By Roland Bender
Everyone knows this situation: the authorization process for further training has been successfully concluded, the dates were chosen far ahead of time, and suddenly the timing is very inconvenient. On those dates there are important tasks to be completed. During your absence, work remains unfinished. Back at the desk, these processes still need to be concluded, and new ones are already piling up on top. This is particularly irritating in cases where only a fraction of the training was really relevant. Additionally, your supervisor expects a report, and a presentation for the team is also planned – tasks which take up even more time. All in all, the takeaway is: your daily work routine is not in favor of a continued education program.
Nevertheless: there is no alternative to additional training for every individual! Lifelong learning is not a worn-out cliche, it describes a fundamental attitude that employees as well as managers must internalize; especially in change-oriented organizations, which should include foundations. According to an ancient saying, whoever ceases to learn also ceases to participate in life.
Mental 'disquiet' as a driving force
Accordingly, this means that as employers, foundations must create the conditions for continued training opportunities. Conversely, you must also expect your colleagues to see continued education as a self-evident part of their work and one that they implement in practical terms. In times of change, unclear future perspectives, increasing complexity and the waning of clear cause-and-effect relationships, it is necessary to continually adapt concepts and funding strategies.
A mental “state of disquiet” should serve as a driving force for decisive questions regarding the foundation's actions: do we have the most effective solution for our foundation's goal? Are we able to adapt to the demands of our time with our concepts and strategies? Shouldn't we seek exchange with partners who have contrary experiences in the respective field?
The maxim is: do not maintain self-certainty. Seek self-assurance! Answers to these questions can be provided by continued education activities. Do not forget: you should not only offer a program „tailored to the target group“ (=homogeneous). For it is precisely the mixture of different perspectives (participants of different backgrounds, previous education, hierarchies) that offers new insights to every individual.
We must also work on the formats. So-called “frontal teaching” is still the most common form for many classes. On the other hand, discursive formats are often considered unsuitable for knowledge transfer. A gross misjudgment! What we need is more exchange and cooperative learning formats in order to facilitate knowledge exchange and learning experiences across sectors and institutions. A “Learning organization” has become a popular phrase and new impulses from continued education could affect many changes here. Let us develop dynamic learning and organizational cultures – it is high time!
Staying active with new attitudes
Organizational development in a foundation can only succeed when the employees actively support it. Therefore, a key factor for success is to closely accompany change with HR development measures.
Understanding alumni communities through social network analysis
Social network analysis is a helpful tool to analyze your community, foster collaboration, build networks and to support organizational change.