A friend took over a large, far-flung learning organization. His task was to strengthen it. Strengthen it. Two words, hundreds of possibilities.
Perhaps my recommendations aren’t what you would expect:
- Think less about the learning organization and more about the company or agency. Get really smart about the context. What is keeping the executives up at night? They want you to strengthen learning in order to do what? Change what? Add what? Fix what?
- Fight the inclination to tend to your edifice and head count. Instead focus on building learning, community and reference capacity in line with organizational priorities.
- Deliver less training and more value, more integrated programs. That will mean doing a few things well and in concerted fashion, not everything. That is likely to mean shifting to smaller targeted bites of learning, information and support.
- Measure on metrics that match organizational goals. Yes, that means questioning the habit and history of measuring the learning organization based on butts in seats and hits on elearning modules. Looks to error rates, sales, retention, and customer satisfaction.
- Great learning organizations aren’t all about marketing and delivering events. Instead, they are quietly influential, producing assets and experiences that are helpful. Employees say, “Thanks, that’s just what I needed.” They don’t know quite what you did. What they know is that it answered a key question or pointed them to a useful resource. No fuss, no fluff. Just good stuff.
- The great learning organization works its magic through field supervisors, social networks, and on demand programs.
- Some might not know that the learning organization was involved with a program, experience or asset. That’s how integrated and seamless the contributions are. And that’s a good thing.
In my gym clothes, I chat about these matters with Jeff Cattel from the Corporate Learning Network.