Your team is only as successful as the people who are part of it. Don’t you want each and every one to be as knowledgeable, adaptable, and skilled as possible?
Continual learning can help you attract and nurture the best talent available, keep hold of the talent you already have, and ensure that everyone (even team leaders!) are doing everything they can to keep abreast of the latest developments in your industry and make sure you stay competitive.
Continual learning creates ‘T-shaped’ talent
Every business values their specialists.
If you have a problem with your logo, you talk to your designer. If you can’t access your email, you get on a call to IT. If you sell 20 products, the chances are you have a go-to person for each of them.
There’s a lot to be said for having a ‘guru’. It keeps things tidy. But if you want your business to be an industry leader today, having a team with in-depth knowledge of only one subject each is no longer enough. You need to nurture ‘T-shaped’ talent in order to drive your business forward.
‘T-shaped’ talent are those team members who combine a deep specialist knowledge (vertical) with an ability to collaborate across disciplines with specialists in other areas (horizontal). While you might add people to your team who arrive with ready-made vertical knowledge, those horizontal skills can only be cultivated through a commitment to continual learning, by exposing your workforce to new ideas, new areas of the business, and new ways of working.
If your business generates a reputation as a hub for ‘T-shaped’ talent, you’ll find it easier to attract new talent, and keep hold of those already with you.
Plugging the ‘talent drain’ with continual learning
The changing nature of work isn’t only across disciplines, it’s across continents.
The world of work is increasingly borderless, and younger generations are using globalisation and emerging technologies to their professional advantage. Whether through relocation – across cities, states, and countries – or by working distributed, from Anywhere with a wifi connection, today’s workforce have fewer ties than those who went before them.
How do you stop the ‘talent drain’? You plug it with continual learning.
By offering your team the opportunity to gain the knowledge and expertise they need in-house, as a valued part of your organisation, you’ll motivate team members and generate loyalty and commitment to your cause.
People want to do good work, they just need the opportunity. Continual learning develops every individual team member, and the sharing of knowledge will lift the entire team.
Continual learning for everyone, even the team leader
You’re a team leader. Would you consider yourself still in training?
Of course you wouldn’t! You’ve reached the top of the chain. You’re successful in your field. You make key business decisions every day and your name is one the front door. Does that mean you have nothing left to learn?
Of course you do! To foster a continual learning environment within your team, you need to lead by example, and that starts with embracing the fact that even you, a master in the field, haven’t seen it all. There are new opportunities to learn in business every day, whether it be collaborating with a new team, getting your head around a new piece of technology, or even just watching an instructive video.
And if the team leader could benefit from continual learning to stay sharp, just think what it could do for everyone else?
The world moves on at breakneck speed. Only by reinforcing a culture of continual learning and growth, from the top down, can you and your team stay ahead of the curve.