Written by guest blogger Laura Overton, an award-winning L&D Analyst. Laura is an experienced international speaker, author and facilitator with a passion for exploring, challenging and sharing. She believes that the role of learning leaders in the changing workplace is to unlock the potential of business and people.
Recognising our thinking habits and being willing to think differently allows us to see different solutions within the system we are trying to change. If you haven’t already, be sure to read the first part of this blog for a refresher on these thinking habits.
Let’s revisit the three online content challenges mentioned in part one: poor usage, no time, and no commitment. By doing this, we can see that shifting our thinking habits can open up alternative approaches, thereby making your online content work smarter.
A business first thinking habit helps us avoid pushing resources onto an unsuspecting audience and seeing poor usage. It makes us think first about how our content can solve a business problem and, in doing so, become more useful.
Here are some practical tips that emerge from the business first thinking habit:
The Empathetic Explorer thinking habit can help us explore why people have little time for L&D’s solutions by focussing on what is important to users. Over the years, my research has flagged that 77% of workers are looking for content that is relevant and timely to their life and work situation. They want to save time and do a good job!
Listening to users and involving them in our work helps us uncover what is important to individuals in their work and their career. What do they think is a valuable use of their time? More importantly, how can we help them make the most of it?
Here are some practical tips that emerge from the Empathetic Explorer thinking habit:
Surface time-stealing problems in your organisation that your content might address. Find out:
Reduce personal barriers
Make life easier
Prioritise clarity — if you are saving time, make sure your users know it
Removing technical barriers by taking care of hygiene factors
In my experience, the independent approach to others typically puts L&D on the back foot for commitment. When we are constantly trying to win commitment to our solutions, it leaves us frustrated. A learning solution is rarely a priority for anyone outside of the L&D function.
However, when we are constantly looking for ways to show our commitment to finding better business solutions with others, it opens up a new vista of opportunity. Our content is not learning, it’s just content! Learning and long-term shifts in behaviour come through application and repetition. To paraphrase a quote — “it takes a village to change a behaviour”.
Here are some practical tips that emerge from the interdependent thinking habit to help harness that village:
Working with line managers — demonstrate your commitment to their team’s success by:
Working with individuals — demonstrate your commitment to their success by:
Working with marketing and data specialists on a common cause:
Working with partners:
Our content can play a valuable role in supporting vital business change, but our organisations don’t always recognise that. While we can’t change the system overnight, we can get smarter about how we approach the system. This means looking at our behaviours and the thinking habits that shape them.
These tips can help L&D leaders think differently to save time, explore how your content can be useful, and help show commitment to a bigger business purpose. After all, who wouldn’t want that!