Executive Development Blog

7 Steps to Creating a Lasting Learning Culture

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Oct 20, 2016 11:19:16 AM

Globalization, technological advances, demographic shifts, and rapid business changes make creating a learning culture in organizations more critical than ever. These shifts are also requiring more transformative approaches to learning as leaders struggle with ambiguity, uncertainty, and demands for greater transparency and knowledge. Organizations and individuals must be continuously learning, adapting, and improving or they risk professional obsolescence.

A learning culture is a systematic approach to establishing a personal and organizational growth mindset. It is a culture of inquiry. Organizations with learning cultures encourage employees to constantly add knowledge and develop competence. They encourage employees to have open minds and an independent quest for knowledge and shared learning because these qualities help achieve organizational goals.

learning.jpgTo create a learning culture consider taking the following steps:

1. Rethink the traditional learning and development approach.
It is time for leaders to realize that the way employees want to learn today—through mobile learning applications and other readily accessible online lectures, TEDTalks, webinars, and podcasts—has permanently changed the traditional learning and development process. Employees want more control of their own learning, making learning a continuous process, not one-time-only classroom style events. There is no substitute for the bonding and peer relationships that stimulate learning in formal classroom development, but organizations must integrate mobile learning applications and other learning-on-demand resources into their organizations.

2. Broaden your organization’s definition and understanding of intelligence.
A true learning culture must view intelligence as more than just cognitive skills. Leaders must expand their organizations’ intelligence perspective to include a deeper understanding of emotional and cultural intelligence. As organizations broaden their definition and understanding of intelligence, they must provide employees the necessary skills to manage and value differences in thinking, working, and problem-solving. Leaders must provide emotionally safe environments for people who are easily labeled as “different.” This is the most fundamental responsibility of an inclusive organization that wants to retain its talent.

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Topics: employee engagement, talent development, organizational culture, learning and development

How Leadership Can Build a Resilient Culture

Posted by Chad Vamos on Aug 21, 2014 11:01:31 AM

Below is a summary of a white paper written by Marion White

Building a Resilient Organizational Culture

A 2012 Towers Watson study found that in most organizations, only 35 percent of employees said they were engaged. In other words, 65 percent of employees have mentally checked out, causing productivity, innovation, and creativity to plummet. 

While this is never good news for employers, the timing could not be more critical as organizations across the globe continue to struggle to survive. Thought leaders are increasingly calling today’s turbulent business world a “VUCA” environment—one that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. To succeed in this environment, organizations must be more adaptive and agile than ever before—they must be resilient. Organizations that lack resilience—that ability to bounce back after setbacks—are often stressful places to work, a situation in which far too many employers and employees are well versed. 

Stress lowers employee performance, productivity, morale, and strains workplace relationships. People experiencing excessive stress have difficulty managing emotions, focusing attention, making decisions, and thinking clearly. Stress can also result in heart disease, cancer, pain, and depression. Stressed employees are overwhelmed, tired, and disengaged. 

Resilient employees, on the other hand, are more engaged and productive, have improved communication, are better team players, and have lower health care costs. And a growing body of research shows that organizations that foster positive attitudes have employees who are more optimistic, creative, and experience lower turnover.    

Organizational Culture

Resilient organizational cultures give all employees—from the CEO down—permission to take care of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs with the understanding that when these needs are tended to, resilience occurs, and the entire organization benefits through increased productivity, job performance, retention, engagement, and physical well-being. It makes sense, then, that HR and talent management professionals should strive to shift their organizational cultures to one that embraces and fosters resilience.

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Topics: employee engagement, leadership, organizational culture, change

Leadership Exercises to Build a Resilient Organizational Culture

Posted by Kip Kelly on Apr 16, 2014 10:10:00 AM

Below is an executive summary from a white paper written by Marion White, an Account Director here at UNC. To download the entire paper, click here.


A recent Towers Watson study found that in most organizations, only 35 percent of employees said they were engaged. In other words, 65 percent of employees have mentally checked out, causing productivity, innovation, and creativity to plummet. 

While this is never good news for employers, the timing could not be more critical as organizations across the globe continue to struggle to survive. Thought leaders are increasingly calling today’s turbulent business world a “VUCA” environment—one that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. To succeed in this environment, organizations must be more adaptive and agile than ever before—they must be resilient. Organizations that lack resilience—that ability to bounce back after setbacks—are often stressful places to work, a situation in which far too many employers and employees are well versed. 

Read More

Topics: VUCA, UNC, talent management, burnout, leadership development, organizational culture