On developing a culture of excellence.. a start

It has been found that organizational culture is difficult to influence; when attempting to breed new behaviors success often depends on a mixture of strong leadership/followership and the institution of intuitive and relevant process and structural initiatives.

When considering the bigger picture, often the multi-dimensional value of consistent training and development is overlooked.

One aspect is motivation.  A consistent and perceived-fair training and development program is a great motivator in helping people realize their potential.  When there is institutional pride in the work being done,  it has been found that people are more motivated to accomplish even the most mundane of tasks.  Giving someone a training opportunity makes them feel like their work is important in the eyes of their managers, and that sense of appreciation goes a long way.

People need to feel like they are doing well, but sometimes that doesn’t leave room for improvement.  When training opportunities arise, it stirs the pot up a bit, and shows people more of what they do not know in a way that empowers them to achieve. As opposed to what some organizations do when they pit employees against one another in what some think is a ‘healthy’ competition. For example,  “Bob over there is performing fantastically. Just look at his numbers. You need to make your department more productive, like his.”  A motivation-minded leader would find out what Bob is doing differently and provide others in the organization with a learning opportunity.

I have seen poorly-planned and unfair training initiatives as well, and the effect is generally one that creates even more displeasure and distrust. “Aww geez, I have to go to that training, ” I’d hear, “might as well take me out and shoot me.”  Or, “Why does he get to go to all of the professional development courses? I’ve been here longer and have been begging for a class for years.”  I suppose with everything that might benefit people there is a chance if done poorly it could harm.

As this is just a start of the conversation, I’m trying to figure out where to go after motivation. I think it’s good to invest in the intellectual capital of the organization, and see it as a long-term investment, but the economy and workforce is in a state of unstable uncertainty right now. Sometimes I think we should create a new type of guild system, in which people with different skills need to belong to professional organizations and hold one another to account for the excellence in the profession as a whole. That might open up a very large can of worms.

Whether the training and development takes place through a workplace or professional organization, however,  I believe it is going to make the difference between success and failure for many people. The landscape under our feet continues to change at an ever-increasing pace, and agility as we move shall be measured by how much we know about what is around us.


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