There is a framing issue with thinking about organisational capability (and individual capability) that has been troubling me. And that’s the posing of organisational issues as learning needs – rather than learning needs AND/OR required systemic changes.
It’s an evolution of the problem of L&D just thinking about their offering in terms of a classroom or online experience. It’s the assumption that the problem associated with a lack of delivery of an action (or behaviour) is a lack of capability or knowledge.
I don’t have stats.
I’m just going to say confidently that more times than not – unless the skill is technical – issues are systemic or a combination of required learning and organisational adjustment.
For example… Our leaders aren’t compassionate. Our leaders aren’t emotionally intelligent. Our leaders don’t care about their people.
I bet if you found them in the middle of a family crisis most of them are. Because most of them are human. They just don’t feel required or expected to be that in the office. In fact they may feel the opposite.
So better questions, before we design learning support or interventions, might be
- What is getting in the way?
- Why aren’t people feeling acting in a different way is legitimate?
- Why are they choosing to be different?
- And how could we influence that choice?
Because it could be
- Process signposts the wrong things
- Leaders role model the wrong things
- Incentives align to the wrong things
- Stories abound in the organisation of what happened last time
Attempting to get someone to change their behaviour in a sustained way when the environmental pointers are pushing them away is a frustrating and sometimes impossible journey.
Asking them what’s getting them in the way often may be a cheaper, faster, better way of getting to the heart of the issue. If you want learning to stick it’s the organisation’s responsibility to make sure it is supported by the organisational systems.
L&D + supportive culture = sustained change.
And finally… Would you quantify the below as a success?