Learning: A Strategic Advantage

Learn Your Way to the Top.

two man and two woman standing on green grass field

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Are you looking for a secret sauce to give your organization an advantage in a dynamic marketplace? Look to learning.

The concept of transforming businesses by building a true learning culture is not new. But what is new is the wave of recent examples where companies like  Box, Vanguard, and Getty Images are maximizing productivity and innovation through training by fostering a digital lifelong learning and training ecosystem.

How do great companies drive business growth through learning?

Look out

Study the habits of successful leaders and what the companies they run are doing. You’ll see a theme in their focus on dedicating time and energy to learning as an integral part of doing business, In these spaces, training is not just a compliance-driven, LMS box-checking bolt-on that requires “time out” from work. Learning is a seamless, integrated function that not only supports the business, it IS the business.

For example, Getty Images uses “WeLearn Wednesdays” where their Chief HR Officer shares what he is learning every Wednesday by posting a photo of himself learning at his stand-up desk. He then urges everyone to enroll and spend an hour taking a course and share what they’ve learned.

Lead in

There is magic in the idea of enlisting “internal faculty” to help make innovation a part of how business is done every day. Taking time out to foster learning circles – small, cross-functional groups of business leaders who assemble to learn, grow and problem-solve together – pays for itself in multiple ways: better ideas, better engagement, better solutions.

A learning culture creates a strategic advantage that serves as a force multiplier.

According to ‘Creating a Culture of Innovation’ by ‘entrepreneur.com,’ and ‘Six Ways Leaders can Build a Culture of Innovation’ by ‘talent culture,’ two leading voices for 21st century innovation, creating an innovative culture requires a workplace that allows for the following five conditions:

  1. Dedicating time for creative projects
  2. Rewarding innovation and divergent ideas
  3. Empowering employees to make decisions
  4. Allowing for failure
  5. Measuring what matters most

I would argue that each of these five conditions can be enhanced with a focus on learning —- allowing and encouraging your team to explore and grow through learning.

Want to transform your organization through Learning?

Check out this compelling “open letter to business leaders,” written by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmonson and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative VP of Learning Bror Saxberg. They create a compelling case to make learning a corporate priority:



2 thoughts on “Learning: A Strategic Advantage

  1. Susan, this is really wonderful. I love the concept—AND we have been living it! It is time for another creativity night. You have proven that the concept applies beyond business—. What you have here is the seed of a broad spectrum program. It surely is a chapter in your book—or a second book devoted to the concept: “Susan’s Way”.

    Your website, linked in this post is GREAT. You MUST get that first book out there.

    Love and thanks for sharing this with me, Jud

    PS—I mean it—time to resume creativity night.


    • Judith you just made my day. Thank you. Especially coming from you, my mentor for lifelong learning. You live the essence of what I was saying in my article.


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