In an post this past spring, I opined that we do have to change. One obvious related question is what that change would look like. What would an effective L&D unit be doing, and what would the employee/manager/exec experience be? This is a longer topic, but here’re some initial thoughts that I really would welcome your thoughts on.
I see employees experiencing less ‘training’. As I’ve said, effective training is expensive when done properly, and should be used only when significant skill shifts are needed. It should only be for proprietary approaches, otherwise you should use others’ materials. And it only is for upskilling new employees (and only when needed), or when a significant change is happening.
I’d expect to see more performance support, easily accessible via user-centric portals and search and delivered when and where needed. Similarly social would play a much more central role, arguably our first recourse. Employees would be tightly coupled to their work teams, and more loosely coupled to their communities of practice. Teams would be diverse and flexible, and group work would be the norm.
Resources would be sometimes created, sometimes crowd-sourced within (or without) the organization, and sometimes curated. Much curation would happen by individual in communities monitoring the larger network, individuals in teams bringing in relevant elements from their communities, and sharing back reflections and outcomes that inform the community while communities would share back to the larger network. This is the vision of the Coherent Organization.
Managers would be playing a leadership and mentoring & coaching role rather than a directive role. They’d be looking to share the vision of goals and rationale, and then supporting performance aligned towards this goal. Executives would be aligning manager visions with organizational goals, monitoring performance, and facilitating infrastructure to support effective communication and cooperation, and well as establishing and maintaining a learning organization culture.
The L&D unit would need to be monitoring the effectiveness of communication and collaboration, management, and leadership, as well as experimenting with new tools to support the work. The L&D unit becomes responsible for the learning to learn skills, the learning and performance tools, and the corporate culture.
If organizations are to successfully couple optimal execution with continual innovation, particularly in times of increasing change and decreasing resources, the mechanisms for success transcend training. Providing support when needed, and leveraging the power of people will be key. Does this make sense? Next step: how do you get there?