Navigating the space between process and excellence. Is your organisation agile enough?

The gap between process and excellence

How will you fill the gap between process and excellence?

Process will get you so far: it will get you precisely too the edge of the abyss. I’m increasingly interested in the disconnect between formal, abstract, ‘knowledge age’ training and the requirements of the dynamically connected and agile Social Age. Where performance is what matters, our approach to learning design and delivery, our view of learning, need fluidity. It’s not one size fits all for five years, it’s about dynamically created solutions custom fit to the needs of individuals. It’s about engagement to get me interested and performance support to let me work better, work smarter. It’s about delivering change rather than being swept along by it.

Command and control are no longer valid: as the divide between formal and informal spaces breaks down, as social and formal coexist and individuals take increasing responsibility for curating their artisan skills, it’s facilitation, generosity and narration that count. Who can share best, who can tell their story and co-create meaning? Who can be agile and use that agility to innovate, to not only stay ahead of the curve but to decide where to draw it.

As Nigel said in our workshop last month: what power do you have? Everyone has power, it’s how you choose to wield it that counts.

Process is about foundations and structure, excellence is about experience and caring. Excellence is about storytelling and honesty. It’s about being unafraid and proud of your achievements, but being humble enough to be a continuous learner. To accept that when we stop learning, we resort to process, we lose agility. It’s not how capable i am today that counts so much as how capable i can be tomorrow and how the organisation can support this performance gain. Through provision and belief in social learning spaces to surround and embrace the formal ones, and through technical tools that suit my needs, not technology to control and restrict me.

These articles may be relevant if you’re interested in these areas:

1. This piece explores the nature of work in the Social Age
2. This one looks at how performance improvement is iterative, supported by technology and social learning
3. This one explores agility

And these are the questions that the organisation should be asking itself:

Questions: the space between process and excellence

Questions to ask within the organisation to determine how you are bridging the gap between process and excellence

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Adaptability, Agile, Challenge, Change, Collaboration, Community, Culture, E-Learning, Formal Spaces, Informal Spaces, Instructional Design, Knowledge, Learning, Learning Culture, Learning Design, Productivity, Social Learning, Training and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Navigating the space between process and excellence. Is your organisation agile enough?

  1. Pingback: Navigating the space between process and excell...

  2. howilearnt says:

    Hi Julain
    Thanks for this post. A couple of things resonated with me. Firstly, I liked your comments in relation to the correlation between process and excellence. I work within this daily in my role and your so right. often I find that the focus is process process process … not surprising given the largely operational business I work in. Often I find I need to work hard to enable my learners to understand the context and purpose of process with a wider ‘customer centric’ lense and I find that drives excellence in performance. I rely on story telling to drive that message and help learners to better understand that their role is more than process. whats interesting is that much of the individuals performance is rated on their ability to perform the process to a competant standard. often I find that this – bu default – bribgs the focus back to process which can often lead to a break down in performance (as often times, process is dependant on technology, workflow, process triggers etc etc). what is the role of organizational learning here? I often wonder how I can work with the business and deliver behavioural and mindset chnage around the way in which performance is measured. I wonder how we can asses excellence through performance.

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  9. Nick Chisnall says:

    The end result – the performance – wins the day in business and often only the individual and those around them know how they got there – somewhere between process and excellence.

    Embedding the process can take up all of the resources available, leaving the trainer/manager dealing in process more than excellence. Over time both trainer/manager and individuals can work together to move through to excellence given the time to work together and desire of all parties.

    Will individuals and teams be more open in sharing excellence and enable business to replicate this by building relevant training that supports excellence once the process is embedded?

    • julianstodd says:

      You describe the trap perfectly (because you’ve had experience i’m sure :-). Organisations get trapped embedding process, failing to grow excellence. Often i feel that what excellence there is, is there despite, not because of, the training.

      There is a common failing in organisational approach, which is to fail to train managers (or facilitators) effectively to bridge the gap. This is a particular problem where managers are recruited internally or on subject matter expertise: they may find themselves out of their depth with new process, unwilling to admit to their own failing or lack of knowledge and, as a result, failing to develop the performance of others.

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