We Are Learners First
We see it in our newsfeeds. We hear it at work and in our communities. The pace of change is unprecedented. Companies across every industry are “transforming,” and the “future of work” looms. But, what does it all mean? And how do each of us, in our own way, respond? Perhaps the answer lies in learning.
At our core, Ecolab is a growth company, and our growth is rooted in decades of learning. We are an ambitious, curious and solution-oriented team. Regardless of whether we have internal or external customers, I believe we each frame our daily interactions with the questions:
- What problems or opportunities are my customers thinking about?
- How can we help them realize those opportunities or solve those problems?
- What would it take to do this better than anyone else?
Focused, committed questions like these have led to our innovation, growth and impact for nearly a century. Ecolab is a team with a track record of curiosity-led, customer-centric learning. We see evidence of our learning mindset – our openness to new experiences and continued learning – in our numerous customer awards, the 23,000+ patents we’ve secured since 1960 and our investment of more than $1 million made weekly in learning and development worldwide.
Fundamentally, we know this: Without a learning mindset, we cannot be our best for our teammates, and we cannot deliver sustainably for our customers or shareholders. We also know that sustaining a learning mindset requires intention, commitment and support.
Learning requires intention
At Ecolab, we believe in a 70-20-10 learning model. That is, 70% of our learning happens through our work, 20% through mentoring and deliberate interactions with others and 10% through formal training. The 70-20-10 model is not new, but it feels even more relevant today than when it was first written.
Today, learning is a daily requirement, and more of our learning happens just in time in ways that we determine. I believe this offers us an extraordinary opportunity to control our learning environment, such as volunteering for a project to build a new skillset, staying informed about industry trends or offering to mentor another member of your team. With intention, our work is an extension of our educational journey, shifting our mindset from thinking about “training” ─ something offered or “pushed” ─ to “learning” ─ something sought, internalized and applied.
Our teams, our customers and our own development require us to approach learning as an essential and integral part of what we do. The difference we make for Ecolab doesn’t come from knowing it all, but from being willing to learn it all.
Learning requires commitment
Like most things in life, becoming excellent at learning requires ongoing attention. This commitment is about finding ways to ensure your learning desires become learning plans. Here are a few tips:
- Consider your learning and development goals carefully. Where do you want to get stronger? Why?
- Declare goals publicly. Tell your leader, your team and peers who can help hold you accountable. Learning is not a secret act!
- Celebrate and share small wins on your learning journey.
- Make time for reflection.
Learning requires support
We continue to offer learning support for our Ecolab team to work more expertly, more safely and more inclusively. Recent offerings include digital boot camps, unconscious bias training, sales trainings and functional onboarding, among others. In addition, our annual Development Week event is an opportunity for our teams around the world to spend some dedicated time thinking about career development.
I am very proud of our advances in manager and leadership development. We all rely on our managers to help shape and support our learning journey. Ensuring managers are equipped with the skills they need remains vital.
Building on a successful launch of Manager Essentials, our award-winning, global training program for managers, in 2018, we are excited to launch Leader Coach this year! This new program is designed to help leaders ask better questions and help their teams reveal learning insights, development goals and ways to improve performance. As we know from interacting with our customers, sometimes the right question makes all the difference!
More than ever, Ecolab’s growth depends on the growth of our individual team members. Together, we will continue to make a difference for our customers, communities and each other. We are partners, innovators and problem solvers. But first, we are learners.