CorpU featured a fantastic presentation by Ling Sian Tan who leads the Capgemini Design Centre of Excellence, on how Capgemini is using social learning as a new platform for leadership development. A metaphor Ling used to describe organizations’ current adoption rate for developing social learning programs was a swimming pool, where companies are either:
- still sitting at the bar discussing the possibilities of social learning, (25%)
- about to dive in, (6%)
- wading in the shallow end of the pool, (47%)
- comfortable swimming well in the deep end of the pool, (24%) or
- already up in the lifeguard stand, the masters and purveyors of best practice (0%).
(Percentages next to bullet reflect statuses of audience participants)
Prior to Ling’s presentation, we shared:
CORPU ACADEMY’S 10 IDEAS FOR DESIGNING FUTURE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS using the new paradigm of social learning. As leaders are facing unprecedented times of change and complexity, were beginning to see the opportunities for new technology to meet the demands of our time.
In your designs, consider how to build organization capability. We want to build differentiated strength in areas like innovation, solution selling, logistics management, retailing and distribution for example. We have to understand how to design experiences that consider not just personal skills, but that contemplate cross-functional relationships and external network dependencies, systems and processes and culture. Using our past design ideas, research suggests well get a small percentage of the leaders applying a few new skills. With that approach, we can neither achieve critical mass or escape velocity to make a difference. Our designs
must contemplate the broader needs to build core organization capabilities
that truly are differentiating.
Technology allows us to reach more leaders, to broaden our discussions on strategy and execution to much deeper levels in the organization. Technologies not only expand reach but reduce costs. If it’s too costly to bring 5,000 managers together to hear expert lectures, bring the expert to managers through video or virtual classrooms. Strengthen knowledge at lower levels to build trust, and strengthen capacity for distributed decision making. As marketplace complexity increases, we need to support decision-making at the lower, at the local level where contexts are unique. This will be essential to successful growth, and ultimately to the success of
Again, research suggests that a very small percentage of corporate training is ever effectively applied on the job. Many barriers prevent true behavior change, thereby delivering minimal business impact. Learning programs need to integrate follow-through. We have to stick with people until we see they are achieving value. There are many factors to consider in designing the informal learning follow-on to formal learning.
These are the activities that can accelerate learning and the creation of new knowledge. Our programs need to encourage debate, and must help teams synthesize and expand new ideas to grow their collective knowledge. We have to create immersive environments, and try to consider how seemingly unrelated subject areas might enable mashups to spawn originality.
In a world of rapid change, many answers arent available to distribute to people through learning programs. Even experts may suggest several or many possible ways forward. This is a time when leaders have to forge new paths. The safest way is through safe experiments. Our designs for leadership development must create environments that support experimentation. We have to help leaders identify experiments worth trying, teach them how to design and conduct safe experiments, and analyze and feedback stories of successes and failures, and help the group codify results so they can move together – a bit smarter.
In many aspects of business, the old reliable models and ideas that have worked in the past are like anchors around the feet of leaders who are already treading water. And sometimes leaders can’t see their old models are actually extra weight that’s pulling them down faster than they realize. How can we help leaders break out of old models? Can we discover and hold up examples – sometimes far beyond those we know and are comfortable with, to shed a drop, then a ray, then a flood of light onto new possibilities.
Too often development is focused on things we think leaders might need to know. Perhaps they even misdiagnose what skills and knowledge they need for success. If focus learning on the challenges they’re facing right now, it highlights their immediate knowledge gaps. Once we design around their immediate challenges, we begin to make the first steps toward embedding learning into work – at some point, in some areas for some leaders, the two will be indistinguishable.
Designers should definitely consider how to invite and integrate leader teachers (senior executives, functional leaders and others) to share visions and their teachable points of view on the business, the industry, the global marketplace. Leader teachers should push the debate and add the pressure that’s required to spur new thinking. We want to invite their wisdom into leadership discussions.
How can we help leaders reframe their problems and challenges? Sometimes they get stuck seeing the same seemingly impossible barriers in front of them. Can we help them envision the future and work backwards? Can follow THEORY U principles to help them work from the future? When they continue to look at problems through a single or the same lens, they often cant move forward. Our designs can push them to reframe their problems to overcome their inertia and begin moving again – they don’t even have to move forward – they just have to move.
Our designs can create ways for the leadership team to lock arms as they move forward, sharing what works and what doesn’t as they go. A core principle of social learning is to extend processes and tools for sharing an ongoing dialogue and continuous learning long after the formal learning has ended.
CorpU has designed a new CorpU Academy, new design methodologies and new social learning platform based on insights, discussions and research with its membership community who has been participating for the last 3 years in CorpU’s Leadership Development and Social Learning Institutes. We’d love to get your feedback as to whether we’re on the right path, or if you’ve found something that’s working well, or just to chat about what we don’t know about what we don’t know. Please comment below and we’ll begin a dialogue.