Don’t want to; Can’t make me!

Photo Credit: Mr Jaded via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Mr Jaded via Compfight cc

I managed to get sucked into a conversation on Twitter the other day (how does that keep happening?).  It had started with a conversation about curation and had meandered, as all the best Twitter conversations do, onto whether a motivated employee will wait for L&D to provide curated content.

My belief is that the motivated will curate their own content (perhaps with our support/guidance/direction) when the ever interesting Jane Hart asked the killer question:

So are L&D *training* the unmotivated, and *supporting* the motivated?

BAM!  Between the eyes with that one.  Is that what L&D is perceived as…the place to send those who won’t hack it, where we are given a last chance to ‘fix’ them before the decision to release them from their obligations with the organisation is realised?

It got me thinking about how often are we asked to help change someone who doesn’t want to be changed.

I had a personal example over Christmas.  I stopped smoking in March as part of the health issues I’ve been dealing with.  Over the Christmas period I had to do ‘time’ with a habitual smoker in their home. I returned to where I live and everything smells. I had to wash everything.  I discussed it with the individual and they didn’t consider the impact on the people around them.  More disconcertingly, they didn’t consider the impact on them and their health.

Think about a workplace situation: a manager who won’t performance manage their under performing staff member.  Their team’s output is regularly met irrespective of the under performing member of the team – what motivation does the manager (or staff member) have to change? If someone doesn’t have a motivation to change, why should they?  Are L&D likely to make a positive impact?

How do we influence the manager highlighted above?  I was fortunate to have a reason to re-read Robert Cialdini’s great book on influence a few weeks ago.  If you haven’t seen it, please watch this neat summary via Youtube.

Leave a comment below with how you’d motivate the manager and we can compare/contrast with my thoughts next time.

6 responses to “Don’t want to; Can’t make me!

  1. Personally I found the conversation infuriating – the bit that interested you wasn’t anything to do with the original question 🙂 (Which was “if I start curating stuff, how do I tell like-minded people that I’m doing it?”)

    The question was (in my opinion) misconstrued as “how do I force people to read my curated content?”, which wasn’t the point at all. More like “most people don’t even know what curation in learning is, what’s the best way of showing the benefits?” (which was also misconstrued as “how do I train people to curate?”)

    And incidentally, I didn’t even ask the original question, just retweeted it and ended up with a million replies on a completely different argument whilst I was trying to make some breakfast…


  2. Hello Andrew, thanks for your post. I believe many people in Learning and Development understand and have experienced what you have written. I know I have. Countless times. Actually, I go in meetings with clients expecting it now. Sad, but true.

    One way I talk to the team leaders and managers about the role of learning and development and how I can assist them is to draw out the Skill vs Will model and guide their thinking that a low motivation does not necessarily mean they need training – as they will still have the performance issue if they haven’t explored what exactly the real issue is. At one stage, I even asked to try it out with his team so that he could see for himself. He was experiencing problems with one subject matter expert in his team adamant that training would sort it out. I sat with his team, talked to his team members, got to know them, spoke with that individual and got to know how the team operated. Turns out that she didn’t like how the team leader was giving preferential treatment to one of the younger members of the team thus causing rifts in the team. I approached the team leader about my observations and it was a surprise to him. Turns out that he was trying to groom the young team member who was high potential material for her role. Obviously she saw through it. In the end, we sorted it out and I saved myself needless time developing a learning program.

    Still, I think L&D is turning out to be more like workplace psychologists at times…

    Regarding Robert’s comment above, I concur. I know that our internal Learning and Development team have not heard of this term and when I banter things like “we should be curating content we already have in the business rather than developing from scratch” I have to explain the concept.


  3. Thanks Robert – isn’t that what’s great about Twitter? A question in one space can become something else – that organic nature of conversation is why it appeals to me.

    Thanks Helen – isn’t your story of the manager a clearer example of what some would call ‘performance support’ from L&D? It removes provision from our activity and places into a more coaching/mentoring role.


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