Monday 14 November 2016

Building Change Capability in 5 Minutes or Less

I have noticed two advances in how change capability is being built in organizations. Both acknowledge and try to address the ever-increasing number, size and speed of changes people are experiencing at work. Both foreshadow how structured learning is adapting to meet the practical needs of today's learner.

The first is the broadening of skills. Investment is shifting from education to help adopt specific organizational changes to those that also assist navigating the dynamic and often unpredictable work environments that impact these changes.

The new skills help people to operate at their best regardless of the type or amount of change they face. Focus is on sharpening abilities to understand, diagnose and direct limited resources in light of both short and long term goals. They include abilities to deal with ambiguity, search for and try new solutions and be resilient after setbacks. 

Developing these new capabilities improves learning by:
  • Providing ways to assess any situation (teaching someone to 'fish' in any pond)
  • Encouraging continual refining and improving approaches to change
  • Creating a culture that enables reinvention and maximum performance regardless of external factors  consumer expectations, competitive threats and regulatory modifications  that arise. 
The second advance is the shortening of learning experiences from full-length courses to bite-sized modules. Similar to on-the-job support that jet mechanics access to guide their diagnosis and solve problems, the learning "objects" help people think through and complete specific tasks or address challenges. 

Learner preferences, shaped by internet use, are influencing formatting and delivery methods. Youtube-style videos are becoming the norm. They use engaging illustrations and narration techniques to communicate information in five minutes or less. Also the learning modules are available in multiple formats so they can be accessed anywhere at any time, using a variety of devices.  As Patty Woolcock of the California Strategic HR Partnership summarizes, "The Future of learning is three 'justs'  just enough, just in time, just for me." 

Shorter, targeted skill-building experiences improve learning by:
  • Enabling just-in-time support to drive outcomes
  • Focusing on crisply communicating only the most important elements of knowledge, skill and behaviour that produce results
  • Increasing interest and engagement levels to encourage multi-use access

Change capability building is changing for the better. People's skill sets are broadening so they can better manage their dynamic work environment. Also, access to support is expanding so it is available when, where and how people need it. 

Both advances have been developed with the learner and their challenges in mind. My hope is that figuring out how to continuously and quickly improve capability support as people's needs change will be the next welcomed change to come.