The survey results from the Chief Learning Officer survey show that 77% of respondents feel that people in their organization are not growing fast enough to keep up with the business. Is this anyone’s fault or just a sign of the times?
Human performance in most organization is an afterthought, if thought of at all. Various deparments handle certain components of it, as if you could actually separate workers’ skills from their knowledge and then separate again their attitudes. Here are some possible culprits:
IT: for locking down computers and treating all employees like children, closing off a wealth of information, knowledge and connections outside the artificial firewall.
Communications: for forcing employees to use approved messages that do not even sound human.
Training: for separating learning from work.
HR: for forcing people into standardized jobs and competency models that do not reflect the person.
Individual growth is not promoted when communication, learning, and even curiosity are blocked. If 77% of senior learning professionals feel that people are not growing fast enough, then either these professionals are not doing their job or they have the wrong job. I think it’s the latter. Separating the responsibility for ‘people’ among an assortment of departments makes no sense from the individual worker’s perspective, it’s just administrative efficiency. With better communication tools available today, these divisions are no longer necessary.
There is an opportunity to identify overlapping areas and redundancies in organizational human performance support. It’s doubtful that departmental incumbents will address the issue because of tribal loyalties, but an anonymous employee survey would be a good start. A unified support function, focused on really serving workers and helping them grow, could significantly reduce this 77%.
We were discussing this amongst the InternetTime Alliance team and Jon Husband asked why all human processes in an organization are in silos. Jay Cross said it was because of different DNA. Training, HR, OD, KM use different models, speak different languages, and go to separate conferences. However, they’re all in the business of connecting and communicating. They just don’t do it with each other. Given the imperatives for continuous growth today, organizations need to give serious consideration to recombining their organizational DNA.