P&C planning mistake no. 1 – We deliver what our people want

All learning and development initiatives happen way before the actual event. We know this. Thinking about the design, how it links to the strategic objectives, negotiation of budgets and the list goes on. What I am seeing are these awesome learning strategies with less of an impact than we would like. For your people and the business. I want to help you change that.

What I want for your learning and development programs are 2 things:

Maximum impact. This includes high engagement across the business, performance being managed, less meetings more implementation, your people clearer on their priorities and self-awareness growing at record levels. To name a few.

High performance attendance.  Where your people don’t just turn up, because their manager said they should. We want your people to want to be there with high expectations of it being awesome.

Over the next few weeks you can diagnose where your L&D initiatives might be missing the mark and how to make your investment high impact.

1. We deliver what our people want

If you asked a child what they would like more of to be happy what are they likely to say? Lollies, a bike, to stay up late or for their brother or sister to be given to another family.

If you asked a group of couples what they want more of in their relationships, what would you get? It’s likely to be less nagging, more time together and more sex maybe.

The same goes in the workplace (not the sex bit). I’d like better food, no one mandating where I work and more money. Ok yes, I am generalising in all of the above.  We run engagement surveys and focus groups to find out what people want and need. But what if they don’t know what they really need? And often what they want and need are not the same.

Cy Wakeman, author of Reality Based Leadership says the problem with engagement scores is that it rates everyone’s answers equally. But how people choose to be in a workplace is not equal. If people are expecting a workplace to make them happy then the ‘organisation’ has to do all the work on their internal frame of reference. 

Organisations don’t make people happy. We do that for ourselves. That’s self-ownership. 

So asking everyone how they feel about their workplace will be based on their bias for who takes responsibility for a better workplace. I love this concept.

Cy shows that there is a correlation between the disengaged and those that blame external circumstances and people as a default. That is, unhappy people have a tendency to think the situation they are in is outside their control and not something they can fix or change. So they want the circumstances and people around them to adjust, for them to be engaged in what they are doing, and where they are working.

We also give them what they want in terms of timing. Give me a lunch ‘n’ learn and all our people will be better at feedback. Pfft. Or we can allocate 2 hours to becoming a risk focused business. Poppycock! These are band aids at best. 

This then perpetuates the cycle. Workplaces keep ‘fixing’ what employees want by asking them. And the disengaged workforce expects leaders and others to do all the heavy lifting. It also creates greater levels of entitlement. The exact opposite of what our intention is. I’m not saying we don’t ask. I’m suggesting we look for the problems that exist and solve them. Not create more entitlement.

If you lead teams, or businesses, and want to know how to embed a feedback culture, then you should come to my free online event. Register here.