Transforming your staff's potential

Sunday, January 20, 2008 Tidbits: Self Directed Learning

Here is the weekly sampling from my favorites list. This time I chose the tag "SelfDirectedLearning". Here's what I found I have:

How do you approach Self Directed Learning? What skills are most important to foster? What are you favorite resources on the subject?

Thursday, January 10, 2008 Tidbits: Collaboration + Tool

Here is the first of my weekly sampling from my favorites list.

This time I chose the tags "tool" and "collaboration". Generally, this would mean either information on collaboration tools, or the tools themselves. Here's what I found I have:

Project management collaboration tool

Harold Jarche : Strategies for online collaboration » PKM - my best tool
A post on Harold Jarche's blog with a model for how he builds knowledge in his PLE

Mind42 - Free Online Mind Map

A Step-by-step guide to global collaborations
A post on Kim Cofino's blog "Always Learning"

Facebook Study Groups
Listing, scheduling, discussion, notes and file management

free wiki tool - free web application for brainstorming online
Online resource organizational and sharing tool

free wiki tool

What are your favorite collaboration tools or articles on the subject?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Training Transfer: What does it take to ensure learning is applied?

When training occurs in the workplace, its purpose (hopefully) is to close a performance gap or to expand abilities. It is not “frivolous”. It is not general education or personal enrichment. There must be measurable outcomes that fulfill business needs. But, what does it take to ensure the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom gets transferred to the work itself? Ensuring that knowledge, skills, and perspectives gained in training are applied in the workplace takes more than just ensuring learning has occurred. Behavior change also requires self-efficacy and motivation.

Self-efficacy, a belief in one’s ability to succeed, comes from self-confidence and successful practice. Providing a safe environment for early practice, coaching, and constructive, encouraging feedback supports this capacity.

Motivation comes from an understanding of the importance of the behavior change, for the larger goal and for themselves. Understanding the context of the learning, how it’s relevant to and helps their work and the business goal provides a more “philosophical” motivation. Providing active support of the transfer of learning to work, by including the new behaviors in performance measurements encourage accountability for applying the skills and incentives for successful execution, which provides the practical motivation.

What do you do to ensure that the skills and knowledge trained get applied on the job? What is embedded in the training? How is the transfer supported by the organization?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Context and Clarity for Performance Management

George Harrison famously sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” I wish there was a lyric that crooned, “If you don’t know how to get there, you’ll likely end up somewhere else.” Often, organizations that work hard on defining vision, mission and goals then lay down their pens. As important as this work is, it isn’t enough. Defining purpose and objectives is challenging. However, to manage performance, equally critical and more difficult work still lay ahead: identifying constraints and conditions, designing work standards and supportive systems, and determining necessary tools and competencies. This is the explicit, tangible information individuals need to orient and equip themselves to do the work. It is the map, compass and knapsack of supplies they’ll use to take the organization to its target destination.

When there is a gap in performance, all of these elements must be evaluated to determine the cause of the gap and design a solution. On his blog, Harold Jarche provides this guide to a performance gap analysis. This highlights the responsibilities the organization has to ensure good performance, such as adequate resources, clear expectations and performance measures/feedback, and appropriately linking performance outcomes to rewards and consequences. Jarche also provides this decision tree tool to assist in the analysis process.

Providing this context and clarity is the foundation of performance management. With this cornerstone laid, the other functions of performance management, such as recruitment, development, corrective action, and succession planning, fall into place more clearly, logically, and with greater harmony.