Let’s face it; change is hard. Many of us have recently dealt with more change than we ever thought possible. In the shift to remote work, many of us have learned that implementing change requires more than just a solid strategy for change management, but on a deeper level, it requires a commitment to learning how to work differently. 

Many of us initially struggled with the transition from face-to-face to remote. However, after we did a little training by reading some articles, watching a few Zoom meeting tutorials, and then practiced what we had learned, we got better. We need to apply the same strategy to our organizations after creating a change. We must solidify the change by continuing to train and reinforce how we’ve learned to work differently after the change. In this article, we’ll discuss three ways to use training and development to reinforce the changes made at your organization.

  1. Use a training sandwich approach. When a change or new process is rolled out, make sure you create a training sandwich. Train your team before, during, and post-implementation. Repetition is key to solidifying change and making it “stick.” Although there are many ways to approach this idea, Procore is a great example of a software company that has given tremendous thought to how important training is to adoption. Procore has learning paths and certification programs for each type of user accessing their platform as well as continuing education content.
  1. A link to a Confluence page or a Sharepoint site is NOT training. Training by definition is “the skill, knowledge, or experience acquired by one that trains.” Other synonyms for training include: drill, exercise, practice. In Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, Mattis details the preparation required prior to any military campaign. Drills and practice are critical to the success of any mission and Mattis attributes much of the success he experienced on the battlefield to the drills conducting prior to each mission. Successful outcomes directly resulted from extensive practice so that when errors were made on the battlefield, his troops could quickly adapt and overcome. What if we applied this same care and diligence in our training programs after a change was made within our organization? Practicing what we learn is key to adoption.
  1. Communication is a two-way street. After changes are made, many times the communication stops. Implementors of change stop sending written communication and managers stop discussing the new change at meetings. However, how teams communicate change and keep the conversation going, is another key aspect of training. Communication should not be the one-way push of information. A key element of communication is listening to feedback and creating forums for discussion. Don’t underestimate the power of listening to your team. Discussion is a key element of learning and reinforcing new changes. These discussions can also lead to improvements and innovation as well.

Change may not always be easy, it’s important to nurture the change once it’s made. Backing change with a solid training approach is an excellent way to reinforce and increase adoption within an organization.

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Collaborating for Success

In school, I always struggled with the team project. The idea of collaborating with others and creating a plan for creating the work always seemed to lend itself to a lot of vague discussions followed by one person doing the heavy lifting to get the project across the finish line. In my career, I’ve learned that essentially most of my work life is one big group project. I’m sure we’ve all worked on projects with colleagues that go well and then we’ve worked on some projects that just can never get going or get finished. What are the key features of a successful collaboration versus an unsuccessful one? 

Trust

At the core of a positive collaborative experience is trust. If your team trusts each other, it really does enhance the communication process. In Franklin Covey’s book The Speed of Trust, Covey describes in great detail the benefits of working in a high-trust environment. A few of these benefits include decisions being made faster and the outcomes of these collaborative efforts are more impactful. 

Clarity

What is the purpose of your project or collaborative effort? Is there a specific time when the purpose or objective needs to be completed? Collaborative endeavors that seem to drag on are usually lacking in a clear purpose and a deadline hasn’t been agreed upon. If these two items are taken care of right at the beginning of a project, the team has a better chance of success. Also, each team member should have a clear idea of their purpose for being on the project as well as what is expected 

A Conflict Management Strategy

When collaborating with others, differences of opinion are bound to happen, and having a strategy for managing conflict is helpful to continue to move forward. The first step in managing conflict is to accept it’s happening. If a team tries to ignore the fact there is an issue, this is only going to break any trust within the team that has already been established. Direct communication is generally best between those team members that might be experiencing conflicting views.

Summary

Collaboration is essential in the workplace. As long as teams focus on supporting a high-trust environment, having a clear focus and deadline, and a strategy for managing conflict, any collaborative endeavor can be successful.