Technology and shifting mindsets

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay

I’ve written before about shifting attitudes in learning and how we need to address the challenge of helping people learn by engaging differently with stakeholders. I’ve also written about 4 essential elements of modern learning practice – skill, will, authority and resource. Donald Taylor posted this on LinkedIn the other day:

Can you help? There’s a storm gathering over L&D and people are looking for advice.

Here’s the problem: time, and people.

New products are being released faster than ever, and often sold or supported by widely distributed workforces. (These could be physical products or intangible ones, as in financial services.)

The only way to get people up to speed is with technology, but too often they expect face-to-face training, even though it’s uneconomical and impractical – there simply isn’t time to train everyone this way.

The kicker: the L&D team wants to deliver training face-to-face too.

In the past two weeks, I’ve had several conversations with smart L&D leaders who know this requires both technology and a shift in mind set from staff and L&D practitioners.

The technology they can buy.

How do they shift the mind sets?

How can we persuade people that non-classroom delivery is at least as good as a traditional course?

How can we persuade classroom trainers to take on a new approach to learning? For most of these L&D leaders, this is the most difficult challenge.”

Donald Taylor

I’ve been chewing this post by Don over for a couple of days and have a few thoughts…

Betari box – people won’t change their attitude to learning if we don’t change our behaviour. There’s no point having changed your mindset if you don’t follow it through and behave differently. If we continue to offer face to face as a default, that’s what they’ll ask for. That means prohibiting the LnD team from offering face to face learning as a first resort.

As I’ve said before, people don’t fear change; they fear what they lose as a result of change. In this case, it’s likely to be their confidence in delivering through a channel they know, their reputation as ‘experts’, and potentially their role or job. They will feel this and push back to convince you that you’re wrong. And that’s OK – they’re surviving and proving how much they care about their work. What’s not OK is accepting their fear over the change you need to make.

Don’t sell features, sell benefits. Benefits are personal to the individual so there’s no point promoting a new platform if it doesn’t have any meaning to the people responsible for making it work. That means helping your trainers understand how to redesign and channel shift their work.

Culture is a pressure. It’s pervasive, always there when you’re not in the room. You need to be able to let the pressure down so that people don’t revert when you’re not around. That means understanding the change comes from how you address culture first.

People with high energy and low attitude can be cynical terrorists – people fighting a cause and sabotaging things when you don’t expect it. It’s rarely wilful though and many people don’t know how they are behaving – they’re people who say will yes while shaking their head and walking away. You can’t fight these terrorists over purpose – it has to be about method, benefits, facts and data.

Change the measurement focus from inputs and outputs – course offer, days and people trained, happy sheets completed – to outcomes. That means ditching learning objectives and putting business objectives into the LnD team’s expectations. Agreeing different expectations gives opportunities to agree channel shifts.

Ultimately, you can clear a path, show people the route, walk with them to the door, unlock it, place their hand on a handle and tell them how to open the door. If they choose not to, that is their problem not yours and you have to decide how persuasive you need to be.

As a much wiser man than me once said, in the end, a leader has to change the people, or they have to change the people.

Please don’t comment here but on Don’s thread in LinkedIn.

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