Kyle Perry

Deliberately innovative learning and talent development

Change – Learning

Leaders help others be ok with uncertainty by modeling expectations and democratizing information. Most importantly, they are teachers in an uncertain environment.

Effective learning happens by making connections to what we already know and repeating it over and over. Real learning that gets applied takes time. Learning and development professionals can support change through effective learning design and recognizing that it takes time. Do this through connections and authentic repetition.

Change – Speed

I’m not the first person to say that the world is changing faster than ever before and it’s not slowing down. Often I feel like the focus on change revolves around speed. I understand that speed is important. I think that the notion of speed needs to be understood in context though.

If your reason to exist depends on being nimble and agile, then of course speed is important. If your work relies on focused and deliberate processes, speed may not be as important. Either way, speed needs to be emphasized in context.

Change – Innovation & Strategy

Innovation is all the rage. I believe that often when leaders ask for innovation, they’re really asking for expertly crafted change that makes a difference.

Strategy is a word that gets thrown around a lot too. I think that usually the goal of any strategy is successfully managing change. 

Change

I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. Maybe it’s the changing season. Whatever the reason, the next few posts will be about aspects of change.

Change is a big business. Google “change management” and the results go on forever with strategies, approaches, processes, models, and best practices. However, most of the time, I think the point is missed. Change is more than an initiative and bigger than a strategy. It certainly is more than a process to be managed. For change to be effective, it has to be the way, not a way. It’s more about culture than an initiative.

Problem solving in the network era

The way we solve problems has changed.

Who wrote that song? When was the last time the Royals made it to the World Series?

The answer comes from the fastest draw to Google. No longer does the answer come from that one person who is never-ending source of irrelevant facts. Information is plentiful and easily accessible.

Thanks to the internet, the value of solving problems has shifted to those with the social capital to make progress happen. The ability to solve problems is no longer centered on those holding knowledge, experience, or wisdom. New world problem solvers strike a unique balance of intense focus and interpersonal wherewithal to find the right people at the right time and bring them together for a common goal. They are motivators, influencers, question-askers, and thought-provokers.

Modern day problem solvers know where to find information and, more importantly, the people to put that information to use. And these people aren’t encyclopedias or computers. They are dynamic, innovative, entrepreneurial, spirited, inquisitive folks that would rather do work than talk about it. Yet, they can’t stop talking about it and they draw others in with their energy when they do.

What is learning?

If this blog is going to be about learning, I suppose it would be prudent to discuss the word. For all of my life, I’ve been a student or teacher. (Really, aren’t we all?) The first time I penned a definition of learning was in graduate school. The definition was academic and backed up with theories of cognition and psychology. Most of that original definition is still relevant, but the way I think of learning has evolved. Learning is empowerment, growth, and change.

Learning empowers people to take control. In the workplace, learning helps employees to perform better on the job. Learning helps managers be better bosses. Learning encourages customers to come back for more and ultimately, drives results. Better information inspires better decisions.

Learning supports and promotes growth. When employees learn about the history of your organization, they’re more likely to connect the dots and make impactful decisions in the future. When customers learn what they can get from purchasing goods and services, they’re more likely to pledge loyalty.

Learning encourages productive change. The best way to predict the future is by understanding the past. Sustainable organizations are overflowing with stakeholders (employees, customers, board members, managers, etc.) that know the big picture of the industry and the space that the particular organization occupies. More importantly, they share this information openly. The days of the all-knowing c-suite executive are gone. Information is cheap—strategic thinking is an asset.

So that’s learning. I will revisit this topic often. At some point maybe I’ll bring up that boring, academic definition.

 

Knowledge management

Most of my professional life to this point has focused on learning, including design, delivery, and evaluation. When it gets down to it, my work involves sharing, bringing out, or creating knowledge that can be productively applied. Ultimately, the objective is that the knowledge gets transferred to achieve a goal. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens to all of this knowledge when it’s not formally passed around, taught, or discussed.

Knowledge management is what I’m talking about.

Knowledge Management
"Knowledge management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge.”
(Davenport, 1994)

"Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise's information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers.”
(Duhon, 1998)

So we’re working with boring corporate-talk using words like policies, procedures, documents, and databases, right? Those are some of the tools, but the essence is much more straightforward. At its core, knowledge management shouldn’t have to be boring and it’s definitely not confined to the cubicles and boardrooms of corporate America. Picture the iconic caveman teaching his offspring how to build a fire or the 15th century clockmaker instructing an apprentice. That’s knowledge management in its most authentic and raw form.

Knowledge management isn’t limited to a teacher-student interaction either. We are individually responsible for personal knowledge management. Harold Jarche writes, speaks, and teaches about Personal Knowledge Mastery; which he calls “a set of processes, individually constructed, to help each of us make sense of our world and work more effectively.”

Decisions are made based on the knowledge we have about the problem. And it's no secret that we make better decisions when we have the right information. This means that for your organization, your people, and yourself, get crystal clear about the way you build, maintain, store, and share the knowledge that drives the goals you’re trying to achieve.