DARE TO SAY IT
TEXT JERE PARTANEN
Let’s face it - developmental organizational culture does not sound really sexy. It reminds of those wasted workplace improvement days that gather people together to watch statistics from the slides. But here come the happy news: this is not the future.
In the year of 2018 you can meet a CEO of a technology company playing with legos. At the same time, many companies aim at a minimum level hierarchy and allow employees to study what interests them during the working day. What do these organizations have in common?
Culture, that promotes development.
But what do we mean when we speak of organizational development? One answer could be that it is all about organizational change in service of better performance, but I feel that this doesn’t capture the whole picture. I’d argue that a more complete definition would include the development and learning of teams, individual members and the culture itself. It’s not all about performance numbers. Well-being and a sense of meaning are to be taken seriously - at least if a company wants to keep a hold on their best.
The next question is that how does all that happen in practice?
How can we turn the old idea of single developmental days upside down? So that employees really would think every working day as an opportunity to learn, and it wouldn’t be just empty rhetoric? What is clear is that just promoting self-directed learning is not enough.
By doing that purely, organization also carries the real risks of overwhelming employees and just being one way to shirk the responsibility for the well-being of said employees.
In addition to the mentality of self-directed learning, there is a fundamental need for meeting individual motivational needs in organizations, otherwise all the grand proclamation of self-direction are just talk. The psychology of motivation suggests that intrinsic motivation for action and learning stem from the three psychological needs being met - those of competence, autonomy and relatedness.
What about the actual tools and methods then?
Experiential learning through games, play and gamified tools has already gained a true foothold in modern organizations and their development efforts. If you asked leaders 15 years ago, would they have considered LEGOs or cutesy card games to be a serious and effective methods for development?
If you asked leaders 15 years ago, would they have considered LEGOs or cutesy card games to be a serious and effective methods for development?