Learning Is At The Centre of Successful Change

In our view, the introduction of lasting beneficial change is inextricably entwined with organisational learning which is characterised by:
  • A learning approach to strategy based on trial and experimentation
  • Participative policy-making with all the workforce able to influence decisions and address conflict
  • Information which is freely available to everyone
  • Reporting systems which are designed to clarify how the organisation works with emphasis on operations and finance
  • Organisation units acting as customers and suppliers
  • A flexible reward policy featuring financial and non financial rewards aimed at maximising performance in a changeable environment
  • Organisational structures to meet the needs of the current prevailing situation which are temporary and can be changed as the business environment changes
  • Staff who interact with customers, suppliers, clients and business partners are treated as a valuable source of information
  • Managers facilitate experimentation and learning in pursuit of improvement
  • There are self development opportunities for everyone
Such a participative and mutually supportive approach helps to ensure that learning is carried over into working practices and underpins the quest for continuous improvement. While the above points may be considered idealistic, there is a correlation between their use, the effectiveness of the organisation and the probability of change being successfully introduced. However, if introducing all of the above steps is seen as too much of a stretch, we suggest that the minimum requirement is the setting up of new measurement systems, supported by coaching and the right tools and a reward system that encourages the desired change.

The passing on of knowledge and know-how is also an important success factor. Training - both formal and informal, on and off the job are necessary - but some words of caution are needed:
  • Whereas formal training may be an effective last step in the change process, it is not particularly effective when it is used on its own to bring about changes in workforce behaviour or as a substitute for changes in management behaviour.
  • Training that is isolated from the realities of what is happening in the organisation, especially its measurement and reward systems can often be a waste of time and money
All too often, the knowledge transfer aspects of the consultant’s job are left to a single training component at the end of the initiative and as a result, the lessons are not put into practice. Knowledge transfer should start at the early stages of an engagement and be ongoing and continuous and so In the spirit of sharing our learning at the earliest possible opportunity, the following sub-pages provide insight into some of our preferred techniques and point to useful and relevant information available on the internet.

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