How collaborative learning can change your business for the better

Collaborative learning is nothing new. We all know that people spend time looking for, reading and watching content to help them do their work. In most cases, this informal learning is in reaction to an immediate need and the source of the information is an online search.

Imagine if all the informal learning achieved in this way was captured and available to everybody in your business. If one person needs to fill a gap in skill or knowledge to perform their work, it is likely others in your business share the need.

Is the knowledge already held by people in your business available to others? Does your business have a collective knowledge base that is aligned with the work your business performs? Collective, accessible knowledge and information that is created, curated and shared is one of the powerful contributors to engagement and culture in a business. Collaborative learning is also an effective means of providing recognition to people that contribute to the collective knowledge.

Our clients are using training and information created by people in their business to deliver effective onboarding to people joining the business. This has standardised the onboarding  experience for every person. Using collaborative learning also assists people to identify subject matter experts in the business and get a feel for the work other people perform in the business.

Here are some ideas to consider.

  • Ideally every person in your business has some knowledge of your strategy and how their work contributes to achieving it. If not, this is where I would suggest you start. I would suggest taking it a step or two further by breaking your strategy into supporting goals and team objectives. If your business is small and does not have teams, consider assigning objectives to functional areas of responsibility in the business and this could be one I recommend the strategy, goals and objectives are documented and communicated regularly.
  • Use the strategy framework to open up a clear line of sight between the work they perform every day in the business to what needs to be completed to achieve the strategy.
  • This process will help guide the types and content of learning, information and ideas developed by everyone to be directly relevant to both the strategy and the work performed everyday. This is a great place to start and it will get collaborative learning embedded in your organisation.
  • Once you have collaborative learning embedded in your business and aligned with strategy, you can take it much further. For example, you may choose to use collaborative learning in your marketing, sales, customer retention, product development and any other aspect of your business.
  • Implementing a cogent collaborative strategy in your business will have a positive impact on the development of intellectual property that will add significant value to your business.

Is your business exploring ways to improve the culture? Boost engagement? Retain your best people? These factors and more will be developed and sustained with a planned collaborative learning strategy and implementation.

If you are interested in learning more about collaborative learning and ideas about how to implement collaborative learning in your business, you are welcome to contact me directly via LinkedIn. You can also request a demo from this page.

Check out our WorkPlan website to learn more about our work in collaborative learning and engagement.

 

The easiest and most difficult place to start your strategic planning

Have you ever sat at your desk and wondered what is the next thing you should do? Is the number of tasks and ‘should dos’ so large that you have trouble distinguishing any priority among them? This is a common situation for many of us in business. When it comes to creating a strategic plan this same situation arises, ‘where should I start?’ 

The reason this is the easiest place to start your strategic planning process is that it is the most obvious. It is the most difficult because it relies on you and your ability to spend time clearly considering many factors that will influence the success or failure of your strategic planning and execution.

I use and recommend defining the vision you have for yourself, your people and your business as the starting point. This may sound easy, but in my experience, personally and with clients, this is often the most difficult part of the strategic planning journey. I like to define vision as seeing the business operating at its peak or optimum state. It need not be related to being the largest or most popular.

A business that operates at its peak fulfils its purpose provide the best it can for its people, owners, customers and community.  If you are a business owner or CEO the vision stage starts with a deeply personal need to gain clarity. Gaining clarity is essential before you send out meeting invitations for ‘brainstorming’ sessions.

In what areas do you need to gain clarity? These will vary depending on your position, for example a business owner or employed CEO. Other considerations are exit strategies, time horizons, impact on people, stakeholder issues among others. If you are a business owner, have you lost touch with the vision that prompted you to start or buy the business in the first place? Are you able to deliver more wealth to shareholders? Are you the right person to drive and execute the strategic plan?

Treat strategic planning as a project. As you undertake the first process of defining the vision and all the factors included in it, these are some recommendations:

  • write down everything you think about.
  • include potential impacts to the people, business and stakeholders.
  • use a two- column positive/negative analysis for ideas and initiatives you are unsure about.
  • consult people in your network that can offer some objective analysis of your work.
  • research competitors locally, nationally and internationally by looking at websites, reviews and LinkedIn profiles.

All this information is going to be used in the other stages of your strategic planning process, so it is important that it is curated so you can easily search for and find information later.

Your business can be written as a narrative, story or in a report style with bullet points. Regardless of how you document your vision, I like to encourage people to synthesise their vision into one or two statements that are easily communicated to the people, customers and other stakeholders of the business. To be effective this statement must be clear, measurable, relatable and relevant.

