When it comes to leading the learning function, dithering is a recipe for disaster. And yet it is a common process for many organizations that need to implement changes in their learning environments.
While dithering may be the root of the inaction, the outward communication is often that there is a “detailed analysis” of the situation going on. Honestly, if it takes months to analyze a performance issue, you probably don’t have the right people working on the problem. The only thing that happens is that nothing happens and the problems are getting worse.
For many learning professionals, they see their role as only the provider of skills to perform a job. While that is a key responsibility, it is not the only benefit that training can offer. Better communications up, down and side to side can be facilitated by appropriate learning actions. Consistent messaging, especially beneficial if the alternative is word of mouth, or social bites of information being passed around. Understanding reality on the ground floor before during and after changes in the work environment can be discovered through learning processes.
So why are leaders in many companies dithering with the establishment and implementation of training? They don’t want to make any mistakes! They are not sure what to do, and don’t have the talent on staff to advise them. They don’t want to hire outside help because that alerts someone else that they don’t have the skills to solve the problem. Imagine a world where everyone is able to do everything. It requires imagination because it does not exist. Yet, for fear of looking less that 100%, we dither day in and day out.
I’ve sadly watched many senior leaders crash and burn because they dither longer than they should, and someone finally calls them on their lack of accomplishment. It always happens, some sooner than others, but dithering catches up with the best of them. It is very difficult to change the direction of a dithering leader, because fear of failure is often entrenched.
My goal is to always find the leader that wants to make changes, build competencies and when it comes to training they are moving mountains to help their employees learn. When I find leaders that are struggling, I insert reality into their universe in order to help them move forward. If that doesn’t work, I realize I have found another dithering leader and it is best for me to move on because they are unable to accept help.
While the goal of training in a perfect world is to get in front of the wave, this is often an unattainable reality. Insert dithering decision-making into the process, and you have moved into the world of hopelessness. If you are dithering, get help now!