I was re-heating something the other day – no reader, not a blog post – and realised that too many businesses think of their learning function as a microwave.
The commission the learning function receives usually goes something like this:
- Here, take this almost fully ready person and zap them for a while – you know how long because you understand the power of the function.
- Stir them up halfway (to ‘unsettle’ them) and then give us the ready-to-perform individual at the end
- Make sure you let them cool off a bit – we don’t want them to burn out.
- If you could do that quickly, at scale, at the lowest possible cost, that’d be great.
For too long learning has been the order takers – give us a person and we’ll return the employee. I used to do it myself and we aggrandised peers for their ability to perform once and done learning interventions. But learning doesn’t work like that. Every person is different and needs different input, support and treatment to be at their best.
The learning function can’t just zap ‘learning’ into people and anyone telling you it can is either a) misrepresenting our industry or (more likely) b) trying to sell something that probably won’t work.
It’s not suitable to build microwaves for pretty much most of the stuff we do – stop trying to achieve the unrealistic.