The IGA Coca-Cola Institute works to increase the people performance and business effectiveness through online learning, classroom training and support services. Today, Institute President Paulo Goelzer shares insights on the importance of developing a learning culture.

Since change is and will continue to be constant, there’s one correlating constant that we also know about retailers, managers and their employees: they—and the shopping experience they provide—must evolve over time in order for their productivity to increase. Simply put, the key to a successful evolution is developing a learning culture within your organization.

According to a Deloitte study conducted in 2013, organizations with strong learning cultures are 17 percent more likely than their peers to be market share leaders. It seems their out-of-the-ordinary shift in focus from preparing people for the job to supporting people on the job enables them to continuously develop the skills they need to succeed.

Another clear incentive to establish a learning culture is that it gets people out of the perpetual fire-fighting mode. All too often managers in the retail industry are completely taken up by dealing with immediate “fires” or problems, leaving no time for thought about preventing future problems. This mindset does not incorporate the learning necessary to address operational excellence, constant changes in customer expectations or shifts in competition.

At the IGA Coca-Cola Institute we believe that for managers to be proactive in developing people and increasing performance, a learning culture—that includes engaged senior management—must be implemented. This new learning culture requires a support model and tools that provide just the right amount of learning guidance, content assistance, and monitoring benefits to the learner and manager.

It’s also extremely important to remember that change does not happen overnight. Influencing a group of people to do something they have never done before may take months or years to be accomplished. Changing an organizational culture is a long term process, and it requires the vision and commitment to understand the root causes, avoid fires, develop solutions at all levels and learn first and foremost how to empower those around you.

Paulo Goelzer