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How to Create a Learning Culture in our Organizations

In this video, Ms. Philippa "Pip" Penfold answers questions about AI and Ethics on HR systems and processes -PART 2. To watch the full presentation, please follow HR CHANNEL on Below, you can also read the transcript of Ms. Pip's answers in the Q&A.

This is part 2 of our interview with Ms. Pip Penfold. You can watch Part 1 here.

QUESTION 2: How can companies create a learning culture?

Okay, I'm gonna go back in time for a minute and talk about where this idea of learning culture or learning organizations came from. It's actually a really old idea. It's by a chap called Peter Senge. He wrote a book called The Fifth Discipline. If you're interested in what generates learning organizations or learning cultures, his book is still where it all began, but also where it is all rooted.

So my first tip for anybody interested in this is to go and read Peter Senge's "The Fifth Discipline." I studied it a long time ago from change management and I found it really interesting because I keep seeing it resurfacing. I think it was in the late 90s. Actually, it's a fairly old book by today's standards, but you'll see so much of today in the book. He really was a man before his time. If we take Senge's work, and we blend it with where we are today, one of the core things is systems thinking. It is really where we can look at the whole system. Now, we've got a problem.

In business, it's not just our problem in HR, we struggled to look beyond our function. We really do, most of us. And this is wrapped up in so many things about how we've developed, how we're rewarded, its depth, and its expertise. Remember the old contract? You know, as a social contract, when we were younger; pick what you want to do, study it, be really good, and you'll be employed for life. That was the deal. To become an expert. That was the deal.

The deal doesn't stand anymore. But what we've ended up with is these huge silos in our workplace. Very few people have a whole system view. Most of us work within our own area, whether it's HR, finance, risk management, wherever it is. Today, the creation of unique value, or something unique, that is valued by customers, is what gives us the Winning Edge. It's not doing things most efficiently, everyone can do that. That's what used to make our businesses win. Innovation is the new pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

If we think about what creates valuable innovation, we step one back - it is collaboration. It's a cross-functional collaboration. It is between the functions where the sparks of innovation fly. It's not in our area. We know it well enough. It's between the areas.

So, the need in our business to be able to produce that innovation is the team idea. And a lot of us have been moving to teams for a very long time, cross-functional teams, and the skill sets that are needed to be able to effectively work cross-functionally. And this, ironically, does not require expertise in our area. So if we think about the need to operate, to collaborate, in a cross-functional team setting or environment, that goes very neatly with our ability to develop a system view. It is because it takes us beyond the borders of our area.

In my mind, if you are looking at best practices today, it is being able to break people out of their mold of where they are today, in their area. Not just provide learning but tweak their curiosity and build the capability of working beyond their area, different language. Now, I'm not talking, you know, Vietnamese and English. I'm talking about IT and HR, because we speak very different languages. Build that vernacular. Build that vocabulary so that people can collaborate more effectively. And then as you move, you'll be able to move people into a much stronger growth mindset. But build it with that idea of cross-functional collaboration with the need for proper systems thinking in an innovative environment. That would be my recommendation. It is not an easy one. Start with Senge's book, that's the easy answer!

To watch the full presentation, please follow HR CHANNEL on

This is part 2 of our interview with Ms. Pip Penfold. You can watch Part 1 here or click the banner below.

Subscribe to our blogs and get notified when Part 3 of our One-On-One with Ms. Pip goes live. Happy new year !!

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