To operate in today’s business environment, it is necessary to establish a comfort level with risk, to support a culture of innovation, and to encourage ongoing learning.
To increase the value of your business, launch new products, or improve operating efficiencies, an advantage lies in your ability to unleash creativity.
Unfortunately the importance of ongoing learning and development is often not made a priority. While many businesses set financial goals, way fewer create and monitor non-financial goals, such as leadership development. Strengthening your organization’s ability to innovate, learn and motivate can be a powerful force to help you drive financial success.
Even with a top-notch team, business leaders struggle with how to get the most from their talent and keep everyone motivated, especially in a tight market.
Studies and research show dramatic differences between what leaders think motivate their people and what really does. Non-monetary motivators, such as employee recognition, effective training, a positive work environment and job rotation or career path changes are far more important than cash to most people. Motivation comes from within; it goes a long way for most employees to work in a positive environment where everyone can freely express their ideas and they are encouraged to challenge themselves, to grow and to develop.
To better understand the teams I work with I often run values assessments on each team member. More often then not, I wind up surprising managers when they find out how many of their people thrive on learning as their top motivator.
Peter Senge’s 1990 book “The Fifth Discipline” popularized the concept of the “learning organization”- organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire. Twenty-five years later, his rationale for learning is just as relevant. Organizations must be flexible, adaptive and productive to succeed.
In “Business Think,” authors Dave Marcum, Steve Smith and Mahan Khalsa, tell us “What used to be ‘somebody else’s’ job is now everybody’s job.” You have just as much responsibility to think as the CEO. If you’re the CEO, everyone in your company has just as much responsibility to think as you do. Maybe more!
Is your business tapping your team’s commitment and capacity to learn at all levels? An effective learning organization:
- Highly values the desire to learn
- Develops the ability to think critically and creatively
- Devotes the needed resources for these activities
- Seeks new and innovative solutions to problems
- Proactively seeks change, growth, and development in new areas
- Looks for improved methodologies and innovative tools and solutions
WHERE ARE THE BIGGEST DEVELOPMENT NEEDS IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Conduct your own assessment with a quick learning and development survey
Creating Learning Opportunities
When most people think of training, they think of sending employees away from their jobs for two or three days. This is certainly an option, but there are many others. Why not consider the opportunity to:
- Substitute a 1-2 hour staff meeting with a workshop.
- Launch a new project team with a team skills training.
- Bring in a facilitator to help your team understand their learning styles
- Set up “lunch and learns,” or breakfast seminars
- Schedule a half day retreat for planning and team building
One-on-one coaching is another alternative to help individuals grow
as professionals and contribute more fully to the success of an organization. Coaching can be time effective and have both a strategic and an immediate impact by providing “just in time” leadership learning.
The opportunities for ongoing learning and development may feel at odds with current resource constraints. If you would like some guidance in putting together a cost effective strategy for your organization, Princeton Performance Dynamics would be pleased
Author: Helene Mazur
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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