12 Apr Learning Implementation Tips for Impactful Performance Results
As leaders and managers, you may have intuitively experienced that committed application of new learning by team members produced impactful performance results or innovation. This researched article provides an actual case and practitioners’ tips to help you consciously leverage the learning of your team members who attend learning programs, seminars, conferences and certifications for impactful performance results and innovation.
The case highlights on how new learning resulted in change in performance behaviors. A director with a technology MNC who got promoted to become a functional head had difficulty in managing his new role. His new role required him to be the Manager of managers who were earlier his peers. He had only received training on a First-Time-Manager program in his previous role. His 360 feedback report showed that he was still managing the individual contributors under his managers directly and sometimes by-passed his manager resulting in higher exit of managers under him. It was found that instead of spending time in delegating to his manager and coaching them, he was involved in day-to-day firefighting. As part of his development plan, the manager was assigned a coach who helped him to discover and learn the additional skills and mindsets required to manage his managers. The most important of those were on how to make his managers accountable for performance management of their direct reports, coaching skills, allocating resources across teams in an unbiased way irrespective of his alliance with any particular team in the past, building committed teams and cross-team and functional networking. A repeat dipstick survey was done after 6 months and it was found that the managers, his direct reports, gave an improved feedback on delegation and coaching and building a committed team. The direct reports were now more engaged by the change in performance behaviors of the director.
Similar examples and research findings suggests that a change in thinking and subsequent change in performance requires new learning. The learning is beyond a mere recollection of a body of knowledge and skills about a subject but also includes:
- the background and context of application of the new learning,
- inter-dependency and impact of application of the learning on other existing systems, structures and processes in the environment and culture
- learner’s existing beliefs and personality which could become a potential aid or block to learning.
- A survey conducted by the Hay Group found that 42% of surveyed employees rated the job training provided by their organizations as poor. As far as possible, nominate for or persuade team members to attend performance metrics aligned learning events with clearly defined learning and performance objectives to produce results.
- Actively solicit new ideas and suggestions from team members who attend any learning event to contextually apply learning to projects for improvement or meaningful innovations.
- Always ask and encourage team members who attend any learning event to share and apply at least two or three things in their projects or in their work after validating its impact.
- Do a pilot application of the new learning in a relatively less impactful project, small teams, and units or only in one or few departments before a full-fledged application or roll-out .
- On a rotational basis, invite your team members to be part of task forces or projects to learn and apply new ways in a low-risk environment. This could be done even if there is a restriction due to rotation policy of eighteen or twenty four months as observed in technology companies.
- Take proactive sponsorship for material, systems and other relevant resources from top management for the team members to apply learning which could produce impactful results.
- Monitor and follow-up on implementation of learning every thirty days to ensure performance results.
- Institutionalize reward schemes to recognize team members who quickly implement new learning for improved results.
- Research to apply new learning from latest models of performance and cultural change derived from chaos and complex systems thinking approach.
- Above all, develop a coaching and development-oriented mindset to tap into the learning potential of your team for implementing and getting impactful performance results.