Sr. Manager at eLearning Guild Former Manager of L&D at SMS and Manager of Learning Solutions at Aspen Dental 15 years of fighting the good fight
Today is a look back at work we did at SMS and the reimage approach taken.
Reimaging work and learning– much thought and talk
A Reimage however is a reset– Like a computer. Erase/replace software, maintain hardware.
Titles Remain Leadership Remains Hierarchy Remains Training Remains
We cannot chase best practices today as each org as unique as a finger print, change is constant.
Formulaic, plug-n-play won’t cut it.
Best Principles and Frameworks are most appropriate in today’s complex environments
Lets look at a few graphs that set the stage and then I’ll share more about the work at SMS
Life Span of S&P 500 Companies
Take a moment and look it over
What does this graph tell us? (Companies don’t last, jobs for life are over)
What does it tell the employees L&D serves to support? (You need to own your learning)
This is a hybrid from research by individual organizations such as Shareaholic and the Parse.ly network of media sites.
The trend tells us that Facebook, among other social channels, is started to outgain organic search (Google).
Stowe Boyd, Writer/Researcher for publications like Gigaom refers to it as Sets vs. Scenes
People turning to trusted networks for accuracy, reliability in the face of increasing amounts of information
Information is at a premium and change is too constant
These two graphs tell us about organizational and individual behavior
My Story begins here:
The interview with the Chief Operating Officer at SMS 2012
We need a Training Manager… but we don’t need training was the message I received in the Interview
Miscommunication, non-compliance, redundancy were the greatest pain points I uncovered – But why??
Initial needs to address. Kept one eye on the now and one on the next
Ready, Set, Stop
SMS – By the numbers
Organizational Profile – My analysis
Structurally: SMS was an IT Health Care company working mostly on Federal contracts
Staff in 24 States – Geographically Dispersed 47 Concurrent Projects – Similar IT projects underway (fiefdoms) 600 Contractors / 450 Employees (To the Client, employment status didn’t matter, all SMS) Avg Tenure 1.3 years (terms of contract)
Systemically: The 47 projects were independent. Making decisions that best served the client and contract with limited intervention from central authority The most important influencers were not in the c-suite but were the deputies overseeing multiple projects
Organizational learning has typically mirrored the structure of organizational power. This worked well when work was repetitive and training was the default.
Today successful organizations are agile, power is distributed and ephemeral.
Formal Hierarchy is shifting to Informal Wirearchy and “learning” must adjust to support it.
Formulas no longer work, the new default is Frameworks
702010 is an organizing principle that aligns with Wirearchy Wirearchy - two way flow of power and trust
In essence SMS had many of the traits of a Wirearchy … without the wire. And without support
In the face of this complexity we need unearth the core elements of learning and getting work done.
For me 702010 is not a concept, a model or an approach to employ. It just is
70:20:10 is a principle or more like a natural law.
For example Netwon’s 3rd Law of Motion is indisputable: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
A force is a push or a pull that acts upon an object as a results of its interaction with another object. Forces result from interactions!
Contact interactions (normal, frictional, tensional, and applied forces are examples of contact forces) and Action-at-a-distance interactions (gravitational, electrical, and magnetic forces).
This comparison is significant because I believe it speaks to the two ways change is conducted in organizations
Traditional push Modern pull
People need to be drawn into transformation/change rather than having it forced upon them. This is Ideal, but tends to be slower.
I cannot say that I devised a single unified plan. Better yet I was approaching the reimage in a complex environment. David Snowden speaks of this in his Cynefin Framework where we really only know what right looks like in retrospect
I was constantly testing the environment and based on information received either I progressed or determined another course of action.
Improve the Ecosystem All organizations are ecosystems (organic people and inorganic technology and process working with each other) The question is not how to create an ecosystem its how to improve it. Work within the system to change it.
Use Data to Drive Decisions People are often more emotional than logical. We justify our emotions with logic. Our “guts” still drive most decisions, We won’t argue with our own “data”.
Engage Points of Least Resistance Change is hard. And real change takes time. Coupled with the principles above, find the points of easy access and amplify
ReFrame the Debate Language of Learning is training-centric (words convey meaning, George Lakoff’s: Don’t Think of an Elephant) Often training is sought because it’s the only solution that is known. No other reason! Training can be another layer of work, we need to remove layers not add them. Training is often a learning opportunity lost People ask for training because it’s what they know, not what they want (Learned Helplessness)
Every organization already has a performance ecosystem. Organic and inorganic working together (or not)
It’s not a matter of creating an ecosystem, it’s determining how healthy it is
Start by working with what is. Structures (technology and hierarchy are necessary) Current structures are often comfortable to employees even when they are unproductive or add friction. A perfect example is email Evolutionary change not Revolutionary
How to communicate with stakeholders by letting data drive decisions.
The key is to know what they believe and how they support it
It’s more often about qualitative data over quantitative data – organizational stories and the stories we tell ourselves
Points of least resistance are positive and negatives
Eliminate problems: Where are the weak processes? Weak systems? Greatest pain points?
