With St. Charles Consulting Group clients, we say that we build learning agility. “We enhance an organization’s ability to learn and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and to thrive in the current business environment.” Our clear focus is on agility because – in this day and age – if individuals or organizations are not agile, they are likely to be left behind.
From a management standpoint, this begs the question, “If agility is so important to business success, how can we encourage members of our workforce to become more agile?” And our contention is: Make them better learners … by nourishing their natural drive to learn.
n an article in CLO Magazine called, “Agile Learning: Thriving in the New Normal” (see link below), Timothy Clark and Conrad Gottfredson suggest that five conditions need to be present for enhanced organizational agility:
This agile learning framework is solid, and we agree with all components. In the mix of elements, however, the concept that stands out for us is that of “self-directed learning.” In our view, if you have a workforce of self-directed learners, your problems will solve themselves. These “free range” learners will figure out ways to get what they need, and relevant processes and systems will quickly evolve to support them.
The ‘Drive’ to Learn
So, great. Make them better learners. And exactly how do you make that happen? Issue a new policy? Build learning adeptness into the competency model and performance management system? Throw some more SharePoint into the enterprise?
We believe the answer is more systemic than any of those actions, singly or together. For our approach to an answer, we turn to Daniel Pink and his newest book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us.
In a nutshell, Pink contends that our prevailing systems for motivating people (what he calls Motivation 2.0) that rely on “carrots and sticks” are insufficient for our current times. Instead, organizations need to recognize the power of intrinsic motivation in people and to provide an environment that nurtures it. “The innate capacity for self-direction is at the heart of Motivation 3.0.” Motivation 3.0 is characterized as an environment that provides and encourages: autonomy, mastery, and a sense of purpose – an environment where the joy of the work is “its own reward.”
In his Motivation 3.0 toolkit for organizations, Pink offers nine ideas on how to improve:
Interested in creating more agile learners? Then rethink the way that you are motivating your people. Challenging times call for learning-edge thinking and bold, innovative action.
Timothy R. Clark, Conrad A. Gottfredson, “Agile Learning: Thriving in the New Normal,” CLO Magazine(December 2009).
Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Riverhead Books (2009).