The importance of continuous learning

Kristi Hedges, writing in Harvard Business Review: (via @smartrich)

The reality is that most people are not set up to take advantage of development opportunities. Many organizations view learning as something extra, something to fit in on top of the regular work. But to create a culture that encourages employee growth, managers need to make learning an expectation — not an option.

Learning helps people keep a broad perspective. When we feel expert at something, sociologists have shown, the earned dogmatism effect sets in, causing us to be more close-minded and to disregard new ideas and perspectives.

For managers, suggesting that team members go to a training or take an online course isn’t enough; for many professionals, that’s just more work on their plates. Instead, managers need to encourage continual learning with supportive behaviors that, in turn, will shape their company culture.

It can be hugely beneficial to have a boss who encourages continuous learning, especially when moving into a new role in a different field. I’ve iterated on a learning system in the past two years that basically involves using Evernote to capture information from a number of sources: online articles; ebooks; podcasts; audiobooks; magazines and newspapers. In the organisations I’ve worked in, I haven’t seen a willingness to facilitate continuous learning across teams through the adoption of new tools such as Evernote, which seems something of a missed opportunity.