In a conversation the other day, I was asked about what’s needed, and what’s missing, in making the L&D revolution come to life. I’ve previously opined about the changes I think are necessary, but I realized that for folks making the change, there are hurdles. It occurred to me that there are some points of inflection that could make a difference.
As I had previously suggested, it’s idiosyncratic. I haven’t seen a systematic move towards a more enlightened L&D. You see one inspired individual either hired in, or promoted to have the opportunity. And it can be in any industry, anywhere. It’s one person who gets it. Sadly; as I fervently believe that we should be moving beyond ‘the course’ with some alacrity.
And, I do still believe that there are two necessary and linked steps. The first is for the L&D unit to practice what it preaches. It has to be optimal in operation and continually innovating. And evidence suggests that it’s not doing the former nor the latter. The other is to start measuring impact, not efficiency. Measurement should make clear that the approach isn’t effective, and drive the move.
But it occurs to me that the inspiration isn’t enough. For that inspired individual to succeed, they need support. That, of course, was what the book was about, but that’s not enough. Why? Because it’s complex, and it’s a lot to process and manage. Back to my old mantra: “the human brain is arguably the most complex thing in the known universe”! If that’s the case, thinking that simplistic steps will yield sustained change are potentially naive.
There are several points of inflection. Getting started with a strategic plan is one (how to move from here to there). Another is getting the buy-in of your team (“You want us to do what?”). Working successfully with your first biz partner. Getting buy-in (or forgiveness) from above.
When I look at learning design, innovation facilitation, and culture change I see a complex picture. And, I think it changes for each organization depending on their context in so many factors. So I’m inclined to worry that balancing all that and sequencing the right next steps while managing ‘up’ about the intent and process, while also transitioning to working out loud…you get the picture. Aligning with how we think, work, and learn is a process with many factors.
That’s why, I admit, I had hoped that folks who bought into the book’s story would also buy into getting some support. I’ve done some, but not as much as I expected. Idiosyncratically. Ok, so I didn’t set up some big think tank with high-powered marketing and a big sales pitch. That’s not my style (I undersell myself; it’s how I was raised ;). And, I do of course note that the rallying cry may still be ahead of its time.
Look, the revolution is still needed, and don’t assume it’s simple. If you’ve bought in, get help, wherever/however. I did point to some resources for moving to remote working, I reckon they’re also helpful here. And, of course, I’m still available to help as I’ve worked with others, whether providing workshops to help your team get on board, coaching you individually, or helping to do an environmental scan and strategic planning. But I hope you are moving in this direction regardless, and just be mindful of the points of inflection.