Well it has been a long time since I blogged. Why? I have been thinking, writing, presenting and ruminating..... most of all I have been questioning. I have also now been in my new role for 10 months and needed the time to reflect on what this meant for my writing and my experience.
So much of what I take for granted as assumed and valuable knowledge in my role as a corporate educator is being challenged as we move further into the new century. The pace of change in the world has accelerated and this was the main reason why I stopped blogging. I felt what I had to say was lacking the relevance and the timeliness required to add value to the communities I was part of. For me this is critical as I need to be part of a community that I trust and that trusts me.
There is a new book which I have read quickly and will read again to absorb, which is a great re-orienting point for all corporate educators. It is not profound but rather pragmatic and it goes to the heart of an individuals engagement and why this is critical for success in organisations. The book is called "The way we're working isn't working: The Four Forgotten Needs That Energize Great Performance".
Essentially the book advocates that a myth has taken hold that "human beings operate most productively in the same one-dimensional way computers do: continuously, at high speeds, for long periods of time, running multiple programs at the same time." Think about it. We are told that we can multitask and we are getting better at it. In fact we are also told that women can master this better than men etc etc. The issue is our brains a sequential processors. We only process things one at a time (for more learning on this visit John Medina's Brain Rules website). We still need to repeat things to remember. We have not evolved our capability enough to cope with the demands of the instantaneous world.
The defining movement in the modern workplace is more, bigger, faster. More information than ever is available to us, and the speed of every transaction has increased exponentially, prompting a sense of permanent urgency. However, the need for understanding and adopting the social frameworks that are driving this important reformation are also providing an endless supply of distraction... some good and some not so good. Left unchanged and unregulated, these same technologies have the potential to swallow us. The relentless urgency that characterises most corporate cultures drives a level of performance but at the same time, undermines creativity, quality, engagement, thoughtful deliberation, critical reflection, and, ultimately, performance. We cannot hope to drive performance to higher levels if all we do is expect that the capacity of individuals is an endless bucket and that they will stay enthusiastic purely because they have a job. Employee engagement will become the number one critical measurement for organisations in the future and without it they risk perishing.
My advice to all corporate educators, training areas, learning and development departments etc.... stop, take the time to hover above your organisation and understand what is happening. The organisation and executive cannot wait for you but you need to know that a traditional approach will not work anymore. Performance support, e-learning, enabling collaboration, peer based education and new interpretive and analytical skill sets are rising to the top as key areas of discussion with thought leadership requirements but as always it will keep changing.
So, here I am, back ready to start offering and recording some cathartic thoughts. Hopeful that learning and development has an important role to play into the future of organisational development and performance.