Learning = Change

24 Nov

It isn’t obvious that learning and change are synonymous; learning = change is apparent to very few. Helping more leaders and their staff to realize this paradigm will yield great benefit. We will be more agile, effective and competitive. Most of the people I interact with pursue learning activity without a clear outcome in mind. Similarly, when changes are made, how the change impacts stakeholders in a legitimate cause and effect sort of way (i.e., what will people need to start / stop / do differently as a result of this change) is an afterthought. Worse is that the necessary investment of time and resources to learn to perform in a new state are underestimated, resisted, and short-cuts are attempted.

Three useful lines of questioning that have served me well in helping people begin to plan personal and group-level change are:

1. What will you (we, they) know, do and / or value different if this (intervention) is a huge success? By when? Why are these changes and timing important?

2. When we’re meeting six months from now and you’re explaining how elated you are with the outcomes of the work we’ve done together and the changes that have been made, what will be different? Why are these changes and timing important?

3. Who will need to change? What will they change from and to? What is our interest in making this change? How will making this change benefit them (from their perspective)? Why would they resist making the change desired?

We’re creatures of habit but we are motivated to serve our own interests. Until it is clear in the mind of an individual what to change, it’s unlikely we will deviate from our norms. We’re much more likely to work to maintain stasis. With defined outcomes and interests for change defined, we can involve stakeholders, build an impact map and allow learning and transition as needed to realize our desired future state.

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