The theme of creating and sustaining a learning culture in organizations continued to influence most of my blog posts in 2016. David Grebow and I also used our blogs to introduce the concept of “managing minds” (not hands) and how that contributes to learning in organizations.
As a way of review, I’ve selected five blog posts about a “learning culture” and “managing minds” from 2016 that had the most interest from readers. Here is the title of each post with a short excerpt. Click on the title to go to the full post.
David Grebow and I have been working in the area of corporate education since Moby Dick was a minnow. Long time. We believe companies and managers are at an inflection point. During the previous Industrial Economy we managed hands. We produced things. In this new Knowledge Economy we produce ideas and need to manage minds. The problem is that too many of us are still managing hands. We believe it’s time we changed our basic understanding about what it means to manage people.
Organizational barriers to learning are often not as obvious as being given no budget for training, or no training facilities, or no LMS. More often barriers are put up from the subtle ways that managers talk about capability development with their direct reports. For example, below is a conversation between a manager and direct report that was recently overheard in a medical device company. Read the dialogue and then consider the questions at the end.
Improving employee learning and performance in organizations today means systems change. I wish it were otherwise, but learning is not just a classroom activity anymore, it must be a total system activity that takes into account strategic goals of the organization, the culture of the organization (values, beliefs, artifacts, structure, etc.), external inputs (home life, economy, social network, competition, etc.), and the quality of the learning interventions (formal training, coaching, mentoring, self-directed study, action learning, etc.). Learning that makes a difference occurs when all of these factors are aligned.
I’m always looking for examples of companies that put learning ahead of training. TorranceLearning is one of those companies. They design custom learning experiences for client organizations by starting with the intended results and related performance problems and then, and only then, do they provide employees with the tools, structures, and processes to learn what they need to know and do to be successful. I had the pleasure recently, along with my Learning to be Great™ business partner, James Stilwell, to interview the founder and CEO of TorranceLearning, Megan Torrance.
Most companies today have a “training culture”. ATD’s 2016 State of the Industry report concludes:
…the traditional, instructor-led, face-to-face classroom continues to play a crucial role, and it was still the delivery mechanism for 51 percent of learning hours used in 2015.
The percentage would be considerably higher if the ATD study had included all push training, such as elearning programs and attendance at conferences. Which is to say that most learning in organizations is still delivered using formal, structured, leader-centered training methods. In a podcast produced for ATD, I explain why organizations need to change from this “training culture” to a “learning culture”.