Learning Rewired

#06 Leader as Listener and Learner

The industrial era was defined by the need to know everything. The new industrial revolution is defined by the need to learn and learn and relearn without inflexibility and attachment.

In this episode, Simon Ashton joins us for a conversation where he shares his views on the mainstream approaches to business education, the perception and implementation of emotional intelligence, and the tools that leaders need to develop to thrive in uncertain times. And, help us answers questions like:

  • Which intelligences will become increasingly relevant as we move into the age of AI?
  • And how do we construct a learning culture to support their development?
Simon Ashton, business psychologist, a trainer, and a leadership coach with over 15 years’ experience in L&D. London, United Kingdom.
Meet our Guest

Simon Ashton

Simon Ashton is a business psychologist, a trainer, and a leadership coach with over 15 years’ experience in L&D.


Having experience in Business Psychology for 15 years, and backed by Neuroscience principles, he helps train and coaching employers to find the best talent for their organizations by making them understand how individuals think, act, and feel, transforming performance and maximising potential to achieve tangible business outcomes.

Simon headed up his own L&D consultancy and has previously held a number of roles in the executive search field. Simon holds an MSc in Business Psychology and is accredited by the British Psychological Society as a psychometric assessment practitioner.

Learn more about Simon Ashton

In this Episode...

Are the skills that graduates learn in business schools the right type of qualification? I think that universities and business schools, whether you're looking at a masters or an MBA, are still focused very heavily on technical skills, technical competency, which is obviously still massively important in order to be excellent in your role. However, I think that those institutions still miss the softer skills.
Why is there inertia in investing in the development of soft skills in the workplace? There are lots of programs out there and some organisations bring the softer skills to the fore, but actually, they are harder to create the habits, they are harder to recognise. It’s much much easier to assess a technical competence than assessing the ability to relate to other human beings.
Do you think L&D is perceived as softer, less urgent, less necessary? Yes, do you have someone from an l&d perspective sat in the boardroom? Very, very rarely. Organisations are always about pounds and pence production. Learning organisations have an l&d function interwoven into the fabric of the organisation. They are consistently looking at how improve every conversation, every system that they work through, every opportunity is an opportunity to get better, and l&d then become almost a natural part.
How to implement a learning culture in more conventional organisations? You could start with your own. If you're a leader, and have a number of people or another team, you can start with your own pocket, you can start with working towards a learner mindset, a growth mindset very early on. You can't change the culture of an organisation, because it's very hard to swim upstream and, and change the direction of a business. But you can change your own little world, in my opinion, and the team that you work with.