The growing complaints from workforces and customers across the world is amazingly similar no matter the industry.
- “I do not have enough time.”
- “They are throwing too much training (or reports, or customer data, etc.) at me.”
- “Goals are changing too fast (or not fast enough).”
- “No one cares what I think and/or know.”
Employees and teams struggle to keep up with the blinding speed of the delivery of information, big data insights, disruptive technologies, evolving communication channels, and cultural diversity issues.
The digital transformation strategy was meant to help employees battle these issues, but in many ways, it has accelerated the problems. Employees need the right habits to prioritize, collaborate, create and curate actionable information into successful business results. Businesses often focus on speed and excellence in using and acting on customer insights. Instead, how about acting on employee development insights? The employee journey (investments in developing habits) ensures employee collaboration, engagement, creativity, and innovation can quickly adapt to organizational and market changes. Aligning employee and customer journeys has become the most critical challenge facing global business today. Succeeding in only one of these two journeys creates a severe competitive disadvantage.
Why are leadership development programs failing at most companies? Deborah Rowland helps answer the question with insights on why classroom-based learning models must be replaced by “journey-based” models. The current failures of traditional leadership development training/programs are rooted in the industrial training methodologies of the university. Ms. Rowland’s research and practice have supported the need to evolve leadership training into experiential programs that aim to change the habits and behaviors of future leaders. We agree that emotional intelligence theory has a great role to play in this new learning, but ACA research and practice has determined that cultural intelligence theory is a more powerful predictor of superior leadership performance and results. Still, Ms Rowland’s work is clearly a powerful improvement over the status quo.
Why is corporate culture now seen as the leading engine of company performance? That’s the topic of Ricardo Semler’s Ted talk, which has been seen more than 2 million times. He proposes that corporate culture and the foundation of learning must realign to the new realities of the digital age: people’s humanity, not machine efficiencies are the core competitive advantage. As Peter Drucker said, “doing the right thing,” deliberating and choosing what to do or not do next is the humanizing decision that defines great cultures with aligned values. Semler looks to redefine that process. How can your company culture be hacked toward this new thinking?
George Westerman is a principal research scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is at the forefront of digital transformation research driving companies all over the world. He discusses the impact of technology changes on business management in this recent Management Review article. His nod to the importance of corporate culture is noteworthy. People, and the organizational culture that contains them, are always at the heart of sustained business success, Technology and data-driven innovations must be accompanied by corporate culture innovations to build and sustain their positive impact.
There have been repeated attempts to save annual employee performance appraisals from the trash heap of failed corporate HR policies. For companies participating in the digital age, it is another example of good intentions from the industrial age that do not fit anymore. The HBR article by Peter Cappelli and Anna Travis explore this failure in detail and why it continues to persist. The question still to be settled is: What is the best way to replace the 50+ year old practice?
A new paradigm in corporate learning circles is emerging. Say goodbye to the classroom and hello to the learning journey. A new article in Chief Learning Officer magazine describes the reinvention of corporate learning into the corporate culture function. It proposes that chief learning officers become chief culture officers, and the learning and development (L&D) department become people and engagement (P&E). Meanwhile, learning needs to change from a one-act classroom event to an ongoing learning journey that strengthens and sustains the company culture. This is a complete reshaping of corporate learning programs into culture campaign programs. It is an excellent article.
[This post is part of a series called Exploring Cultural Intelligence written by David Arnowitz, co-founder of Arnowitz Culture Agency. The series will explore the problem and solution spaces that encompass the field of Cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence research is central to the ACA approach of corporate culture/performance improvement programs]
Jon Katzenbach has delivered some great advice over the years for those considering culture change efforts in any organization. In the summer of 2012, he co-authored an article that still has great insights—two of which have proven out in our culture work at Arnowitz Culture Agency. First, focus on a few critical shifts in behavior. Secondly, honor the strengths of your existing culture. His HBR article is an excellent introduction to what makes a culture change ‘stick’.
A new Chief Learning Officer Magazine article reports on a new study that concludes current corporate training programs are failing to help employees. This is actually not much of a surprise since it supports numerous other studies that have concluded the same. A new approach is really needed, and it should start by aligning with the way people actually learn and the role culture plays in this learning.
[This post is the first in a series called Exploring Cultural Intelligence written by David Arnowitz, co-founder of Arnowitz Culture Agency. The series will explore the problem and solution spaces that encompass the field of Cultural Intelligence]