A Vibrant Learning Culture Drives Success

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on June 18, 2018

With ongoing pressures to streamline operations, increase productivity, and build profitability, it's hard to stop and think about corporate culture. Yet a relentless focus on a learning culture is at the root of successful companies.

As Walt Disney once said, "You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality."

Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME

Jeannine Kunz, Vice President,

Tooling U-SME


Well-trained, motivated people are the secret weapon of high-performance learning companies.

Think of the advantages of a learning culture: employee engagement, strong productivity, consistent high quality, customer satisfaction, solid profitability and increased market share.

Who doesn't want that?

Building a strong learning culture, with clear career pathways, also helps address a top priority for manufacturers: retaining skilled workers. The bottom line? Reducing turnover saves thousands, and, in some cases, millions of dollars each year.

Traveling to visit organizations throughout the country, we receive countless questions from manufacturers about how to build a learning culture. To help, we created a new report, "A Vibrant Learning Culture Drives Success."

With insights from Amsted Industries, Arwood Machine Shop, Kyocera SGS Precision Tools. Pella Corporation, and Cox Manufacturing, the report outlines four steps toward building a strong learning culture:

  • Articulate a Vision. Learning, aligned with corporate strategies and key performance indicators, must be integrated into an overall company mission and reinforced everywhere from corporate web site to one-on-one meetings.
  • Demonstrate Leadership Commitment. True learning organizations drive vision and execution from the top by understanding the benefits of training and investing the time and resources needed.
  • Create a System for Continuous Improvement. Leadership can't claim that development is important without providing the tools to achieve it.
  • Ensure Accountability. When learning and development are integrated into corporate strategies (and pay scale), everyone within a company is responsible for upholding the learning culture.


Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer of i4cp and keynote speaker at our 2017 Tooling U-SME tuX event, says it best: "Unless your culture supports your strategy, your strategy is not going to execute at all. To really drive culture, you need leadership behaviors that exemplify the culture. It's the leader behaviors at the executive level, but most importantly at the mid-level and front-line leader level, that make the biggest difference."

As you gear up for the second half of the year, I encourage you to take a fresh look at your company and ask: Is learning part of our mission? How are we reinforcing that with our teams? How are we measuring and rewarding employees who are focused on continuous improvement?

These are perfect questions to contemplate while you are relaxing at the beach during vacation. And don’t forget your summer reading material. Download our free "A Vibrant Learning Culture Drives Success" today!

Tags: "Amsted Industries", "Arwood Machine Shop", "continuous improvement", "Cox Manufacturing", "high-performance learning organization", i4cp, "Kevin Martin", "Kyocera SGS Precision Tools", "learning culture", manufacturing, "Pella Corporation", "Tooling U-SME", tuX, "Walt Disney"