The Learning Circuits’ Blog Big Question of the Month is whether and how get ‘unstuck’, when you’ve got a lot to offer and it’s well beyond what they expect you to do in your job.
This actually resonates with two separate things, some thoughts around ‘being revolutionary’, and a previous post based upon a similar complaint that triggered this month’s question (must be a lot of understandable angst out there). The previous post was about trying to meet unreasonable expectations, and the individual wasn’t getting the support they needed to do the job the way it should be done. Similarly the big question was triggered by someone knowing what should be done but feeling trapped.
The thread that emerges, for me, is that training departments can’t keep operating in the same old way, despite the fact that formal instruction doesn’t have to die (just improve). Incrementalism isn’t going to be enough, as optimal execution is going to be just to stay in the game, and the competitive advantage will be the ability to innovate new value to offer. It’s just too easy to copy a successful product or service, and the barriers to entry aren’t high enough to prevent competition. You never know when a viral or chaotic event will give someone a marketing advantage, so you’ve got to keep moving.
Trying to keep to the status quo, or slowly expand your responsibility is going to fail, as things are moving too quickly. You have to seize the responsibility now to take on the full suite of performance elements: job aids, portals, social learning, content and knowledge management, and more, and start moving. It still has to be staged, but it’s a perspective shift that will move you more strategically and systemically towards empowering your organization.
And back to the tactics, what do you do when your clients (internal or external) aren’t pushing you for more and better? Show them the way. While I’ve learned that conceptual prototypes don’t always work (some folks can’t get beyond the lack of polish, even when you’re just showing the proof of concept), try and mock up what is on offer, and talk them through it. Help them see why it’s better. Do a back of the envelope calculation about how it’s better. Bring in all the factors: outcomes, performance, engagement, learner experience, whatever it takes.
Then, if they don’t want it, do your best within the constraints to do it anyway (write better objectives, practice, etc. even if they won’t appreciate it), and live with what you can do. And, truly, if you’re capable of more (not more work, better/smarter work), and it’s on offer but continually not accepted, it probably is time to move on. Don’t give in, keep up the fight for better learning, your learners need it!