Article (October-2017)


The aroma of a learning organisation

Dheeraj Goyal

Designation : -   Vice President HR

Organization : -  VIP Industries Ltd., Mumbai


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How many times has it happened with us that we go to a restaurant not feeling hungry, probably just to accompany some colleagues, a friend or family members? We settle down, completely firm to our mission of staying an ascetic (no food) and try to engage ourselves in some random conversation, or fiddle with our mobile, while our colleagues proceed with their mission.

As time progresses, we begin to notice the humdrum of the place, the noise of the cutlery, the ambient lighting. While we are subconsciously absorbing the mindless motions around us, we start to experience a distinctive aroma, subtly gripping us and we feel drawn towards it. We look around to see what other mortal beings have on their plates. This visual treat along with the aroma triggers a reflex in us, and we pick up the menu card. Interestingly within minutes, we indulge ourselves and we embark on a food party.

So what really happened above! Some 'magical' forces influenced us and lead us to change our decision. Let us see what lessons can be learnt from the above analogy, towards embarking upon creating a learning culture at workplace.

Any workplace offers a jamboree of activities, each one seeking attention. Every task is super urgent and has already exceeded timelines. It hence becomes challenging to take a pause and let your rational brain decide which way to go.

Can we create such learning experiences whose aroma (effervescence) is able to draw people to at least bare minimally participate once. If the intent of providing learning is authentic, people will experience the true power of the intervention. If the culture promotes open communication, these people will share their stories with each other (humdrum of place, sound of cutlery). We need to be able to generate multiple learning journeys, because no two people are the same - their upbringings, their performance, their career path, motivations, learning styles, personalities (menu card). Finally of course the experience has to be uplifting (tasty food), for somebody to keep coming back again.