Top-down formal training methods popular during the 1990s do not equip staff to deal with unpredictability and rapid change.
Writing for Harvard Business Review, John Hagel III and John Seely say that instead of relying on process manuals to tell staff what to do, you should empower them to learn on the job, creating knowledge and developing new ways to share it.
QUALITIES NOT SKILLS
As technical advances accelerate, the half-life of skills is falling. Formal training soon becomes obsolete, but capabilities like “curiosity, critical thinking, willingness to take risk, imagination, creativity and social and emotional intelligence” enable staff to adapt existing knowledge, learning as they go along.
COPING IS LEARNING
Formal training doesn’t help staff deal with new situations which fall outside the scope of knowledge obtained from courses. Facing new challenges often means creating service improvements on the spot. When staff do that, they’re creating new learning which should be captured and shared with colleagues to inform future decision making.
LEARN TO UNLEARN
Old assumptions don’t survive paradigm shifts. Dealing with accelerating change means empowering staff to ditch the old manual and embrace a dynamic learning style which is about continuous learning and unlearning.
LEARN TO SHARE
Help workers share what they’ve learned by enabling the creation of networks of small groups and working parties. Facilitate relationship building both within the organisation and externally, because trust encourages sharing, experimentation, and openness to new ways of working.