4 signs your team needs a learning culture reboot

Change happens fast in today’s world. From massive jumps in technology and automation to new regulations and evolving methodologies, to abrupt and significant changes to the everyday work routine (one day you’re commuting to the office, the next you’re commuting to the corner of your living room), employees and organizations have to be adaptable. Flexible. Agile. 

If these changes outpace your talent, you’re in for a problem. Of the 600 professionals surveyed in Wiley’s recent Closing the Skills Gap report, 69% said their organization already has a skills gap. That’s up by 14% from 2021. 

An organization’s longevity and success depend on its ability to evolve and innovate, and part of that – often a very large part – involves people. Great leaders understand that cultivating a learning environment (one which actually engages people in their own growth and development) is a top priority in today’s transience. 

But we don’t need to tell you that. You’re already bought into the power of a learning culture. You’re here because you want to protect that power to ensure it continues to drive upskilling, re-skilling, cross-skilling, and – more broadly – innovation across your organization. 

Since a team is a living, growing, constantly changing thing, a learning culture needs regular attention. Perhaps you’re here because of a feeling that something might be starting to slip. 

Don’t worry. There are clear warning signs, and we’re here to share them.

4 signs your business has departed from a learning culture

Creativity is waning

When a learning culture is healthy and thriving, people aren’t afraid to fail in the name of trying something new. They feel safe that the organization values the information and experience they have gained from trying. This safety net is the breeding ground for creativity. 

If creativity is waning across your organization or team, it might be a sign people no longer feel safe to fail. That the path well traveled is less risky. Unfortunately, the path well traveled does, at some point, lead organizations to be outpaced by their competitors.

Mistakes cause panic

Even as technology advances, even as processes get more rigorous, and even with millions of dollars behind you, mistakes happen. They’re inevitable. It’s how you deal with them – learn from them – that matters. A team with a learning mindset knows this. 

If your team is regularly thrown into a spin by mistakes, it’s a sign that they aren’t bought into the concept of a learning culture. As their leader, your job is to uncover the root cause of this belief (or lack thereof) and make the necessary adjustments.

Success is reported as results

People who are committed to continual learning feel a sense of achievement when they discover something new. If your team is only sharing (read: celebrating) results with you, alarm bells should ring.
Either they have deprioritized learning or don’t think you value it. From adding a ‘What we learned’ slide to your KPI update deck to calling on someone to celebrate learning at your next stand-up, you can help to reroute how your team thinks and feels about discoveries quite quickly with some fairly simple process tweaks.

Personal development budgets aren’t being used

This is one of the more obvious warning signs that your learning culture is unhealthy. People who see value in learning are hungry to do so. If there’s a budget for them to develop themselves and they’re not using it, you’ve likely got a problem. 

Before charging in to make changes, start by asking questions. Questions like ‘Are there any barriers to using the budget?’, ‘Why have you stopped using the budget, what’s changed?’. ‘What support would make using the budget easier/more enticing to you?’, etc. This will allow you to address the right issues and make people feel part of the solution.


If you’ve reached this far in the article, and you’ve recognized your organization or team in one or more of the warning signs listed above, don’t panic. As mentioned, a team – and by extension, its culture – is a living, growing, constantly changing thing. It’s almost expected that there’ll be ebbs and flows in the collective mindset. As a leader, it’s how you deal with them that will determine the health of your learning culture and, by extension, the ability of your organization to remain agile, innovative, and full of top talent.

At One TEAM, we believe that the key to business success lies in building high-performing teams. And these only exist when people are thriving. While a performance mindset can be valuable in certain situations, a team that’s perpetually performance oriented is not one that’s thriving. It’s one that will strive to deliver results instead of striving to learn what will deliver the best results. 

If you’d like to hop on a call to discuss this further or how we might support you to build or re-energize a learning culture, get in touch via our contact us page.


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