In a recent post, Harold Jarche talks eloquently about moving into the networked era, and practices of workscaping. He points to this insightful model by Jane Hart, showing the bigger picture supporting performance in the workplace, or what I like to call Big L learning.
What occurs to me, however, is that there are two separate places you’ll get to. If you master formal learning and performance support (and while that’s the only thing many L&D groups do, there’re far fewer that do it well), you’re only going to support execution. While that used to be ok for a time when we could plan in advance, the increasing turbulence in markets – product cloning happening in weeks, information tsunamis, etc – means that even optimal execution alone isn’t going to be a differentiator.
What’s going to be needed is continual innovation, and that simply won’t, can’t, come from formal learning. It’s not even going to come from performance support, which while not full courses, is still designed. What you need to do to get continual innovation going is communication and collaboration. The myth of individual innovation is busted, and it’s talking together, and more importantly working together, that is going to lead to the new ideas, better processes, optimized systems, and more. Creativity, research, problem-solving are at the core, and those don’t come from formal learning.
You do need to have formal learning, don’t get me wrong, but that’s just the ante. The real game is going to come from tapping into the power of your people. You’ll have to create the right culture, get a shared vision, and empower your people with the resources to do the job. It includes the right mindset, skills, and tools. When things are aligned, you’re going to have the important outcomes: problems solved faster, shorter times to new product and service ideas, better customer relationships, and more.
You can figure it out on your own, but if you want to get there faster, you may want to get some help in accelerating your path to this new way of working, the sustainable path to success.