Instilling the Learning Attitude in Teams


The Pandemic and its impacts have decimated the global economy, with businesses being disrupted and the world reeling from the aftermath. Small businesses forced to shut down, consumers scrambling to cope, supply chains & logistics totally disrupted, low or no growth projections, layoffs, little liquidity – all these factors, over and above the looming Pandemic. Amidst all this, organizations and businesses have to cope with routine, serving customers and trying to ensure business continuity. In these extraordinary times, it is not only for CEOs & leaders to step up to the plate. When the organization’s future is at stake, it is every member of the organization who will need to work harder, look at new ways of resolving issues and contribute their bit towards ensuring business continuity. 

As the saying goes, “within adversity lies opportunity”. The Pandemic is the biggest adversity humankind has seen in recent times. And ironically, this adversity is a compelling change and therein lies the opportunity. It is time for organizations, businesses, CEOs & leaders to realize – No more will only pre-pandemic processes, systems and approaches be sufficient. To ensure business continuity in the Pandemic, newer approaches, faster processes, innovative systems & above all, a building a learning culture will drive the change within the business. This also includes coming up with corporate collaborations like partners portal offering Payoneer coupon code to businesses seeking international money.

 Yes, there will be a resistance to change – it is intrinsic to human nature. Team members may be reluctant to learn new things or initiate new processes. But this can be changed and new habits can be cultivated. It is for the good of the organization and most importantly, a new initiative towards growth. 

Learn to Unlearn: 

This is best illustrated by the famous Zen story about “emptying the cup”. There is a young man who prides himself on his skill in the martial arts, till someone tells him of a great Sensei (master) who teaches only students he selects after scrutiny. After long travels, the young man reaches the monastery and where the Sensei – a frail, slightly built man, invites him in. On hearing his request, the Sensei tells the young man to have some tea, while requesting him to share what he knows and is capable of. While the young man keeps on speaking of his prowess, the master keeps on filling his cup till it overflows and beyond. When he interrupts his narrative to stop the pouring of tea by the Sensei, he is told:  “That is your 1st lesson! Empty your cup – you are so full of yourself that I cannot add anything to you. Remain empty – unlearn, unlearn, and know only that you know nothing.” Perhaps for leaders and teams, maybe it is time to empty their own cups and look for new ways to resolve issues, execute tasks and take a new approach. 

No one is Perfect: 

Especially in a crisis like this, no one expects anyone to be perfect and correct, with readymade solutions all the time. History is witness to it – the greatest processes, businesses, leaders and people have all failed more than once. But they have always analysed what went wrong and tried to ensure it is not repeated. This is a great opportunity to calmly reflect and analyse, re-examine – processes, goals, team-dynamics, systems – whatever can help in lighting the way forward. Including the team in decision making and brainstorming only builds a stronger, more resilient organization. Why not ask for inputs, ideas and suggestions? Jettison the past and learn anew! 

Tap the Team’s collective knowledge:

Pre-pandemic, the team has taken their instructions and guidance from you. It’s time to leverage the team’s collective knowledge and expertise to the organization’s benefit. Series of brainstorming and planning sessions held with the team will surely yield quite a few ideas – maybe some that could actually work. The core takeaway here is that everyone is part of a single process and trying to contribute – also, it reinforces that the business continuity is a collective responsibility. Towards that, it is a unifying factor and builds team spirit & that of sharing. This helps in boosting a pro-learning attitude within the organization. 

Make a Start:

There’s a famous adage – “the journey of a 1000 miles starts with 1 step”.  Remember how you started of the entrepreneurial journey with company registration? Similarly, kick-start your routine – start doing something, however small. Often, with some processes, unless you start, you will not know what to change and how. Moreover, inaction often leads to stagnation and in the current crisis, that just will not do. Put special focus on renewing and reaffirming business relationships. Once the team sees you in action, quite a lot of things will fall into place as they assume responsibilities and try newer ways of doing things. Once the people see the team striving, collective strength comes to the fore and the team emerges more resilient & agile from the crisis. From the daily routine, slowly a pattern will emerge and a positive direction for thinking on future goals will emerge. 


The ongoing pandemic crisis will not go away overnight – in the meantime, what matters is focusing on the Team and the organizational goals, both. Learning is two-way – unlearn and learn. Don’t strive for perfection, just focus on results and towards a collective team effort. Ideate and brainstorm with the team, let them also vet ideas & build processes to drive those ideas in action and then, start. Keep an open mind and receptive attitude – and you will be surprised at the progress you make! 

Swapan Dholakia is a senior Communications and Trade Advocacy professional. His current interest areas are trade diplomacy and leveraging Communications to impact society & audiences at large.


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