What do these two pictures, one of a garage and one of the ocean, have in common?
What about this picture? What do you see when you look at it?
Would you believe me if I told you they were the same thing? Most people see a beach when they look at the above, but it’s actually the bottom of a worn out garage door.
Context is everything. Like e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
Context makes the difference between if you see an idyllic beach scene or a tired old door.
It’s the same with learning culture and change. We often separate the two and see them as distinct and different but they go together like peanut butter and jam.
To foster a learning culture that values, expects, rewards and assesses learning I recommend these 4 key learning elements and these 4 key aligned change elements. Focusing both on learning AND change is critical.
- Strategies aligned; the learning and development strategy supports the organizational strategy and vice versa. This I promise you is n’sync (pun definitely intended).
- Synced top to bottom and vice versa; speaking of in sync, learning culture needs to align from top (senior leadership) to bottom (front line and informal leadership) and from bottom to top.
- Stakeholders; a great learning strategy includes a wide variety of stakeholders from learning champions and creatives, to formal and informal learning experts.
- Narrative; stories, including metaphors, help bypass cynicism and suspicion and open the door to learning. One colleague I spoke with recently worked with her team to create a metaphor that describes their current organization and a metaphor they want to move towards. Their current one is ‘earnest quidditch team’ (e.g. they are busy, busy, busy reacting) and their goal metaphor is ‘cohesive family farmers’ (e.g. strategic, future focused, working together thoughtfully). These mini stories really help open the gates to surprisingly deep learning.
Learning always involves change. Sometimes it’s personal change, sometimes organizational, sometimes small changes and sometimes massive, but always change. So it shouldn’t be surprising that learning culture goes hand in hand with managing change.
A healthy learning culture is always improved and enhanced when attention is paid to handling change.
Here are four change management factors that work in sync with learning culture.
- Customized and contextualized; change management that is out of the box, one size fits all is NOT the way to go. Managing change needs to be customized to individual organizations and be highly contextualized.
- Diverse; managing a change process is infinitely more positive and productive if diversity is woven throughout including diverse people, diverse methods of delivery and diverse content.
- Maximize tech; if you’re a regular reader you’ll know I’m a fan of tech tools and using them to manage change is a godsend.
- Cycle; seeing change as a continuous cycle, while aiming to foster mindsets, growth achievement and humility is a healthy approach.
Ever flexible, now that we’ve looked at four elements for anchoring a healthy learning culture and four for managing change, see how they can be applied to each other in the chart below.
Learning culture factors applied to Change
Change management factors applied to Learning
If you’re in the business of learning you’re in the business of change. And if you’re in the business of change you’re also in the business of learning so it benefits everyone to combine them from the get go.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Your how-to for building a vibrant learning culture (brought to you by the letter E)
- Change management musings from a change master maestro
Talk about learning and adapting to change! This picture made me chuckle where a 2 year old draws a pillow on the sidewalk with chalk and then lays down for nap via Richard Cohen’s “Zen and the Art of Early Childhood Education.”
Find out what your change personality is, then get a colleague to take the super short survey and compare answers (and most importantly, what implications this has for your work).
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