Last week, I attended the Midwest Conversation Cafe (group dedicated to discussing cutting edge ideas in customer support and knowledge management) meeting called ‘Making Change Stick’ featuring Phil Verghis of The Verghis Group. I was surprised at how relevant the presentation was to training. Verghis cited a statistic at the beginning of the presentation from the American Society for Training & Development–
Launch & forget: US firms spent $156 million on employee learning last year, and studies show that 90% of skills are lost within 1 year.
–and I sat up and started taking notes. For me, the other key takeaways included:
- How to get truly effective feedback / gauge effectiveness of training
Surveys are essentially a beauty contest. Exams aren’t efficient because everyone takes tests differently. The only way to truly measure effectiveness is how well the constituency fares AFTER the fact–how the skills/knowledge is implemented and continued. “How you learn doesn’t matter as long as the desired outcome is achieved,” Verghis said, and recommended finding ways to assess via peers and customers (aka students, in my higher ed role).
- Develop a methodology sparked by a litmus statement
The difference between a litmus statement and a mission statement? “The mission statement is the one with all the Dilbert words,” Verghis (accurately) said. The statement also needs to include goals on outcomes, not activities–difficult, but achievable.
- Get the managers out of the room
The point is to create a system that works and is accessible to those who need it, when they need it. The assumption (most often the truth) is that when managers are involved, they tend to jump ahead and focus on the bottom line, or the ROI, or some other second level causation. So, kick them out. But only for a bit. Let the doers put their minds together to formulate the plan, then let the managers come back into the room and figure out how to support the plan.
He also touched on gamification, where concepts of gaming are applied to the business world…the big trend right now. The last part of the presentation focused in part on behavioral science, some recommendations for reading (The Happiness Hypothesis, Switch, and Nudge) and a (not-so-subtle) push for Verghis’ new endeavor, Dancing E (uses knowledge centered support to enable knowledge. sharing. for. all). Still interesting, but not quite as relevant as the first half of the presentation.
I’m excited to consider the first and second points more, and think about how to integrate them into my own, evolving methodology (naturally, the third point is the dream for any employee, right…jk jk jk). Knowledge management isn’t anything with which I’ve had more than passing experience, but I think I’ll make it a pillar of what I’m developing here.