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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Willingness vs. Ability to Change

Dave Kelly @LnDDave wrote an interesting post comparing Blockbuster's demise to the changes facing Learning Professionals due to technology advancements. I think he’s right, there are learning professionals resistant to change …but the lack of change is not always due to internal denial as it can be a result of ...girth. So, in the case of Blockbuster Video I’m think girth more than denial was the cause and don't completely agree that they failed to accept that the market was changing. (Although, in all honestly, I don't have any data to support my beliefs, so humor me). Can we consider then that their downfall was less about a conscious choice of denial and maybe a bit more about an inability to be agile?

It seems to me that Blockbuster was like a big, lumbering Brontosaurus that thrived in an era with few predators (competition), an abundant food supply (limitless market), and a warm earth (strong economy). The need for speed and flexibility was not even a consideration. In the end it's not that poor old Brontosaurus (Blockbusterosaurus?) didn't hear the asteroid hit...it's not that she didn't feel the weather getting colder ...being so big and entrenched in their model and in their world she just couldn't evolve fast enough. She was built for an era that was suddenly & quickly ending.

Likewise I think that this happens in many L&D departments too; entrenched in formal, top-down models being THE solution - approaches that may have worked well in “warm earth days." This belief is built upon years of indoctrination by the "Training-Industrial Complex", snake oil solutions, Industrial Age mindsets, and archaic internal processes, hierarchies and politics abound.

I think that another kind of asteroid has struck the L&D world ...it's called a global financial crisis. The weather is getting colder but the good news is that we are not Brontosaurus. We are not our Organizations ...we are not our Departments, we are individuals within who are built to anticipate change, accept change, and be agile of mind. We can work within our systems to change them.

Evolve or die.
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