Answering 7 Questions Starts with Understanding the Problem
Organizations and firms of all types, in all industries, across all verticals, leverage many tools to gain results when addressing personnel and cultural problems: lawyers and law firms, profits and positive media attention, and even regulations, personnel changes, and, occasionally, business environment uncertainty and disruption.
So, why don’t more businesses, of all sizes and serving all industries, have a system, or systems, in place to effectively resolve conflicts between people, establish leadership expectations, and train personnel to develop new, productive habits?
In a world where everyone is increasingly connected and “on” almost all of the time, it’s more profitable in the long term for workplace cultures to be intentionally developed in an organization that allows for conflict—and conflict-based issues—to be managed through the effective application of leadership principles delivered via training and development tools.
But how can businesses get there, from where they are now?
Understanding the 7 Questions Begins with Intention
Intentional training systems design is the linchpin to developing a coherent and integrated overall organizational culture that can build healthy teams, increase productivity and employee engagement, and increase profits and revenues in the long term.
Culture matters, and in large or small organizations, where multiple people come from multiple backgrounds, representing multiple cultures, intercultural communication can only happen effectively when an organizational culture exists that promotes openness, honesty, and healthy conflict.
Workplace bullying, demotions, loss of productivity, lack of effective forward motion, are all symptoms of a greater disease. And in a world of brand-based, connective media, symptoms can spread disease faster than any inoculations can stop it.
Here are the 7 Questions You Want Answered
Here are seven questions to ask that will help you, your C-Suite, or your human resources administrator, to begin designing and operating a learning and culture system that begins with a software solution and ends with people effectively and intentionally being transformed.
What kind of software solutions are you leveraging now?
Every organization has an LMS, a software program, or is working with a learning management vendor, who can provide the platform, the content, and the tools, to their clients and customers to begin the training process. Of course, we believe that you should buy directly from us, but if you’ve already got a relationship with a vendor, then the next question will make more sense.
How are your training and development efforts living up to the core values of your business?
Punting (avoidance), false empowerment of employees and managers (accommodation), or going to legal and then firing somebody (attack) are all responses to conflicts. Sometimes the responses are representative of true core values, not the ones published on the masthead. When you are looking to leverage training, and you are looking, to begin with, a software solution, you will eventually wind up at the end of the process, dealing with people and people who have thoughts and opinions about how your training selections may—or may not—align with your stated core values versus your unstated core values.
What type of content will solve your leadership, learning, and culture problems?
Content is everywhere on the Internet. From YouTube to your platform vendor, from blog posts to micro-learning processes, content is king. This is great, except the big problem with all this content is that it’s not personalized, customized, or sensitive to your needs as an organization. If your platform vendor offers customization of content—or allows you to upload content to the platform that’s already designed—great. But it might be better to outsource such development to experts who know what to do.
What kind of follow-up will happen after the training session?
Training without coaching, customized assessment of outcomes, or support of people who have gone into the training session in the first place, is training that is wasted. And there is a lot of wasted training efforts in the market today. If your training vendor isn’t providing coaching—at the minimum—as a mandatory follow-up to your leadership and culture development efforts, then you need another training provider.
How are you ensuring training attendees have the internal support to execute on what they’ve learned and absorbed?
Organizational cultures grow intentionally when four areas are prioritized: training, coaching, assessment, and execution. Usually, a lot of focus is placed on the first two, some focus is placed on the third, and almost no emphasis is placed on the fourth area, execution. Top-down and side-to-side training in order to intentionally transform cultures matters. This means getting C-Suite buy-in, midlevel management support and encouragement, and front-line staff willingness to take risks without fear of being fired. Internal support is everything.
When was the last time you audited how you address organizational leadership, learning, and culture problems personally?
This reads like a therapeutic question, but decision-makers and gatekeepers are people first before anything else. And they lead teams, create cultures, and sometimes need to self-examine their own management approaches to learning, leadership, and culture before they take that management approach, plus appropriate content and follow-up, to the larger organization. Advocacy begins in your own team.
How easy—or hard—will onboarding people into a new system be?
Onboarding is not just about navigating the process of getting people registered on a training platform. That’s just the start. Onboarding is about getting people engaged and interested in your organization's cultural development efforts and working to convince them, with clarity, candor, and courage, that the efforts will be intentional, impactful, and permanent.
Resolving conflicts, teaching new skills to employees and managers, and addressing engagement requires businesses to evolve in their training, development, and learning systems.
This is inherently a challenge, but such radical growth allows a company to shift in an economy increasingly built on a model of employees acting as brand ambassadors in a collaborative economy.