can create a culture of continuous learning within the company and may also reduce the need for external trainers.
  1. Provide feedback: Offer constructive feedback to help employees improve their performance and continue learning. Focus on both their strengths and areas for improvement.
  1. Model Learnability: It’s essential for leaders to model the behavior they want to see. This means setting aside time to expand our own personal skill set and sharing our own experiences and learnings from our learning journey with our team. It’s important to not only demonstrate the action of learning but to also show the resulting behavior changes that come with it. For example, we can share our excitement about learning a new skill or discuss any initial hesitancy we had about learning new software but discovered how it ultimately saved us time. Personal anecdotes can be powerful motivators for encouraging mindset shifts.

If we want our team members to embrace learning as a habit, we need to ensure we are making time to expand and grow our own personal skill set. Strong leaders are continually assessing their own personal skills and knowledge gaps.

Cultivating a change-ready culture requires leadership that is dedicated not only to inspiring their team, but also equipping them with the right tools to succeed in times of change. The key is elevating learnability – encouraging team members to push themselves out of their comfort zones, take risks, and pursue learning opportunities whenever possible. With the right environment and support system in place, teams will be better equipped than ever before to embrace change with confidence and enthusiasm!

It’s clear to see how, by adopting a culture of continuous learning and fostering learnability in their teams, organizations can become more change-ready and better able to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Related Resources: Helping Your Teams Normalize the New Normal of Change

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