21st century is the century of learning. According to a Gallup survey on learning and development practices, 86% of all companies change something in their learning and development often than once a month and 72% of these companies struggle with building the best suitable solution that can help them enhance the learning process.
Learning and development professional face more and more challenges everyday and business leaders are making it even harder to succeed by putting more and more updates on learning practices and content faster to help them answer the changing environment and demands.
That can often lead to burn out and inability to deliver the best content in people, engaged with developing learning and development opportunities and deliver them to the wide range of company or client employees. Departmental or business leaders are often also responsible for delivering best in class training, and when they struggle with the process, they are often accused in not making it at the end and not be able to ensue department and company future.
If you are dealing with training and want to teach your organization how to adapt a constant process of training, delivering sustainable growth results you will need to invest time in changing the mindsets. Most people like taking some courses, but shortly after the course 68% of them don’t change anything in their work and behavior (according to a Delloitte survey from 2018 the percentage varies between 65% and 69% according to the country). Still, after all the challenges, if you want to create a learning organization, with culture of growth and development you will need to build a working strategy to ensure you will get the results you want. . Here are three strategies to help you with your organization transformation.
Manage learning function to cultivate ecosystems
The knowledge people need to be more successful is often divided into small pieces. In traditional organization, people take courses because they believe these courses will somehow help them to be better at their work, to achieve the so dreamed success, to achieve more wealth, etc. Often business leaders talk about learning from experience or the style known as “probe-mistake”. This is a powerful, but still very slow process of learning. To change that you will need to promote a different culture of learning. Start by connecting the dots between company plans, individual performance and learning opportunities. Your strategy here have to be to create an ecosystem where learning is seen as a necessary element from the individual performance growth process. When connected in a ecosystem, individual performance and learning become dependant elements, and the demand for one will be easily seen as opportunity for growth. When implementing this strategy you will need to focus on presenting real results from outside the company or a successful company department, to convince business and department leaders about the need to place the learning of new things as a element of the everyday tasks.
Turn from Firefighter to Firestarter
Most professionals who promote learning and development need to act as firefighters. The leadership team decides on a particular training and they need to organize it. Have you been in a situation when a Business leader comes and says “It cannot continue like that. People are not good at a particular skills. I want to send them to a course to learn that skill”. If not, you a re a lucky one. But many professionals and mid level leader in the organization, who are close to learning and development have experienced that. To change that you will need to be a promoter of the learning needs. To become a leader, promoting learning and development, you will need to move from the position of firefighter, or someone who is reactive on different situations to firestarter. To be a Firestarter means to be proactive, to be the one who flames the spark in others to seek learning and development, driven by the thoughts for success, based on learned new skill. If you achieve that you will be better accepted as the person in the room who supports growth, as the one who is in the center of the development path for the employees
Turn from traditional learning and development promoter to a trusted advisor
Most leaders assume the role of traditional advisor of what people need to learn in order to succeed. Why is this wrong? Well, what have worked for you, may not work for another person. The courses you have taken, may have changed, or may not be providing useful tools for the way a person works. If you, as a leader want to be accepted as learning, development and growth promoter, you will need to focus on position yourself as someone with:
- Learning & Development expertise – a person familiar with different approaches ensuring solid learning opportunities and development and growth
- Business expertise – learning and development you provide for your people must business oriented. To be accepted as the leader supporting development, you need to get a lot of business expertise. A leader knowing much about the business, the processes, the models, the paths, the pain points is the one who gives meaningful direction to the employees on his team how to develop to be seen as valuable business goals contributors
- Advisor capability – \the leader is not someone who points. When you need to step into leadership role you will need to learn to stop managing and commanding and start advising. A leader who support learning and development is the one who gives freedom employees to chose the way they will learn. Advisory role must only be used to guide them what skills they need to be successful, without pointing on particular courses or methods. When assuming the role of an Advisor, the leader helps others to freely chose from options they see, instead of trying to get the best from options that are not valuable for them.
As a leader you will need to step away from the process of development and become a trusted advisor when needed and supporter of individual choices without criticizing them, when they are made. Now imagine your role is more than a department leader role. Imagine you are responsible for a whole business. Imagine you will need to change the culture of a whole organization and teach that organization how to win in the future by enabling it’s employees to chose how to develop crucial for the business skills.
Are you ready to do it?….