Monday, February 06, 2012

Organizational Objectives

I cannot believe this. In this data focussed, technology enabled, networked, linked world, there are organisations and their employees who work without defined objectives, KPA/KPI, or focus areas. The only focus defined is 'do what I ask you to!' The tasks are handled ad-hoc and all tasks are transactional.

No, it is not that each organisation needs to have KPI/KPAs based on BSC (Balanced Scorecard) or any other concept ... but even having a defined vision/mission for the organization, conveying it to your employees to create a shared vision (don't expect your employess to read your mind!) is a very powerful tool to create a very dynamic organization.

Yes, in such a dynamic world, the goalposts will constantly change. It is only a leaders' shared vision that will carry the organization forward at all times - even troubled times.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Social Learning: Back to Basics - supported by technology

Long time ago, before there was industrialization, and children were put through another set of conveyor belts named 'school', 'college', 'university' etc, learning was always social. Learning was in the fields, on the streets, with friends - doing things that children enjoyed. It was the same for adults as well.

Even with the conveyor belt generation, learning was best when done with friends ... when it was informal and that is what social learning is - in its simplest form!

But once on the conveyor belt, someone else developed the curriculum for me, someone else scheduled it for me, and someone else decided when it was complete and gave me a bouquet or a brickbat at the end of it! Social was pushed into a corner and left there. When people did pick up on the social, it was deride and pushed back into a corner again. There was no individual. All people on the conveyor belt had to behave in the same way and learn the same things.

This same behaviour was carried into the workplace, where formal learning was in classrooms with a trainer ... and with technology came CBTs and eLearning. But again, social was left out in the corner.

Only the high performing teams and organizations realized the importance of social and designed their training sessions as social interactions where it was not a 'trainer' in front of the classroom but a 'facilitator'. Yes, the facilitator facilitated the sharing and learning among the group.

With the advent of technology, this sharing has become much more easier ... and more prolific. Technology has broken the boundaries by which sharing was constrained in the old days. With the electronic tools available at our disposal - emails, instant messaging, chat rooms, forums, blogs, wikis, feeds ... all these have enabled us to share in a much easier and simpler method, without the constraints imposed by 'other people' planning (or constraining?) our learning for us.

I, as an individual, am free to learn as and when I wish, can connect up with experts half-way across the globe to complete my learning and technology is now enabling this to happen much faster.

For those of you focussing on 'social' in the workplace, don't focus on the technology to do it. Get back to basics. Look at how people learn the best ... and use technology to enable it.

We always learnt social ... and now with social learning we are going back to the basics - this time supported by technology.