In what was my last Quinnsights column for Learning Solutions, I wrote about how the transformation wasn’t (or shouldn’t) be digital. In many ways we aren’t aligned with what’s best for our thinking. Thus, digitizing existing approaches doesn’t make sense. Instead, we should be fixing our organizational alignment first, then digitizing. The opportunity is in aligning and enabling transformation.
First, we should be looking at all the levels of organizational alignment. At the individual level we can be doing things like implementing federated search, to support individual learning. This should be coupled with providing development of writing good search strings and evaluating search outcomes. This also means curating a suite of resources aligned with learning directions and future opportunities. The point being that we should be supporting evidence-based methods for individual development, then supporting digitally. For instance, supporting learning-to-learn skills. Taking them for granted is a mistake! It’s also about ongoing support for development, e.g. coaching. Good practices help, and tools that document approaches and outcomes can assist.
At the group level, there are again ways in which we can be fostering effectiveness. This includes having good collaboration tools, and assisting people in using them well. It can also be about policies that make ‘show your work’ safe. Then you can augment with ‘show your work’ tool. Again, having the right practices and policies makes the digital transformation investment more valuable. You could pick the wrong tools if you’re instituting the old ways instead of doing the process work first.
This holds true at the organizational level as well, of course. The policies and practices cross the organization. Thus, what works for teams comes from an organizational focus on learning. Then, the digital investments are focused on the most optimal outcomes. The alternative, digitizing unaligned practices, can only hinder improvement to be a successful organization.
There are a lot of myths about what works. This includes learning myths, but also bad HR practices. Many stem from maintaining approaches that are carryovers from industrial age business. Instead, we should be leveraging our knowledge of thinking to be strategic. L&D can be critically contributing to organizational success! Or not. There’s a big opportunity to shift practices in a positive direction, with upsides for outcomes. However, it takes the understanding and the will. What will you do?
This is related to the talk I’ll be giving as the opening keynote for the ATD Japan Summit in December (though I’m filming it for virtual delivery). I get my thinking done here first ;).