Thursday, November 29, 2012

When Knowledge is Lacking

Imagine going to work naked… 

....feeling a little uncomfortable? Embarrassed? How about down-right anxious and traumatised?! You’re sure that people aren't blind and aren't going to take long to discover the real you. Now you’re not sure what to do about it because once you’re found out…there’s no hiding!

What you just felt is how your people feel when they don’t or only partially know what they’re doing. Remember the fairy tale 'the Emporer's New Clothes'? The Emperor pretends to the swindling tailors that he can see the invisible clothes for fear of appearing unfit for his position and his Ministers do the same. He covers up with bluster and bluff.

When it comes to your people, they are not immune to a natural human tendency to do the same
when covering up for a lack of knowledge, whether it’s excuses or perhaps even lies. Even if they’re good at bluffing, your customer’s will know the truth and cry out like the innocent child, "But he isn't wearing anything at all”. You wouldn't go to work naked, so why make your people do so?

Even how to deal with the lack of knowledge is knowledge in its own right. A snapshot questionnaire for you: (Ref: HDI Support Center Manager Certification)
  • Are your training programs meeting the needs of your support center?
  • Have there been times when training was the wrong solution?
  • Are your training programs designed with the adult learner in mind?
  • Do you use at least three levels of evaluation to measure training effectiveness?
If you answered no to any of the above the time to rethink your training program. People only succeed when:
  • they know WHAT is expected 
  • they know HOW to do it 
  • there isn't someone or something getting in the WAY 
Everybody has a different idea about what style of training is best but style changes. A great conversation took place on Practitioner Radio about Online Learning and Emerging Trends and it can be an effective method but remember:
  • style of training is relative 
  • it is underpinned by your company’s unique culture & values and importantly, 
  • it provides your people with a solid foundation and a good wardrobe to wear loud and proud! 
As an interesting experiment, think about your own wardrobe at home - are there:
  • some things that need throwing out? 
  • old favourites that need updating? 
  • some that are a little tatty, scruffy, scuffed, torn and need repair? 
  • some you keep in the hope that they’ll fit again? 
  • those that are definitely keepers? 
Now apply that to your training program

Write down your top 3 barriers that are stopping you from giving your people the right wardrobe. Any program you design should address these barriers. In other words, a wardrobe that:
  • reduces time for new staff to go from shabby to chic 
  • keeps long-term staff up-to-date with the right style 
  • helps reduce staff leaving your catwalk for another designer 
  • keeps your organisation in Vogue! 
When you have the right program it benefits you in multiple ways:
  • having an inventory of human capital 
  • having an efficient and structured process for training and development 
  • being able to rapidly assemble project teams with known expertise 
  • ability to audit skills and plan future skill requirements 
  • develop future programs from a firm base 
  • create a consistent standard of job titles and functions 
  • more accurate resource allocation 
  • a manageable end-to-end process of knowledge mapping, skill assessment and skill gap analysis. 
Fairy tales are stories for learning and if you’d like to learn more about designing training programs then chat with me or check out this Training Design and Development Workshop.

By Simone Jo Moore

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