6 Replies Latest reply on Mar 8, 2012 9:56 AM by jaycross

    Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

      Many Jive customers are are becoming social businesses. They are evolving into self-organizing networks of people and teams that respond to opportunities and threats in near real time. Why? Because social business leverages the intelligence of workers and customers. Social businesses work smarter and innovate faster. They delight their customers and are inspiring places to work.

      We've probably both heard the consulting firms trot out the benefits of collaboration, knocking down silos, communing with customers, and accelerating the pace of business. It's great stuff, but not once have I heard these folks talk about Learning. Social networks were made for learning, but the celebration in marketing departments is drowning out discussion of how an app like Jive could revolutionize corporate learning. 

      To my way of thinking, installing Jive and encouraging people to exploit their connections is only the beginning. The fabric of the social business must incorporate structures and guidance to help people learn. After all, learning underpins continuous improvement and helping to create a culture of continuous improvement is what this is all about.

      Traditionally, training departments provided workshops and courses. They selected the curriculum that determined what workers were supposed to learn. The focus was on knowledge, not skills, and learner satisfaction counted for more than business impact. Training departments focused on novices and paid scant attention to improving the learning and productivity of experienced workers, those people who generate the profits.

      In a social business, L&D (learning and development) professionals nurture learning within the larger organizational infrastructure. Social L&D can optimize learning by making it easy for workers, novices and old hands alike, to find the information they need from FAQs and knowledge bases or from coaches, experts and peers. Instead of tracking butts in seats, they monitor the flow on information in social networks and its impact on key business metrics.

      The shift from training programs to learning networks expands L&D from a limited department isolated from business operations into a critical, pervasive business function. Chief learning officers who embrace this challenge of integrating learning into work face enormous job enrichment. Those who don’t will play severely diminished roles.

      I've been thinking about what's required to shift a lot of top-down courses and workshops to peer-based social networks. Is anyone here interested in discussing this? Might you invite your chief learning officer, if you have one, to join the discussion? Supporting L&D with social networks is too important to leave to chance -- and that's what I see happening now.

        • Re: Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

          I am interested, Jay. Last year I came to the conclusion that the most consistent, pervasive value our employee community has is for learning.

          • Re: Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

            Jay, a +100 to the post. Learning--continuous, networked, peer-to-peer learning--is one of the key values or should be the key value of a social business platform. A platform like Jive can connect novices to expert, learners to "just in time" information and support and much much more. The communities can--with nurturing and guidance--become CoPs giving rise to evolving and emergent practices to meet the needs of complex businesses. No training can take care of exceptions that have become the norm today. But handling of exceptions, patterns in exceptions, can all be shared via a collaborative platform like this to give rise to the emergent practices I mentioned earlier. Thank you very much for bringing up this topic.

            Like you, I think a social business platform can be one of the most powerful learning mediums in an organization--especially in today's globalized world of distributed teams and organizations. The power of such a platform to break down spatial and temporal barriers can also go a long way in fostering sharing and learning together.

            I have a question related to this: Do you think Community Managers should also start playing the role of a "learning connector", a sort of sherpa or guide who connects people to the right resources at the right time?

              • Re: Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

                Sahana, I'm not at all sure who should take the reins on this. I don't see chief learning officers stepping up to the plate. Some of the things that need doing are beyond the scope of community management. Community managers have an important role to play, but somebody's got to take responsibility for the learning ecosystem. There are systemic aspects to learning that ought to be incorporated into the software itself. I'm thinking of scheduled reinforcement and content curation and calling in mentors.It seems to me that we need a new role in organizations, someone to do what a chief learning officer should be doing.

              • Re: Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

                I sure am interested in this discussion. I do think Jay that the thought process of moving to networks from training programs stems from the expectations and the general demographic of the people you employ. For us (Nikhil Nulkar, Sahana Chattopadhyay and dinesh tantri) at ThoughtWorks, it was a no brainer. We employ some of the smartest people in the globe - they know how to find their own solutions; more often than not, even the smartest LnD people will only play catchup to them. Even without social media, passionate software developers have always been collaborative and social in their ways - open source projects, related mailing lists and user groups, open space technology precede our thinking about social business. For us, the key has been to catchup with them than really to transform them in many ways.


                I can understand though that several CLOs are limited by the context of their workplace. Collaboration is not the end - it's only a means to the end. The end we're all aiming for is some sort of an impact on business results. And let's face it - several workplaces have people that are not motivated enough to self drive. Several workplaces are so transactional in nature that the need to collaborate is minimal. It's here that I see people come up with different strategies - game based learning, gamified workplaces, reputation systems, traditional courseware, to keep people engaged and learning. Yes, there's the question of being strategic and finding ways to get your organisation to the next level. And yes, collaboration, social business and all the associated goodies help there. That being said, this is not a binary, all or nothing decision to move towards being a social business. Depending on the context training programs, traditional elearning, coaching, communities of practice (and interest), social networks all need to coexist while the culture and demographics of the organisation go through the transformation you're speaking of. And I'd like to believe that this transformation is not likely to be short for several organisations.



                  • Re: Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

                    Sumeet, I'm not ready to give CLOs a free pass on this one because workers aren't motivated. Their organizations will die if they don't get on board. No matter how enticing the learning modality, and you mention some hot ones, if the workforce is apathetic, people will fail.


                    Few things in business are binary. There are always shades of gray. But I feel many businesses are beyond repair. It's a network era and those who are still playing by 20th century rules won't be around that much longer.


                    I admit to being strident on this -- still under the influence of the Stoos Gathering in Switzerland last month. We want to change the world.


                    The bottom line for me is that most corporate learning is informal, social, and experiential. Those things work better on social nets than in classrooms. So why not put them there?

                  • Re: Time to rethink Learning & Development in this era of social business and Jive

                    I've released a White Paper, Working Smarter in Social Business, that addresses many of the issues we've discussed here. Thoughts?