Hand stopping dominos falling.
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

I saw an image of some dominoes the other day in a presentation about performance. Standing on their ends, as if to be toppled, the first one was labelled culture.

It got me thinking. Firstly, is culture the thing to challenge first? It might be something in the way of other dominoes falling later in the process but is it the place to start? It might be the hurdle to overcome before you can push the first domino but I don’t think it’s a domino in itself.

In the learning function, the first domino we see is usually labelled skills. We are expected to push that and the next dominoes – systems, relationships, culture, aims, structures, processes, behaviours, etc – will all fall into place.

Wouldn’t it be more useful to help build the layout and design so we can see the effect of what we’re doing more clearly? That would be proper learning strategy – deciding when and where the learning domino is placed in the context of all the other factors which make up performance.

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