Phil is an experienced Test Manager and Test Consultant with 20 years of experience. He has helped a number of major organizations in their IT and digital transformations. He is the co-founder of Tesena and supports the company and its staff in changing the testing world.


Learning Culture: Adapt or Die

Does this sound familiar to you? You are facing ever bigger and more complicated challenges in your IT transformation. You are missing both the people and the skills that you need. Your current team seems to lack motivation to learn new skills. Your top talents are leaving, and your HR department is pulling their hair out because they cannot even find replacements for the people who left. Well, it certainly sounds familiar to me from my days as Test Manager on some major IT transformation projects, and that was 10 years ago!

Moving on a few years and now in the role of a CEO of a Software Testing Company I have learned ‘the hard way’ that the world around us is now not just complicated, it’s complex. Change is both constant and unpredictable. There’s not enough time to adapt by training or hiring resources before the work needs to be done. But we just keep struggling on because we are under constant pressure to produce results

This situation is not sustainable in the long-term. You need to adapt, or you die, or at best just burn yourself out.

What’s the solution to this problem? Well, the $320 billion Corporate Training Industry will tell you that you need to build an enterprise capability in learning, capability development, and career growth. They are (probably) right. Building a learning culture should not only help you meet your current challenges but also enable you to adapt faster for the next ones. It should also help you make your team happier, more engaged, and more motivated.

I want to share my personal experience. In our company we have tried to focus on people development from the beginning. Eight years ago, our first employees were hired through a junior talent recruitment program with a 4-day training program. This junior program now takes six weeks of intensive study and experience building. We have been forced to constantly update and experiment with how we support our learning culture. Sometimes we have succeeded, sometimes we have, unfortunately, failed.

However, there have been a number of eureka moments of realisation. For example, that learning takes place in a much wider range of activities than just through training, study or ‘on the job’. Sometimes great learning is achieved through how your team communicates and interacts, and that learning is something best done with others.