Are you a VP of Sales, Sales Manager or CEO looking to create the ideal learning culture for your team? You need to envision it first!
Learning culture means something different for any individual company. The one thing that unites every learning culture is the idea that the entire company plays a role in creating and maintain a learning culture.
It’s not something that a few executives can muster up and implement from a board room. Instead, it’s something that is sourced from each individual employee.
With that said, to envision the ideal learning culture for your team, you need to actually get their feedback!
Envisioning The Ideal Learning Culture For Your Team
Benchmark your culture:
Benchmarking is when you learn about where your current culture stands.
Maybe you think you provide a great culture of learning at your company but your sales reps disagree. Maybe it’s the opposite.
Regardless, if you want a successful learning culture, you need to understand what you’re working with right now.
How do you do this?
You need to create a survey for every team member to fill out. You can decide if these surveys are anonymous or not and how you want your team to fill them out.
Remember that the focus is on discovering honest thoughts and feedback. This feedback is crucial and will guide you as you create a culture of learning.
Some sample questions may include:
- Do you feel as though you are encouraged to figure out innovative ways to tackle problems?
- On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate the current learning and development initiatives at your company?
- How effective are you at learning how to develop more productive relationships with new and existing clients?
- What would you like to learn that would help you improve it to win more opportunities?
- What could you learn to help you relate better to clients and prospects?
- How well is management supporting you with your learning and development goals?
- How innovative are sales team meetings in helping you learn new ways to sell better?
Once you gather all of the completed surveys, you will know the current stance of your team’s learning culture. They will tell you if you need to start from scratch or expand on what you already have.
The surveys will also indicate any pitfalls you may encounter along the way.
And remember, these pitfalls aren’t going to be catastrophic. However, once you are aware of the most common ones, they will be easier to identify.
1. Withdrawing feedback
As a sales leader, you’ll want to keep in mind that habits take time to form.
At Criteria for Success, when we work with prospects, clients, or just one another, we always make it clear that we are a feedback organization. Rebecca, our Director of Marketing, pointed out to me that we truly work best when we are both giving and receiving feedback.
It’s only with the help of your sales reps that you will be able to create a lasting culture of learning. They’re the one in the trenches and they’re the ones that will be able to tell you what is working and what isn’t.
That’s why withholding feedback is a red-flag. This means your reps are feeling a multitude of things that could include not everyone being on board with the learning culture.
Another pitfall to consider is resentment. One thing that goes hand in hand with a culture of learning is constructive criticism. Charles, our CEO, mentioned that some sales reps may interpret constructive criticism as just, well, criticism. This is especially true when you’re flipping from a culture where feedback and constructive criticism didn’t exist before. It’s important to make sure your sales reps are completely comfortable asking questions to their peers and their managers. It’s also important that feedback goes both ways. Everyone form sales assistant to CEO is a part of the learning culture, and everyone has room to grow.
Elizabeth, our Operations Officer, brought up this point. The idea is that although organizations can actively value information gathering and problem solving, they can become too obsessed. In the fast pace of sales today, it’s not always possible for your reps to acquire all the information they need to perfectly solve a prospect’s problems. This is why it’s extremely important for your selling organization to have processes and systems in place that help your sales reps make the most intelligent inferences and decisions possible with the least amount of information possible.
When you finally get to creating your ideal learning culture, it’s really important that you factor in the potential pitfalls into your strategy or process.
This way, you are prepared to manage any issues that arises strategically.
Want to learn more? Read my eBook on this topic!