Build a growth mindset and learning culture
Across the last 6 months, individuals, teams and organisations have been faced with extraordinary levels of challenge and disruption. The pandemic has necessitated change on a massive scale across all aspects of life, including the world of work. It has made us question how and why we do things, and question whether what we’re doing is still relevant. Some organisations have been able to adapt and ride the storm and others have been barely treading water. What’s certain is that there are more challenges ahead, with continued uncertainty and an economic downturn. It’s critical that individuals and organisations are able to learn, adapt and innovate in order to survive, continue to be relevant, and thrive.
The number of organisations that have true learning cultures is surprisingly low – only about 10% of organisations1. A learning culture is one where people are encouraged through an organisation’s values, practices and processes to continuously develop their knowledge and skills. More specifically, people are given the opportunity to develop, encouraged to experiment and try new approaches, and are recognised and rewarded for learning. Learning happens every day not just on training courses. Cultivating a learning culture makes business sense – organisations with learning cultures are 30% more likely to be market leaders over time2.
In a learning culture, individuals and leaders adopt growth mindsets – they believe they can develop new knowledge and skills through focused effort. They embrace rather than shy away from new challenges, they seek feedback, are intellectually curious and value learning from others3. They recognise that what they know and can do today is not what they need to know and be able to do in the future. Growth mindset helps us evolve and adapt to change.
As individuals, whether a leader or individual contributor, we can develop growth mindset attitudes and behaviours to enhance our knowledge, skills, and future employability:
|Ways to develop growth mindset as an individual||
To create a learning culture, organisations can build, as well as hire for, growth mindset:
|Ways to develop growth mindset in employees||
|Ways to hire candidates with growth mindsets||
Adopting a growth mindset helps us to approach problems and challenges from a different and more positive perspective and is fundamental to creating learning cultures within organisations. This continuous approach to learning and improvement helps individuals and organisations change, adapt and stretch themselves to tackle the challenges we face today and the ones that lie ahead.
1 – Grossman, R. J. (2015). How to create a learning culture. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from
2 – Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Bersin, J. (2018). 4 ways to create a learning culture on your team. Harvard Business Review, July.
3 – Morison, L., Weeks, K, & Syed, M. (2019). Mindset Advantage. Matthew Syed Consulting.
4 – Vande Walle, D., Ganesan, S., Challagalla, G.N., & Brown, S. P. (2000). An integrated model of feedback-seeking behavior. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(6), 996-1003.
5 – Yoon, J., Blunden, H., Kristal, A., & Whillans, A. (2019). Why asking for advice is more effective than asking for feedback. Harvard Business Review, September.