Learning Culture: Adapt or Die

In this presentation, I will draw from my personal experiences as the founder and CEO of a software testing company to share insights and lessons learned about the importance of building a learning culture within organizations. After experiencing rapid growth since our establishment in 2013, we hit a major problem in 2019 due to a growing skills gap between what our clients demanded and what our team could deliver. We failed to adapt to changing market conditions as our major clients embarked on their Agile transformations in 2017/2018. Realizing that we had to adapt or die, we began exploring ways to improve our team’s professional development. Although we had a generous training budget and a rich training portfolio, we struggled to keep up with the sudden demand for technical testing skills once our clients shifted to Agile methodologies. Our team seemed slow to acquire new skill sets, which led to frustration and suboptimal results. This experience, along with others, has taught me that the world around us is not just complicated, it is complex. Change is constant and unpredictable, and we need to adapt quickly to survive and thrive. Building a learning culture is critical to meeting current challenges and enabling us to adapt faster to future ones. Through research, conversations, and reflection, I have learned that learning requires a combination of motivation and a growth mindset that enables us to put in the hard work and to learn from the mistakes we will inevitably make. I will explain where this motivation comes from and why it must be nurtured, not forced. I will also discuss the importance of dealing with the emotional pain of mistakes. To better understand these concepts, I will touch on some social psychology/positive psychology.

My goal in this presentation is to share my insights and experiences with others who may be facing similar learning challenges, both for themselves and for their teams. The key takeaway is that people will not learn if they are not motivated and cannot deal properly with mistakes. You can have the best and most expensive L&D program in the world, but it will have very little value unless you have a culture that supports people in finding the motivation and developing the mindset required to meet their goals. In conclusion, I will list my goals for improving our organization and the things I need to learn to achieve them. This is not a practical presentation or a deep dive into L&D programs. It is not about creating a training course or a knowledge database. Instead, it is about the importance of fostering a learning culture that motivates people to learn and grow, and that supports them in dealing with mistakes.