Now that you have done the hard work, you have a framework to use when engaging others in the strategic planning process.

www.workplan.com.au

 

Check out Percepium LMS 6.0.5

Percepium LMS has had a major upgrade to 6.0 and an update to 6.0.5. The enhancements included in these updates to the learning management system are delivering some powerful new features and functions for our customers around the world. Below is just a short summary of the LMS enhancements. If you would like a comprehensive Release Notes document, please get in touch using our contact details on this website.

Some of the most exciting enhancements deliver a far better user experience for our LMS customers.

The Forum has been completely redesigned and includes shortcuts to make finding posts easier. We also added a new HTML editor, attachments can be added to posts and quoted posts are much easier to follow. Forum moderators can lock a forum thread. Forums can be linked to a specific learning activity or locally to a specific activity.

The Calendar now has agenda and timeline views. Development Plan and Competency Assessments are now shown as events in the Calendar making it much easier for users to stay on top of their own learning and development. Clicking on an item in the Calendar takes a user directly to the Activity.

Percepium has a Learning Journal that now supports file attachments to users’ Journal entries.

The News feature also supports file attachments and includes our new HTML editor.

Search functionality has been enhanced with users having the ability to search in catalogues directly after logging in to the LMS. If your LMS has multiple Catalogs, users can select from a drop-down to search specific Catalogs.

Our current LMS customers always comment on how flexible the Hubs feature is to deliver user experiences that are individualised and relevant to users. We have added more Hubs to our LMS so that users may be offered more tools and features.

Percepium LMS has added four reports that virtually every LMS customer will use. We have added three analytics reports for Competency Profiles and one Organisation Learning Activity Status report.

A minor improvement but one that makes Percepium LMS more fun for users is the rolling dashboard banners. These banner images can be set to timer and can be very effective for mass communication, inspiration and other purposes.

Percepium LMS is an enterprise Learning Management System that can support a large number of domains within the one installation. The Percepium LMS excels at offering many options for user experience, learning delivery and user management.

Check out our other new software platform that builds engagement, productivity and innovation in your business.

Zen and the art of strategic planning

Looking back over the first six months of 2019, I can divide my customers into those having strategies that are so complex they are undecipherable and those that have no strategy at all. In the first group there were 50-page documents with diagrams that still haunt me with shapes and connecting lines akin to the first crayon scribbles of a one year old. What I see so rarely is a ‘Zen- like’ strategy that is simple and clear to any person who reads and/or views it. Understandable to the extent that the strategy can be executed.

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing to the future.”

                                                                        Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Effective strategic planning is a process and not an event. The strategic plan is developed in an evolutionary process that eliminates excess and complexity. It is this process that makes strategic planning more difficult; taking what could be complex and creating something simple and essential.

A small team creates a revolution

An accounting firm was having trouble making a decision at senior partner level to move forward with a series of our programs. Believe it or not one of the issues they identified was poor decision-making processes! In the end, we proved that a small team can create a revolution in culture change.

Out of frustration, one of principals decided to move forward with our programs in her regional office. We started out with our Profiling Program for the partners and managers and followed that with Strategic Planning, Performance Management and Advisory Skills Development.

In eight weeks, we have seen the changed processes and behaviours in the regional office create enormous interest in other offices. The interest was like a groundswell from people in middle management and junior levels who were interacting with people in the regional office.

small teams can create large scale change in an organisation.

The groundswell began as informal conversations and then we noticed emails being sent to managers, partners and senior partners. The messages were clearly motivated by a fear of missing out, FOMO.

The most common topic in the groundswell was about the new client projects the team in the regional office were working on. These were apparent both in SharePoint and the CRM used by the business. The most common topic among the senior partners was the increase of $55k in the 8 weeks after the Advisory Skills Program.

Other changes took a bit longer to be noticed. The Profiling Program expanded in the regional office to include all of the accounting professionals. As usual, this prompted people talking about their profiles and their efforts at becoming better communicators and relationship builders. People in the regional office would innocently ask about the profiles of their colleagues located in other offices and this generated the ‘why didn’t we do the profiling?’

The revolution was underway. In July we begin our Programs in the head office with a roll-out plan across the firm ending in September. You can drive organisational change beginning with a tribe. In our case, the smaller regional office became the role models for what is possible. They will now be our role models, coaches and mentors for participants in our upcoming programs.

Do you want to learn more about how we initiated and executed this revolutionary change in a staid culture? Get in touch.