Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And for my next trick - I will control what you learn!

I've seen Lance Dublin present at ASTD and in several Webinars. He typically starts the same way ...telling us what we WON'T be learning today and inviting us to leave now so as to not waste time. Is this the non-objective? hmmm.... Regardless he is showing absolute respect for his participants by saying - if you have better things to do I'm not going to argue with you, go do them. No control, freedom to learn, freedom to leave.

The Harvard business review article on controlling brand in the era of Social Media Stirred in me the same failed efforts in traditional training and development.

The illusion of control is just that an illusion. For example when we ask that all mobile devices be turned off in F2F training or side bar chat in a web-based training so the participants will listen/learn …who are we kidding? They turn them off but that doesn't mean the audience is now engaged and learning! People’s minds wander and if what you say or teach is not seen as valuable they find other “cognitive” activities to do…aka they check-out… the lights are on but nobody’s home.

We could save a hell of a lot of time on evaluations if we simply told everyone to keep cell phones and computers on; then simply monitor the room. If more people are surfing, then our efforts at training must be weak. Learn from this – build relevant training!

Traditional marketing can be seen also as an effort to control what is learned (about an organization by customers). Social Media tools are an amplifier. The fact is, if we welcome criticism and address it head-on and publicly we ultimately win because if we sincerely make corrections in our business and meet our “customer’s” needs, they will come back for the value, spread the word, and everyone wins. Social Media channels internally do the same - Let staff talk across regions. Surface the errors; take the criticisms head on and if they are valid don’t ignore and sweep them under the carpet, make efforts to improve.

Efforts to control or suppress waste time and waste money, and we ultimately lose our (external and internal) customers. This is the era of transparency, humility and collaboration. Organizations and Training departments must recognize this now or reap the consequences.
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