Monday, November 14, 2016

The Power of Engagement - Leading By Example: Part II-- Business Organizations

As pointed out in the previous post, business organizations face a challenging dilemma and that dilemma is all about how to handle rapid change. To even mention the term "innovation" or "innovative thinking" in some business organizations meets with a hostile response or a defense that says you don't know the restrictions that our business faces. What many businesses fail to realize is that the greatest restrictions that they face have more to do with fear and a vision that is myopic in nature.

In order to deal with these challenges it is important to look at these challenges in ways that businesses can appreciate. It is important to be aware of the human capital trends that are unfolding in the present and will continue to form a pattern into the future.

 The first challenge is to look at the learning culture of the business organization in the context of the 21st century environment. For some businesses, walking in the front door is like stepping back in time because the business is doing what it has always done and hasn't really considered the possibility that they might have to revisit their company vision to see if it is in sync with the evolving, collaborative global economy where being a global learner is important to a healthy business that wants to operate on a global stage.

Credit: E-learning Industry
When we examine the facts about the importance of an organization having a healthy learning culture to engage their employees in a type of learning that promotes innovative and creative thinking, we are faced with a troubling statistic:

Credit: David Blake (Sept. 12, 2016)
The obvious question that needs to be asked is: WHY?? The answer suggests the very reason that the vision of the organization needs to be revisited.

Historically, L&D has focused on meeting organizations' requirements, not employees. While L&D may have previously provided most employee learning, other sources now provide employees with more learning opportunities. This is why that today in 2016, 79% of learning comes from non-L&D sources. In effect, business organizations are wasting their learning investment in an age which is defined as an age of knowledge and learning.

Credit: Stop Wasting Your Learning Investment
Engagement of employees means to create an environment or learning culture in which they are called upon to use their creative and innovative abilities in meaningful ways, tasked to helping the organization grow into the 21st century global marketplace. This also means that you are encouraging employees to think like entrepreneurs in that they are being encouraged to consider risk taking in the same manner as entrepreneurs in the world do every day. The problem is how will the organization deal with this in flow of creative and innovative thinking? Those not committed will give "knee-jerk" reactions.

Credit: Scott Adams
 The bitter irony for some business organizations without a credible learning culture is the realization that their employees want to learn but are more engaged to contribute their time and talent to outside learning opportunities rather than within the company structure.

Credit: MindTools

Given what we know to be true, what is the way forward  so that business organizations can remain healthy and grow in a global economy?

More importantly, how does a business organization re-shape their learning culture to ignite employee engagement or establish a learning culture in the first place? To suggest that the business organization does not need to consider this re-shaping or transformation of their learning culture is to be incredibly naive in a global business environment where the naive don't survive.

Next--The Power of Engagement--Part III: Transforming Business Learning Cultures

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