In the world of accounting, clients choose your Firm because they know that the team is knowledgeable, professional, and experienced.
There are times, though, when that expertise can hold you back. It can lead to rigid thinking when circumstances call for nimble decision making and creative solutions. Times change, and the need to keep an open mind — and continue learning — never ends. It’s critical to foster a culture of ongoing learning in your organisation. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage a beginner’s mindset with your team.
What is a beginner’s mindset?
Have you ever noticed how inexperienced people can sometimes be the most perceptive? For example, it’s not uncommon for newbie’s to spot a process inefficiency or an opportunity for improvement that the office veterans missed.
That’s because the newbie is looking at things with fresh eyes. Experienced people get acclimatised to processes over time, which means they start to filter out information they think is irrelevant. This can cause them to miss obvious areas for improvement.
A beginner’s mindset is about trying to see things from a beginner’s perspective. If you can get your team into this mindset, your firm will be able to take advantage of change rather than belatedly react to it.
When your team embraces the beginner’s mindset, these insecurities fall away. Everyone is free to ask questions without judgment, and subject matter experts are encouraged to review and, if necessary, revise their most fundamental assumptions.
Building a learning culture
Some things to consider:
- Ask your team what they want to learn.
Address any knowledge gaps you feel exist within your team with upskilling opportunities, but also approach everyone in a group meeting or individually to ask what skills they want to learn or improve. Some employees might come up with areas you hadn’t recognised as a skills gap. Deciding to provide training in that area may significantly improve your competitiveness.
- Look for internal subject matter experts.
Your team already has an incredible amount of knowledge. Find out what everyone is good at and what they would be comfortable discussing with their colleagues. Everyone has something to contribute. For instance, a recent graduate who is just beginning their professional career might be able to speak about subjects that more seasoned colleagues are less comfortable, such as social media.
- Access high quality tools
It’s not always possible to ask your inhouse experts to create reusable, learning materials. The task of systemising your Firm can be overwhelming and this kind of work can represent a major time investment on the expert’s or Partners part. CCH iKnow Practical Tools delivers over 500 practical tools like calculators, checklists, worked examples, procedures, flowcharts, and task-based workflows which ensure you always know the next step to take.
- Bring in outside expertise.
Bring high quality, external experts in to train your team. CCH Learning offers a complete CPD learning experience for Tax, Accounting, Finance and Legal professionals by providing access to high-quality professional, and personal development, live and recorded webinars. The comprehensive range of topics help professionals stay up to date with relevant industry and legislative changes, major market developments, and the skills they need to advance their professional careers.
- Make learning part of a normal day.
When should you devote time to education? In a learning culture, the answer is: always. You can help make learning part of the regular routine by scheduling lunchtime learning or including knowledge-sharing as an agenda item on meetings. If possible, encourage people to set aside some time in their schedule to focus on skills development.
- Share your learning wins.
A learning culture is, above all else, a culture. It is part of who you are as a Firm. The team can benefit from talking to each other about what they’re learning, share advice and resources, and encourage each other to continue developing. Consider starting an internal learning newsletter to help them do this.
A learning culture is a win for everyone
Another benefit of learning cultures is increased employee engagement and retention. When people are learning, they’re growing. And when they’re growing, they’re getting closer to achieving their professional goals. That sense of career momentum helps people feel energized about their work — and encourages them to stick with your team over the long term.