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Building a Culture of Learning at Work

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Building a Culture of Learning at Work

How leaders can create the psychological safety for people to constantly rethink what’s possible.


5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Companies can’t succeed until employees feel safe enough to try – and fail.

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Many organizations fall short of their goal to create a culture of continuous learning. To be successful, says renowned organizational psychologist and best-selling author Adam Grant, senior leadership must get comfortable with getting real. Management must talk openly and candidly about how they learn from their own mistakes, so their employees feel safe enough to do the same. Learning professionals and managers who want to get serious about building an honest, open and dynamic company culture will benefit from Grant’s cutting-edge research.


Employees need to feel psychologically safe before they can learn and grow.

Before an organization can build a culture of learning, its managers must first create an environment where people feel safe enough to make mistakes without fear of repercussions. If people feel pressured to deliver on pre-defined results, they will stick to already existing processes, rather than take the risk of trying something new.

Yet, making your employees feel safe is not a one-time exercise; psychological safety has to be continually reinforced through a feedback loop of openness and vulnerability between managers and employees.

Managers who effectively model vulnerability make their employees feel safe enough to undertake their own learning journeys.

To promote psychological safety, organizations have traditionally asked their managers to invite regular employee feedback. Yet an experiment conducted by Adam Grant at several companies revealed that this approach fails to have a lasting impact on ...

About the Author

Adam Grant is the best-selling author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know and Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World. He is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School.

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