October 2014

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Written by Debbie Carter on 1 October 2014 in Magazine

This month’s focus is on performance management

This month’s focus is on performance management and we have a broad variety of articles exploring the subject – from nurturing the environment by Graham Jones (p19) to preparing written records (p27).

Performance management failures, however, lie at the very heart of learning and development. After all, you could argue that if line and senior managers did this part of their job as they should, there would be no need for an L&D team to develop programmes and initiatives to improve workplace performance. Of course that’s not going to happen in the real world but it does demonstrate how important it is for L&D people to understand the business and its people at all levels and to align their activity closely to the needs of the organisation.

Helping managers develop and organise the performance of their people is always going to be an important part of the L&D practitioner’s role, and while understanding the theories of motivation and the mechanics of performance is crucial, perhaps some new ideas can take the traditional route on a detour to something more suited to the 21st century.

Liz Wiseman’s article ‘Learning at the speed of work’ on p48 explores the importance of unlearning. For me, it offers a refreshing new take on how people, particularly experienced leaders, can release their potential. Her view is that although experience has some value in the workplace, in today’s world, where speed of ideas and innovation reaching the marketplace is business critical, the ability to identify and implement new ideas quickly can be the key differentiator between the organisations that fly and those that take a dive.

Through a series of case study examples, she shows that good leaders can free themselves from the restrictions of their ‘experience’ and develop their ability to ‘unlearn’ old habits, behaviours and skills in favour of accelerating new learning outside their traditional comfort zone. As one new leader says: “I feel completely invigorated in this new role...new scientific ideas are just pouring out! I wasn’t even aware that it was in me! I feel more challenged than I have felt in years but also feel more creative and more in control of my life and career than I ever did before.”

Wiseman contends that, in a world when there is just too much to know, questions become even more critical to success, so do take time this month to read part three of our excellent series ‘Fundamentals of Action Learning’ (p53) where Richard Hale explores the role of the mobiliser in AL.

Until next month – happy reading!

Debbie Carter, Editor



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