The newest member of change agents
By Fiona Munshi
Change is the word of the day when we talk about transformations. Organizations are in a constant state change in both tangible and intangible ways. In a tangible way we are changing processes, KPIs, and governance structures etc. However, in an intangible way we are also changing behaviors, culture, and knowledge. We also know that in order to ensure that change is accepted and even more so embraced – open, and constant communication is key.
We also know that in transformations people’s roles change, the way that they do their work changes and so there is a need for people to continue to develop their skills.
What if I told you that we could leverage the need for skill development in transformations to be used as a change agent too. Learning happens continuously and over time thus making it a great tool to continue to have an open dialogue with the people in an organization.
How do we learn
Before I explain the different techniques that we can use to ensure continuous learning which will result in continuous communication, let me explain how we learn. This allows us to make conscious decisions around the type of learning that needs to happen and the communication that goes with it.
To use learning in an efficient and effective way, we need to first understand how we learn. We use the 10/20/70 learning model by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger. To explain this further: 10% of learning is formal learning, 20% of learning is from interactions with others such as your peers and 70% of learning is learning that happens while a person is doing their job.
Based on the above learning model we can identify different methods of learning and engagement.
Formal Learning (10%)
Formal trainings are the ones you think about when you think about training. A longer length course which covers multiple learning objectives and has a curriculum which is taught by trained trainers.
Micro learnings are bite-sized courses or pieces of learning that are more focused on a particular subject or even a particular part of a particular subject. These learnings can be as short as 15 mins long (an exercise and a discussion) or a 2-hour session where a concept is explained and discussed. Essentially, learners digest smaller chunks of information which can be spread over time.
During formal learning sessions, the key is to keep communication open and to have a dialogue with participants. By doing this people will feel heard while understanding better why what they are learning is beneficial to them and the entire transformation.
Create peer groups or communities of practice where people can share experiences. What works well for them, what has not worked well. By doing this you allow people to learn from each other and create best practices while at the same time creating communities of people who are interested in the same thing. The important thing here is to keep the meetings or workshops structured and have one person who drives it.
Most organizations have mentors or coaches who focus on people’s development. Make sure that they understand the new learning needs that people have so that they can fully support their mentees.
On the job (70%)
As I mentioned earlier, on the job learning is where most of a person’s learning takes place. In fact, Formal learning and Interactions should be structured in a way that supports the learning that happens on the job. You can do this by ensuring that there is enough time between sessions so that people have had enough real-life applications of what they have learned, how this contributes to the transformation, and if they need any further support.
Keep in mind
A few things to keep in mind if you would like to use learning as a change intervention.
- Keep it low key: Learning and change interventions should not be a burden on people so keep things light and tight.
- Scalability: as transformation leaders, you cannot be in every session with everyone. Find willing and capable people in the organization and train them to train others.
- Measure: KPIs are important to know if you are moving in the right direction or if you need to pivot in terms of learning or change.
So it’s simple, really: think about formal learning, learning through interaction and on the job learning and while thinking about these elements think about an open dialogue around the change that is happening in your organization.
If you would like to talk more about this and how Highberg has used learning as a change agent do not hesitate to contact me, I would love to chat!