Too often learning is thought of as something “done to others”. But you can’t force a person to learn any more than you can force a garden to grow.

And how does one make a garden grow? By creating the conditions for growth. Namely: water, soil, and sunlight. Create the right environment for growth, and plants will do what they are meant to do: grow.

The same goes for people. So what are the conditions for human flourishing? There are three: Home, Edge, and Groove.2

Strong Home

Home is about psychological safety. It’s the ability to be vulnerable without fear of being harshly judged.

It’s also the most reliable predictor3 of outstanding team performance.

When a team (or an agency) has strong Home, people bring new ideas forward. They extend themselves to help others, whether or not it’s advantageous to their career. Psychological safety fosters healthy debate. People give feedback to one another to help them grow. They admit their weaknesses so they might develop them into strengths.

Sharp Edge

Edge is about self-awareness, whether as an individual, a team, or a firm. Having a sharp Edge means you understand three things: your role, your mastery, and your direction.

Trying to develop yourself when you have a dull Edge is like trying to go on a journey without a compass or a map. You might get somewhere, but it probably won’t be where you want to go. And you’re just as likely to get lost or wander around in circles. A sharp Edge gives you direction and the confidence that you’re on the right path.

Steady Groove

Groove is about regular practice. It’s the momentum you build around the growth of your agency. Groove involves both feedback and practice. These form a virtuous loop: feedback identifies your skill gaps, and practice closes those gaps. When a gap closes, feedback finds a new one.

Consider a professional sports team. They practice for the big game with lots of immediate feedback. The big game arrives, testing their abilities in a high-stakes setting. Afterwards they analyze their performance, which sets the direction for more practice and feedback.

An agency with a Growth Culture operates the same way.

Home, Edge, and Groove are the water, soil, and sunshine of your people development ecosystem. Cultivate those and the learning will take care of itself.

2 From An Everyone Culture, which should be top of your reading list.

3 From What Google Learned From Its Quest To Build The Perfect Team.