When skills development is mandated by senior management, or rolled out to large groups of staff, you can almost feel people withdraw.
“The day job doesn’t allow time for corporate initiatives.” “It’ll be replaced by something else next month.” “So-and-so in the other office is way ahead on this, we’ll never catch up.”
We love a challenge, but the opening days of a skills development project can feel almost like an unwelcome sales pitch. We’re there to convince people that this thing they’ve been told to do is really useful and beneficial to them – understanding GDPR, improving their digital comms or managing emergencies.
In an ideal world, people would learn organically, from each other, their network, peers and so on. We all know that geography, different objectives or general lack of communication means this rarely happens.
Learning should be something that people own and run with, rather than have done to them. We’ve developed a few different ways to create ‘communities of practice’ – people with similar needs and challenges in the same organisation, learning together.
Regularly practicing realistic crisis simulation in teams, or asking channel owners to pilot a different type of content and share the results.
Working out loud
We’ve asked people to blog about their challenges, in order to complete sections of their (mandated) Digital Action Plan. Not a comfortable experience for the blogger, but a really valuable way to share and draw on experience from colleagues.
We can’t pretend to know everything that’s going on in large teams. But, we can help stimulate conversations among teams who don’t often get to talk.
Informal Whatsapp groups have proven to be busy places where colleagues can get in contact with each other, promote their work and get feedback. There’s no logging in to special forums or intranets and very few rules. Just a simple conversation space for colleagues, with a little careful facilitation.
It’s been amazing to see the opportunities that have surfaced in these posts.
Next time you are planning skills development, talk to your colleagues about simple ways you can learn together using upcoming projects and simple tools like Whatsapp.
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