Eric provides a great list of things on the learning side. I added some things as well.
I'm a great believer that we all have some ability to influence, so I'm inclined to say, "YES," we could have done some things better.
Not that we have control. Not that others aren't more responsible. Certainly the incompetence of the former presidential administration, the deregulatory mindset we'd bought into, the senior management we work for. But, we could have done some things differently. What do you think?
https://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.png00Will Thalheimerhttps://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.pngWill Thalheimer2009-03-31 07:45:002009-03-31 07:45:00Were We Responsible for the Financial Mess...?
https://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.png00Will Thalheimerhttps://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.pngWill Thalheimer2009-03-26 20:08:262009-03-26 20:08:26Will's Video: Job Aids -- Not Just Child's Play
David Mackay, Kellogg's chief executive, said his company trusted
audits performed by the American Institute of Baking International, the
biggest food-inspection firm in the country. The institute conducted
scheduled inspections of PCA's facilities and never flagged serious
problems. It issued a "certificate of achievement" and a "superior"
rating last August, when PCA was getting results from internal
laboratory tests that revealed a salmonella problem in its plant in
Blakely, Ga., congressional investigators said.
Many well-known companies (including Kellogg) trusted outside food auditing firms to test the ingredients they were sourcing for their own products. Others, like Nestle, sent their own auditors and rejected PCA products after finding rat droppings, beetles, and other detritus in PCA's products.
Not surprisingly, PCA paid American Institute of Baking International to perform the audits (AND to certify PCA as in compliance).
When a company pays an auditor, the auditor may have incentive to be lenient.
When a company relies on outside inspectors to assess other entities, they may not get good information.
When an industry fails to provide good oversight and regulation, bad things can happen.
Just because something is certified, even by the largest or most prestigious certifying body in an industry, doesn't mean the certification can be trusted.
It's not just about good people, it's also about good structures, oversight, and information.
Is this Relevant in the Training & Development, Learning & Performance Field?
Yes. You bet. We have:
Awards that are biased toward those paying award application fees.
Top 10 and Top 20 lists that represent the awarding entity's client list.
Industry research based on surveys sent to the research entity's clients' client lists.
Industry research that is biased toward the research entity's biggest clients.
Conference sessions that are guaranteed for companies who pay for exhibit space.
Webinars by sponsoring organizations.
Unfortunately, there is no trusted journalistic institution in our field. Our trade organizations are timid because commercial interests pay the bulk of their operating expenses. Most of our bloggers (me included) are timid because we earn our living in the field. Where the hell are the freelance bloggers who our social-media evangelists promised would rise up to fight corruption and injustice?
Best Advice in Current State
The best advice at this point in time is:
Do your own digging.
Form groups of other skeptical diggers and share information.
Don't just get angry about this. It's the way the world works. Find work arounds.
If you can't point fingers, gently avoid the corrupters.
If you're entangled with a corrupting entity, gently work to reform it, or leave it.
If you are a corrupter, forgive yourself, reform yourself.
https://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.png00Will Thalheimerhttps://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.pngWill Thalheimer2009-03-20 10:13:542009-03-20 10:13:54From the Training and Development Peanut Gallery
The following photographs I took with my cell phone (Samsung Omnia) looking outside my windshield while double-parked in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. You can click to enlarge the pictures.
Here is a question for you to answer:
Why do the snowflakes in the picture look like needles (or needle-like structures)? To make this more difficult, more than one answer is correct.
1. They broke apart while falling to the earth. 2. They were originally formed as needle-like structures. 3. They shattered into pieces when they hit objects. 4. The temperature of the air dictated the shape. 5. They combined into needle-like structures while falling.
See if you can guess one of the correct answers. DON'T FORGET TO HIT THE "VOTE" BUTTON !!
How This is Relevant to the Workplace Learning-and-Performance Field.
Most people will probably get the answer to the snowflake question wrong, even with a 40% chance of getting a correct answer. Most of us have only learned about the prototypical snowflakes, those with beautiful six-sided symmetry. But as it turns out, snowflakes actually can take many forms, including the needle-like snowflakes in the pictures above. Snowflakes formed at different temperatures form into different patterns.
If we in the learning-and-performance field are serious about on-the-job learning (a much better term than "informal learning"), we need to be serious about how managers in organizations do their work, and specifically about how they guide learning on the job (and incidentally how they use formal training initiatives to enable and improve on-the-job learning).
Recently, a group of leading management thinkers got together to re-imagine management.
Here is a brief blog post on their thinking. It is well worth some reflection.
https://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.png00Will Thalheimerhttps://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.pngWill Thalheimer2009-03-04 09:45:462009-03-04 09:45:46New Management Ideas. Yes, They Should Be Central to Learning-and-Performance.
A nice new review of research on goal-setting provides some balance in how goals can be used to guide workplace performance.
The following (admittedly low-quality) graphic comes from the authors' working paper.
The authors don't deny that goals can be useful and powerful. Instead, they focus on the negative side-effects that can occur.
Their balanced approach seems eminently sensible to me. The SMART goal revolution didn't always acknowledge some of the downsides, nor did it provide a Situation-Based Learning Design approach, providing learners with a sense of when to use goals, and when not to.
The authors: Lisa D. Ordóñez, Maurice E. Schweitzer, Adam D. Galinsky, and Max H. Bazerman
My thanks to marciamarcia on Twitter for letting me know about this important work.
Working Paper Executive Summary (copied from first link above):
For decades, goal setting has been promoted as a halcyon pill for improving employee motivation and performance in organizations. Advocates of goal setting argue that for goals to be successful, they should be specific and challenging, and countless studies find that specific, challenging goals motivate performance far better than "do your best" exhortations. The authors of this article, however, argue that it is often these same characteristics of goals that cause them to "go wild." Key concepts include:
The harmful side effects of goal setting are far more serious and systematic than prior work has acknowledged.
Goal setting harms organizations in systematic and predictable ways.
The use of goal setting can degrade employee performance, shift focus away from important but non-specified goals, harm interpersonal relationships, corrode organizational culture, and motivate risky and unethical behaviors.
In many situations, the damaging effects of goal setting outweigh its benefits.
Managers should ask specific questions to ascertain whether the harmful effects of goal setting outweigh the potential benefits.
https://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.png00Will Thalheimerhttps://www.worklearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/wlr-logo-color-FLATline-300x67.pngWill Thalheimer2009-03-02 13:55:542009-03-02 13:55:54Are Goals Always Good? No....Watch Out for Side Effects.