Our software industry has a significant Lack of Training Culture. In my last articles, I wrote "Learning is not an Integral Part of your Profession", "An Employer must support their Employees", and "You hire for Skills but not for Attitude". Today, I focus on an employer who unlearned learning.
If you want to know more about me, you have the short version in my previous post "Learning is not an Integral Part of your Profession", and the extended version in my post "About Me".
Here are the Four Signs of the Lack of Training Culture.
Today, I'm arguing from the employee's perspective. I'm also writing about the software domain. This is only a stylistic choice.
I'll continue with the fourth sign.
You unlearned Learning
Leaning needs daily practice.
Learning is like a sport. First, you must learn the basics. This includes techniques and personal strategies on how to learn. Then, you must apply your practice daily and maintain your learning skill. I assume you were once pretty good at mastering the first part of your learning journey. This was your challenging time in school, university, and when you started a new job. I assume also you achieved a lot in your professional career. As a professional, the second phase of your learning journey starts. This second phase requires daily practice.
Your company lacks a training culture.
You are pretty good at your job as a senior professional. This means that you probably stopped doing your daily learning doses. You are pretty comfortable and do what is necessary to master all the daily challenges in your job. Neither does your company have a training culture to give you daily learning doses, nor do you do it in your spare time. Why should you? This works perfectly until new, fundamental challenges arise. This may be a new programming domain, technique, language, or even a new programming paradigm. Now it's time to return to square one and start learning, as you did so great in the past.
You unlearned learning.
Due to the missing daily practice, you likely unlearned learning. At least, learning is not second nature anymore. You may not recognize your lack of learning skills at first. But you recognize it immediately when new challenges arise that old thinking cannot solve. I hope it's not too late now, but I fear it is.
I want to tell you a story I happened to know when I was hired to change the development process of a software team. I changed control-based leadership based on orders to fulfill to trust-based leadership. Naively, I thought that the full potential of my team would now unfold. I was as wrong as I could be. My colleagues worked in a control-based structure for at least three years. They learned in the last years only to fulfill orders they got from their supervisors. The result was a standstill. They unlearned to organize themselves. This story also applies to learning. When you are out of practice, you must start at square one.