Leading with Learning
At Pluralsight, we are very proud of our company culture. It's truly an amazing place to work. One of the most amazing parts about our culture is the mission behind all we do: creating progress through technology that lifts the human condition. Our new values of creating with possibility, being committed to something bigger, being accountable for excellence, seeking context with intention and being our word drive our passions and lift us higher. As we reach further, we strive to make learning a priority, every day.
A learning mindset: What sets Pluralsight apart
This value isn’t specifically called out in our culture guide— but it is a game-changer for our technology organization. Because we have a mindset of learning and growth, we’re able to ask those difficult questions in the spirit of seeking context. We’re optimistic as we constantly push for creative, innovative solutions. And we feel empowered in our committment to something bigger as we’re better-equipped and more knowledgeable to tackle those tough challenges facing our business.
Learning results in higher productivity, more job satisfaction and employee happiness, and overall success as a technical organization. And while it may seem obvious for a company that provides a learning platform, it isn’t something that just happens.
Creating a culture of learning at Pluralsight
What does a learning mindset look like? To me, it’s people who are interested in constantly learning new things—who recognize we can always get better, who are open to suggestions and –as equally as important – are willing to teach and make suggestions to others in a positive way. So, how did we create a culture of learning?
As a result of this learning mindset, we recruit, interview and hire based upon this value (and our five other core values) because of the positive impact it has on our organization. And based upon my career experience, this is pretty unique.
My introduction to a company with a culture of learning
From the moment I began interviewing at Pluralsight I knew things were different—I just didn’t realize how different.
It started off with an inside tip to read Deming’s, The New Economics, prior to interviewing. So, I powered through it the day before I had my culture interview. And the next day in the office, I was ushered into a conference room for interviews with the leadership team. In the room, several of my favorite business/leadership books lined the shelves. Drive, The Advantage, Good to Great, Mindset, Creativity Inc.,The One World Schoolhouse and more all stared me in the face as I met with the team. At this point, I knew if all went well, I would have the opportunity to work with and learn from people who took leadership and continuous learning seriously.
And all did go well. Since joining Pluralsight, I’ve come to respect our CEO, founders and the leadership team for their commitment to learning and the work atmosphere they’ve created. They have created a unique environment that fosters learning and growth, which in turn has created a successful business. Personally, I have learned so much from each and every one of them. However, my biggest surprise has been how much I have learned from my team—they are truly amazing! I have discovered more than I could possibly have imagined (or list here), but here are just a few of the things my team has taught me:
- Domain-driven design with great reads by Eric Evans and Sam Newman.
- How messaging architectures could be superior to more traditional API-based architectures (with principles from Udi Dahan).
- What software craftsmanship is, what it means to take real pride in your work and the necessity of investing in yourself and your craft. Plus, they introduced me to “Uncle Bob”— priceless!
- How to use containers, how to effectively move from a hosted environment to the cloud, what real quality is and so much more.
- The value of not being overly prescriptive and how to apply Lean and implement a Kanban framework that can be tailored by each team.
- What it means to have a true continuous delivery pipeline and that an integrated approach to product development really is possible.
Leadership and learning go hand-in-hand
Yet, the most important thing I’ve learned from this team is: As a leader, you have to empower your team and be willing to learn from them. This can sometimes be uncomfortable, but I have learned to be a truly great leader, or even a good one, you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You can’t expect to lead – or even teach – if you’re not open and willing to learn first. I have found over and over again that when we empower the team, we end up in a far better place than we would have if we had just done what I or another leader had directed.
I am extremely grateful for all the things the Pluralsight team has taught me. My hope, with the introduction of this tech blog (which as you might have guessed will be run by the team), is that you and others may also have the opportunity to learn from this amazing group of people and technologists.