Enhance Effectiveness: Where is collaboration working well? Where are the real business drivers? Who are the key nodes in the network?
It's not training that is sought, although that is what is typically what is asked for They seek a solution to a problem.
For example: Training is A solution, often not THE solution Corporate Universities rarely resemble real universities Performance support is not always a job aid
The SMS inorganic ecosystem was mainly email and SharePoint to get work done
SharePoint was widely used Mandated Used differently by different groups, teams and projects Permissions Knowledge silos Assets created and difficult to locate
To identify the right approaches and technology through work and culture analysis
In 2 years The Ecosystem evolved but integrated to ensure the least amount of friction
Performance Support – in the form of Project stages checklists, onboarding flexibility for managers SharePoint - as SMS repository / Procedural asset pull Lynda.com – Video courses, PMI re-Certification credits, Special interests (stretch learning) KMS – in- house systems of record (“If SMS only knew what SMS knowns”) Who knows what, who worked with whom on which projects Jive – Social Platform vs. LMS to connect people, systems and add context
Jive became “Union Connect” – More on that soon.
Guidelines provide flexibility (like a framework or a principle). Guidelines allow people to navigate easier.
Positive guidelines encouraged and didn’t limit interaction We never moderated
If you think of one great learning experience where and when did it happen? A course? A workshop? Or in your work?
What if Training were not an option?
Executives: How do you stay current in your role?
Small wins amplified as scalable (Jive and Time Cards)
There were many opportunities to tap others and create pockets of change
Autonomy: Project team using Skype – what might a larger social platform do for them? Attention Economy: SMEs as Live Session Presenters. Short videos led by known people in the organization. L&D served as the platform Influence the Influencers: Build a team of Ambassadors – departmental representatives (Newton’s Law… at–a-Distance-Interactions) Connected Respected Knowledgeable Enthusiastic ** But not Senior
Time Cards Example Inconsistency HR made adjustment Empowered employees Improved process, morale
The greatest point of least resistance may just be right in the middle
Everyone talks of leadership buy-in but misses the mark Bottom up, grassroots employee change can also be difficult if culture inhibited or locked in paradigms
Top Down? Bottom up? Actually, look to the Middle! Managers are the key artery for transformation – why?? Inform the top, influences the bottom
Managers are the center of change as well Managers, for many employees, are they key driver of their work Managers are looked to by executives for understanding and results
Managers learn best through other managers; socially
Change the manager’s thinking, change the organizational thinking.
70:20:10 – Organizing Principle
Top Down? Bottom up? Middle!
A reimage to embrace 702010 starts with Social at the Center
Social Improves formal learning by providing formative feedback which can change assumptions and direction of training Social Informs our work by providing insights from others and opportunity for collaboration and cooperation
Social is not a technology, it’s a mindset towards openness and transparency. Technology only serves to extend and expand it.
Leaders wanted a series of courses to help increase the number of people certified in ITiL
We created a platform for independent study coupled with group Q&A sessions using a combination of Jive, and GoToTraining gatherings
We met the “requirement” for training with no formal intervention
95% passed examination
Desire was for a PM bootcamp – for experts?!
Became a user-gen repository of performance support tools Developed by SMEs Organized by project phase Improve consistency
It’s not THAT hard to stop being an order taker.
This simple grid from Jane Bozarth’s fabulous Instructional Design book, From Analysis to Evaluation is perfect
It can be sketched on a napkin and often that’s exactly the simplicity needed.
I’ve used this numerous times in conversations with leaders who start with “We need a course on…”
My response – “What’s the problem?”
Even the “training” area can be further broken down even IF training is a solution
Peer coaching Networks Mentoring
Charge: Build a Corporate University
Traditionally, what is a Corporate University look like?
In a real University learning happens EVERYWHERE Commons (student union): Social Courses: Formal Library: Informal
This met a desire to aid in contract wins by presenting a progressive, agile, innovative approach to organizational learning
Social at The Center
Jive renamed by Staff: Union Connect Affectionately became known as “The U” in some circles The Union – Named after a Student Union, where all social/informal learning happened
Unfortunately (or fortunately) in December of 2014 SMS was acquired by Lockheed Martin
Assimilation of business units, resources and processes would leave little room for our transformation efforts.
The owners retired, key managers moved on… as did I.
My story is highlighted in Clark Quinn’s Book in which he shares many other key case studies and justifications for the change needed today.
I haven’t yet read the 2nd edition of the Framework explained but I’m confident it is rich with new tools and examples as the first edition was by my side during my time at SMS
Reimage Organizational Learning 2016
Re-image Organizational Learning
Best Principles, Not Practices.
Frameworks, Not Formulas
Lifespan of S&P 500 Companies
1930 1950 1970 1990 2000 2010
Source: The Shift Index: Deloitte’s Center for the Edge
Best Principles, Not Practices.
Frameworks, Not Formulas
2012 2013 2014 2015
Shareaholic and the Parse.ly
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