Every day, as a leader you are “designing learning experiences” – for yourself and your teams. It’s likely unconscious and it should become conscious as it is a core aspect of being human and achieving breakthroughs – since every day, life is our classroom.
Most importantly the way you work AND LEARN with your ecosystem of stakeholders influences the way they operate in the way you engage with them. In addition, you are role modelling your behaviours or habits as a learner.
Every moment of the day you demonstrate how you respond to change – whether you are adaptive and constantly learning, reflecting and improving or whether you are stuck, inflexible and not adaptive at all. Take note, active learning is a future skill identified as critical by the World Economic Forum.
As we know “what got you here, won’t get you there” which was made famous by the book of the same name by Marshall Goldsmith.
Yet when uncovering the status quo and the future path ahead, in many leading organisations, leaders expect organizational change and behaviour change as well as different results from their teams.
Yet they themselves are still behaving and measuring KPIs which directly block the innovation, agility and adaptability required to create the changes expected.
On the other hand we have worked with legendary leaders who are at every level – strategic, tactical and even at a personal level – are leading the way as active and agile learners.
When a CEO managing a
billion-dollar organization was consuming new content, applying the new content immediately and then constantly sharing his own formal and informal insights gained daily – everyone in the organization followed his example.
In this organization, you could feel the alignment, you could feel SYZYGY and breakthroughs in performance happened daily! He, furthermore, was well prepared to be involved in the organizational enablers that support agile teams, as he himself was agile.
He guided the selection of the learntech platforms we explored to enable digital learning. He himself was involved in social and action learning with his peers and subordinates as a daily and conscious habit. Because of this “operating or engagement model” his people were fully aligned with his strategic priorities and the shared purpose was clearly evident – as depicted in the visual.
Therefore, for leaders and teams to work AND LEARN together in a way that is agile, the leaders of any organization, community or ecosystem need to adopt a clear process.
What we mean by that is – as a daily habit – to consciously combine the 3 ways we learn naturally towards achieving the pre-defined change or clear PURPOSE:
- Learn key content = Education = LEARN IT!
- Learn by doing = Experience = APPLY IT!
- Learn with/from others = Exposure = REVIEW IT!
Let’s use a BIG example, let’s explore the end-to-end professional development journey as a private banker from new hire to being a leader OR a small example, constantly improving how the frontline ensures customers feel welcomed as they enter the store, bank, restaurant or hotel.
For both examples when we are highly effective, we would naturally break up a huge, or tiny, body of knowledge into small independent and discrete units. This natural phenomenon has been labelled microlearning.
For both examples high performing individuals and teams would pre-define the PURPOSE to ensure IMPACT.
As anyone navigating change and their own learning journey, for every microlearning unit, using our PURPOSE, we would have defined what each Learner or group of Learners needs to ACHIEVE (results), DO (behaviours) and LEARN (knowledge, skills and attitudes).
Whether you are the head of learning or the head of Private Banking enabling thousands of private bankers or a private bank navigating your own development, creating this role clarity is critical.
Now the PROCESS for the consumer of the learning, we go in the opposite direction. We first LEARN the critical knowledge, skills and attitudes through Education.
Then we immediately APPLY the learning by doing which involves learning through Experience. In addition we REVIEW what we are learning when we exchange, discuss, get coaching, get inputs from others and this has been labelled “Exposure” as part of the highly researched and documented 3Es.
Therefore, to create a clear PROCESS, we start by breaking down the learning into bite-size chunks with every microlearning unit being made up of LEARN-APPLY-REVIEW.
Let’s think of these units each as an engaging and meaningful learning experience. Thereafter these series of experiences are strung together into learning journeys.
Finally at an organizational level, many such learning journeys roll up to define the organizational learning strategy. Note that typical organizational strategies when deployed range from including fully end-to-end structured journeys to more dynamic journeys where agile practices are adopted as daily habits.
This visual shows an example of a mobile learning app where the PURPOSE and PROCESS where embedding in to design and navigation of the end-to-end learning journey to enable the required behaviours and results.
From an organisational perspective, we recommend starting with the big picture using the 5P framework to set the overarching learning strategy. Then prototyping specific learning journeys to test and improve the strategy. Over time the specific way of working and learning together for a positive impact is embedded in the culture of the organization.
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