Every learning strategy exists to take a business from point A to point B via an essential new piece of knowledge, process, or behaviour change. To do this, audience engagement and cooperation is vital. While there is no magic button to make people engage with a strategy, focusing on the motivations of your learners will provide a fast-track route to better engagement and status quo change.
With a shiny new initiative to embed into your organisation, it’s tempting to start with the ‘what?’ and develop the solution from there. In the maze that is audience engagement, this is a dead end. Instead, focus in on the ‘why?’. The ‘why?’ is what will drive forward your change and make the difference.
The reason for your learning strategy is obvious to you. X needs to happen so that Y can. Y will benefit everybody because of Z. It’s a simple formula. But are your teams aware of this context? And is X important or even relevant to them? How will a change in process or a new piece of legislation impact Craig on the sales floor?
Maybe Craig needs to take notes after speaking with customers about their likes/dislikes or big life plans they might have coming up. You need Craig to do this so that the next time this customer makes an appointment, he can refer back to these notes and easily build a rapport with the customer. This could lead to increased customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and repeat custom. Have you told Craig why this should be important to him and why he should sit up and pay attention?
Nobody in your organisation is sitting around with time on their hands. We all have busy schedules and a way of working that gets the job done. If your strategy doesn’t align with their priorities, you face an uphill battle to grab their attention and cooperation.
The Audience Engagement Convoy
Imagine everyone in your team is travelling in a convoy. You might know the route to where the business is going but can you say the same for everyone else? For them, the worst-case scenario is that they’re heading into the great unknown without a satnav.
Your shiny new learning initiative is a crossroad on the route. For you, the route is obvious and well sign-posted – you turn right and it’s straight on until morning. For your team, it’s less obvious – there are three different ways they can go. They can:
- Turn right with you – otherwise known as strong engagement. People understand where you are going and follow your ‘directions’ to get there.
- Turn left – otherwise known as mixed engagement. People understand where you want to go but disagree with your route.
- They carry straight on – otherwise known as no engagement. People perceive your strategy as irrelevant or unachievable and continue as before.
- To get people to turn right, your goals must align with theirs. They need to believe that what you are proposing can and will benefit them on a day-to-day basis.
The Why Conflict
It’s a hard truth to face but your ‘why’ is not as important to your team as their ‘why’. The why that drives your learning should be driven by the needs of the wider team to support the business strategy. As with Connected Services in this article, why a particular thing is important to a brand or head office can be completely different to why it should be important to your people.
Progress doesn’t happen when one person does one big thing. Change happens when everyone makes changes in day-to-day tasks. When creating the shiny new learning strategy, you have to look at how the change will positively improve their skills and opportunities. Give them the trust and the power and learners will push both themselves and the business forward.
The Road Forward
So your challenge – should you choose to accept it – is to convince people what they do can and will impact the bigger picture. At RTS Group, this is at the core of every solution we offer and is the philosophy that drives scoping on all projects and briefs.
If this is something your organisation has struggled with, why not get in touch and we can discuss how to put your colleagues at the centre of your learning strategy.