Yes, I have just coined a new phrase to highlight a common affliction within organizations often found lurking behind “resistance to change.” What parts of the organization? All of them actually, but…the most capable entity in position to overcome status quomentum is Learning and Development (L&D)…or it should be. In fact, L&D has unfortunately played the role of perpetuating the deeply embedded myth driving status quomentum – Training Drives Performance. Because of that myth our operational stakeholders look to L&D (referring to us as the Training Department) for resolutions to their performance challenges in line with their expected routine solutions – Training. But what if the solution is not based exclusively upon training?
If L&D tactics are going to address the need to evolve and change perceptions of our mission in the life of the organization and solutioning portfolio, a preceding strategic re-think must be embedded inside a different conversation. This “different conversation” represents a change leadership imperative. L&D can no longer default to taking orders for training. I am not saying training requests prompt us to follow the wrong path…however it routinely sets us (L&D) up to look through the lens that first considers training as the best-fit solution. We fail by not digging deeply enough into the Point-of-Work to confirm what a holistic performance solution should include. Certainly, training may be part of a solution, but what else should be included? Not considering a holistic performance solution, we promote the myth and support status quomentum.
If L&D does not assess Points-of-Work, who will? Status quomentum points to routine solutioning because of the training myth. We cannot perpetuation this routine; in fact, the onus is on L&D to lead change in the re-thinking and perceptions of our stakeholder population. Our strategy cannot fall prey to status quomentum and an aggressive change in our messaging and methods must become visible to overcome resistance to the power of the myth.
If training is requested…order taken…solution designed, developed, and delivered as the exclusive solution…and the measurable performance impact is less than expected…whose fault is that? Does L&D own it? Methinks L&D WILL own it (and should) until status quomentum shifts to consider the Points-of-Work involved with performance that is not optimized. We must shift the thinking from a strategic point of view to enable tactical, measurable performance impact in workflows…during workflows at Points-of-Work. Our indicators of success must embrace the fact that – Training Drives Potential…not Performance. Performance does not manifest as anything measurable until something happens positively at the Point-of-Work by the workforce.
I advocate L&D adopting a performance consulting skill set to assess Point-of-Work as a pre-design discovery discipline before diving into status quo design efforts…that ultimately render status quo solutions…that align with stakeholder expectations of their embedded status quo solution expectations. That solutioning flow is not sustainable
Momentum is not the problem. We need to integrate a different strategic mindset to serve as the key driver and enabler of an exchange of a different conversations up front. Let us not change momentum; let us change status quo thinking and expectations.