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Growth Requires A Culture of Learning

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

growth-summit-2016-logo.jpgNext week I’ll be in Dallas attending the Fortune Sponsored Growth Summit Verne Harnish and our Gazelles coaches puts together twice annually.

You, our coaching customers, and anyone interested in growing their business is invited to attend.

Verne Harnish and our Gazelles Coaches are dedicated to learning and growing. 


The first Growth Summit I attended was in Las Vegas in 2007.  One of the most impactful speakers that two days was Robert Bloom who wrote the Inside Advantage.  In addition, at that Growth Summit Robert Cialdini spoke.  His Persuasion Principles are legendary and I shared these in my blogs:

At that same Growth Summit in Emergence At Work Steven Berlin Johnson Steven Johnson provided insights into why Collective Intelligence is such a powerful tool in solving problems.  His ideas have become an essential part of every weekly meeting in our Strategic Discipline meeting rhythms.

Paul Orfalea founder of FedEx Kinkos and author of Copy This shared how to Transform Obstacles Into Opportunities

Finally the most impactful speaker Fred Reichheld The Ultimate Question – Customer Advocacy shared his transforming idea on how to measure customer loyalty.  Net Promoter Score or NPS revolutionized how major brands and companies determine how to measure their customer’s allegiance.

It’s almost nine years since that Growth Summit, yet the influence and impact of these top thought leaders is still demanding the attention of business leaders throughout the globe.

What could you learn from attending?


Do you have a ravenous appetite for learning?  Do you have an unrelenting commitment to improve your leadership skills and company’s financial performance?

Watch this 10 minute video from Harvard Business Review to learn why learning is critical to growth in your business.


There are lots of articles on the Internet on the importance of building a learning culture in your business.  All of my Gazelles Customers have built or are in the process of putting together a system that consistently gets their people to initiate learning.  Through Individual Development Plans these company’s management and leadership inspire their people to grow, expand their capacity and reach their potential.

One of the best supportive articles I found is 10 reasons why a 'learning culture' is crucial to your organization - Motivated And Competent. It’s a quick read and offers many salient points.

  • A learning culture affects the performance of your organization.
  • It defines learning in these terms:
  • Questioning
  • Problem solving
  • Developing the full potential of employees (human capital)
  • Fostering an innovative and responsive environment
  • Idea sharing to stimulate and develop best practice
  • Learning events followed by ongoing coaching, to continually better performance
  • Mentoring and developing talent; continuously, and with an eye on the future
  • Developing successful habits via the process of learning and embedding. Repetition creates habit and then discipline “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” (Aristotle)
  • A mindset of ongoing learning; for practical reasons, and, for the pleasure of it.


The same article provides these reasons why:Strategic_Learning_Cycle.jpg

  1. Developing morale and motivation – being valued is crucial to employee satisfaction. (Motivation is more important than pay to many employees)
  2. To aid staff retention and lower costs. People may or may not leave your company – but do you want loyal, yet low-morale, staff staying and only giving you someof their potential? If they stay you definitely want them to be motivated, competent and engaged. Firing on all cylinders. People now need to learn throughout their lives to remain employable. And, to meet your needs as valuable employees of your organization
  3. Learning and development go hand in hand. Learning helps develop sound working practices aligned to organizational goals. The company pulls in the same direction
  4. Learning fosters understand and appreciation of other perspectives, by challenging rigid opinions and behaviors, thus helping avoid destructive silo mentalities
  5. Learning at a rate faster than change is critical. Ask yourself; ‘why have so many big organizations (such as HMV, Comet, Kodak have recently failed?’ The pace of change over last few years is astonishing and will probably only accelerate in the near future. Companies such as Apple and Google are flourishing. Is this by accident?
  6. Learning can increase productive capacity
  7. Learning can produce an ROI
  8. People, service and attitude are increasingly important to organizational success. These factors differentiate organizations in an age when products are increasingly similar / quickly copied
  9. If a company’s Board of Directors don’t have a learning culture they become irrelevant; stale, rotten. To avoid the fish rotting from the head (see Bob Garratt’s excellent book) leadership and learning need to be embedded in the cultural DNA via a ‘Learning Board’
  10. Learning and change are inextricably linked. A ‘learning culture’ helps:
    • identify problems with products / services and resolve them quickly
    • ‘out-innovate’ and out maneuver competitors
    • focus in on service quality
    • rapid corporate growth and assists the leap frogging of others (read this).

There’s lots of support for adapting a culture of learning.  My experience with my customers is those that encourage, support and provide a learning culture grow and thrive.

There’s still two weeks left to register your team to explore the Four Decisions that drive growth in your business: Strategy, Execution, People and Cash at our Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop Cedar Rapids, IA, Wednesday, November 2nd at The Hotel Kirkwood Center.  Plan to attend to make 2017 your best year ever. You can register by following the link above or click on the links in the upper right hand column of this blog.

Next blog I’ll be sharing presentations from the speakers at the Growth Summit. 

Topics: Growth Summit, Strategic Learning, Growth Summit. Learning, Strategic Learning Cycle

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Doug Wick, President

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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