Problem: Business leaders speak about technology and data all of the time. Still, some executives don’t fully adopt it within their organizations, regardless of the size of the company, to create a culture of learning.
Opportunity: To create a culture of learning, executives need to expand their views of quantitative data as a vital part of any business case, forecast, project, or allocation.
Resolution: Business leaders must integrate and fully embrace data with predictive and prescriptive outputs. Further, decisions have to move from the "gut" to informed ones based on analytics. And that requires learning and growth.
Learning’s now baked into the DNA of every business and an economic necessity. In fact, 80% of CEOs believe that companies have to create a culture of learning. As you know, the primary reason—automation—requires it. And while I don't think that the bots now rise to take over every job, I do believe that in the digital age, businesses have to ensure their teams work in partnership with automation. Nevertheless, as the chief growth architect focused on revenue growth for our clients, one feature of high impact businesses is their attunement to learning and growth.
Why Leaders Need to Shift Their Ideas on Learning and Growth
While leaders recognize that we live in digital information, many still operate with subjectivity. Yet, it’s a critical mistake. As much as experience and gut instincts worked in the 20th Century, that's no longer possible. Furthermore, the market moves too fast for any singular leader and their opinions.
Because of the power of AI, thought leaders now discuss and write about artificial intelligence versus the human brain. Eventually, the world has to deal with superhumans, and AI merged into their minds. In other words, automation now informs human action in combination with continuous learning and growth. We live in a world where AI gets embedded into everything.
Companies must instill learning and growth in the cultures of their companies as a competitive advantage.
A requirement for business comes in the form of data and also automation, which necessitates a culture of learning. Still, it's an area where leaders spend the least amount of time. Meaning, the urgency of work and new projects overwhelms the focus on learning and growth. However, leaders miss the point—the marketplace has lots of powerful automation built into it. Thus, companies must instill learning and growth in the cultures of their companies as a competitive advantage.
Why Executives Fail to Integrate Fully With Data and Learning
Let's go through the reasons why automation and data fail to capture the attention of executives. Again, something else always seems more urgent over learning and growth. But, business leaders who fail to understand how to create a culture of learning will lose their advantage.
1. Data Through the Lens of the Technology Team Only
Unfortunately, in many businesses, data still gets viewed as the purview of the tech team. As a result, data and technology get outsourced to one unit, as opposed to shared by all. In short, think of data as a diplomat in the board room.
2. Visualization Tools Don't Get Used by Executives and Leaders
Even though data visualization’s highly intuitive, excellent for learning and growth, tools don't get used nearly enough. So, company leaders have to create money for the tools and training a priority.
3. Data Does Not Inform Learning and Growth and Real-Time Decisions
As we know, anyone with a mobile device lives their digital reality on-demand. Unfortunately, many executives don't use resources for on-demand, real-time decision-making.
4. Experience Remains an Imperfect Expert
Admittedly, many leaders view the experience as superior to data. However, that's a serious mistake. Sure, experience counts, but in the modern age, it must accompany data. Of course, this requires continual learning and growth within a business.
5. Prior Success Clouds a Culture of Learning
Notably, prior success gets mistaken often for future success. As a result, business leaders assume that the conditions of the future remain the same. Of course, that's not correct, and it clouds informed decision-making based on real data.
6. Leaders Who Think of Lacking Data Integrity
In short, we live in a world of "fake news" and that permeates the board room. In other words, leaders who don't want to master the pivot in business prefer to judge the integrity of data they don't understand.
7. Marketplace Familiarity Deprioritizes Learning and Growth
When leaders rise through the ranks, often they fail to see that things change. And, as they become further removed in the executive offices, leaders lose valuable insights. In short, it's another reason why data information becomes infinitely more useful.
Creating a Culture of Learning in Your Business
Now that we explored why data, automation, and learning don't happen in many businesses, let's shift gears. Let's make it clear. Everything's interrelated for business development, including data, automation, and a culture of learning.
In other words, because of continually evolving technology, and for retention of top talent, a culture of learning is an absolute necessity. So, let's discuss what you should do to make it happen in your company.
1. The CEO Must Buy-Into a Culture of Learning
The first item on the list for a culture of learning—buy-in from the top. Meaning, if the CEO and other C-suite executives don't buy-in, learning and growth do not take root. As a result, in a world of automation, your company places itself in jeopardy.
2. Allocation of Money for Tools and Training
As we know, data information and analytics require an investment of funds. Furthermore, funds have to get directed to training and development for professional learning and growth. Therefore, businesses have to make the necessary investments for both tools and training.
3. Decisions at Leadership Meetings Revolve Around Data
One clear step to ensure that data, and also a culture of learning take root—have data play a starring role. Meaning, business leaders need to inform their teams that without the data to back-up any ideas, there's no discussion.
4. Learning and Growth Informed by Data for Success
As expressed, data necessitates a culture of learning. And, learning's an excellent activity for your business because it's a modern best business principle. As your team immerses itself more in data and learning, you see more opportunities and paths for growth. That drives financial success.
If the CEO and other C-suite executives don't buy-in, learning and growth do not take root.
For a deeper dive into creating a culture of learning and understanding what leaders must do in the digital age, get your free copy of Master the Pivot: How to Lead (And Win Big) in Times of Uncertainty.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.