Getting better at what you do?

Every year we learn more about the work we do which helps us to do the job better. Harnessing that collective learning process is what drives performance improvement. At the same time, people move on, roles change and new recruits take time to get up to speed. That is why for every organisation, every day is a learning day and why the ability to develop people is a measure of management competence.

What does it take to guide this learning process so that every learning day helps the organisation to get better at what it needs to do to prosper and grow.

Solving problems drives organisational learning
Working with colleagues on problem areas provides the creative pressure to get closer to what is happening, gain insight and resolve those problems. Not only that but do the well and it creates a 4 -6 times return on the time invested. That means payback in months if not weeks.

Releasing the learning organisation
A symbiosis between improvement and learning is clear. Successful improvement means learning to share information, track progress to the improvement goal, learn from data, to communicate in a timely manner, try out ideas and learn what works, implement change to lock in the gains.

Surprisingly, what gets in the way is the management mindset about what causes problems and how to eliminate them.

Around 50% of recurring problems are caused by poorly designed work routines, knowledge and skill gaps. Another 35% are due to weak or missing equipment standards. That is the equivalent of driving a car without any idea of how much petrol there is in the tank. You know its going to stop sometime but the pressure is on to keep going. All you need is a standard for when to do that and ideally a gauge to tell you when that needs to be done.

The right process will produce the right results
Get the work process right and it will make problems visible. With the right accountabilities and a learning mindset in place, the weaknesses will be worked on until they are resolved.

Four processes drive the learning organisation. They link together to provide the environment for learning and development around business led improvement goals.The Learning Organisation

Process 1: Set Priorities
The pressure to take short cuts is irresistible where the performance dashboard favours short term gains over fixing weak processes. Know what good looks like, know where you are now, invest what you can afford in making progress towards good. Take time to save time.

Process 2: Build Capability
Grow improvement leaders who understand their work, share lessons learned and become role models to others.

Process 3: Daily Management
Make improvement a part of everyone's role. Give them time to work in teams to improve how work is done

Process 4: Performance Feedback
Balance short term pressures with an agreed pressure for change. Use a performance dashboard that creates a sense of pace towards a better outcome. One that encourages conversations about processes that are difficult to use and how to improve them. Aim to create processes that are easy to do right, difficult to do wrong and simple to learn.

Where to start
The notes below set out how to incorporate DAK Academy courses and coaching to support and sustain workplace learning and improvement.  Click on the links to access relevant blog articles.

Getting the basics right
On line Awareness sessions and face to face courses raise awareness of best practice.  The content also include gap analysis and action planning to deal with gaps and remove barriers to progress. This works best when the course content is carried out in house to work on current priorities and facilitate alignment of ideas about next steps.
Creating the conditions for learning
We support the transfer of lessons learned to the workplace reality by facilitating in house programme design with the internal team. The programme is built on quarterly workplace learning cycles to deliver practical improvement results by simultaneously develop cross functional team, team leader, and internal programme governance capabilities.
Workplace learning
The programme is carried out alongside existing duties to integrate learning and improvement into the day to day management routine.