Enterprise Coaching Wants: Realizing, Doing, Believing
Secrets of Goal Setting for Business Needs Analysis: Knowledge, Action, Belief
This article is part of a series that looks at the seven elements of needs analysis. The elements are: curriculum mapping, knowing / doing / believing, defining the target group, designing a learning brand, defining the return on investment, building the team and the scope of the project.
What you are reading right now is a fable. AshCom is a fictional company, but the learning challenges that Kathryn, AshCom’s CLO, and their team face are real and shared by learning teams across corporations, nonprofits, associations and educational institutions. We hope you can connect with the characters, their challenges, and the solutions they discover. Building and following a needs assessment system is critical to the success of the learning opportunities we create.
How to Change Your Approach Requirements Analysis: A Story Around the 7 Essential Elements
How does the fictional company AshCom adapt to changes and develop innovative L&D solutions? Discover the seven crucial components of a successful needs analysis.
Kathryn’s path to discovery
Careful, thorough and methodical: these words described Kathryn to the tee. She liked systems and spent a lot of her time thinking about how different parts fit into the whole. This mental habit naturally appeared at work and in most other areas of her life.
As the Chief Learning Officer at AshCom, she has worked hard to ensure that the individual members of her learning team have solid relationships with one another. It was important that they confide their opinions and perspectives to one another. She wanted them to go well together.
Before the Globex acquisition, they worked like one of AshCom’s perfectly designed, well-oiled machines. They understood their goals, schedules, and production plans. Everyone was clear in their role and supported the others.
The takeover of Globex by AshCom changed everything. Adding 2,500 Globex employees to AshCom’s 4,500 team would be challenging in several ways. Globex had developed its own training system and course material. The study team was as knowledgeable as hers – from what she’d read in her bios – but she hadn’t met them yet. Nor was any of her study materials made available to her.
Kathryn’s methodical approach to work (and life) meant spending a lot of time in front of the large whiteboard in her office. That morning she arrived early and did something atypical; She erased an entire page of the 4×8 mobile whiteboard in her office. She needed a clean board.
She began to list the challenges in blue marking. The first words on the board were “LEARNING CULTURE”. She understood that long ago the owners of AshCom had placed a great emphasis on learning, and for the most part, so had the leadership and staff. Digital learning has been a stretch for some, with some serious resistance, but she and her team have worked hard to make sure they give space and support to those new to it. What would she find at Globex? What was the perfect formula for bringing two different learning cultures together, especially when one company was acquiring the other?
The blue mark squeaked as Kathryn wrote “REDUNDANCIES” on the whiteboard. She hadn’t seen the Globex learning material yet, so couldn’t answer the question. However, her systematic mind envisioned that there could be at least three categories of learning resources when attempting to bring in learning materials from Globex:
- Some would be superfluous.
- Some would no longer apply.
- While some might be an improvement over what was there at AshCom.
This would be an important discovery point.
That thought led her to write “GAPS” in big blue letters. Was it possible that both companies had learning gaps? Could it be that both companies were missing important training needs? This was one of those puzzles known as the “known unknown” that made people like Kathryn uncomfortable.
She decided it was time to stretch her legs and grab a refill. Both were helpful in clearing her mind. As she poured her coffee, Michael appeared at the coffee station, cup in hand.
Michael sums it up
Michael was an advisor to Kathryn. He didn’t know exactly how digital learning was created, but as a retired college professor with years of college administration experience, Michael was instrumental in building a strategy. He was a wealth of knowledge. That’s why Kathryn hired him. He served as her trusted advisor.
Michael asked a simple and common question. “Good morning, Kathryn. How are you? “Kathryn didn’t give her normal answer. Instead she hesitated for a moment and said something he had never heard from her before:” I’m stuck. “
He turned to her. “It’s not like you. How can I help?”
Kathryn asked him if he could go back to her office and spend a little time sorting some of what she had written on her whiteboard. “Of course,” replied Michael. He valued her systematic mind and welcomed the opportunity to think through thorny problems.
Back in her office, Kathryn spoke for more than 10 minutes in a row. Michael didn’t interrupt, but listened attentively. The expression on her face wasn’t an expression of fear, but it was obvious that she was in a loop. Her normally reliable whiteboard session didn’t give her the clarity she needed to have a framework with which to move forward.
Kathryn led Michael through the words on the board and the thoughts that surrounded her. She stopped abruptly and asked, “What do you think? Which of these should be my biggest concern in the beginning? Should I focus my attention on the learning culture, the possible redundancies or the gaps that may exist between our learning and Globex? “
Business Training Needs: Know, Do, Believe
Michael didn’t answer right away. Instead, he summarized what he heard for each of the three options and then asked, “Did I miss something?”
“No,” said Kathryn, “that sums it up pretty well. So what do you think? “
“All of them are important and each one needs our attention,” he said, “but I would like to suggest one framework from my time in higher education that might be helpful.” As you can imagine, with the thousands of topics and hundreds of courses available in all of the university’s learning offerings, we needed some big categories that we would put things into so we could understand them and see how they fit together. “
Michael stood up and jokingly said, “Okay, if I take over your whiteboard for a minute?” Kathryn replied with a friendly smile and waved him forward. Michael took a red marker off the edge of the whiteboard and wrote three words in large capital letters:
“In thinking through the big goals, we found these three buckets useful,” said Michael. “I’m not saying that there may not be any extra buckets or that others cannot replace these terms with their own words. We just found that this is a simple system for thinking through the goals for the students who have come to our university. “
Kathryn’s head tilted slightly. “Go on,” she said.
Michael explained that all of the courses on his campus were aimed at teaching students to know something, to be able to do something, or to believe something. Some courses included all three goals. Some were concentrated on one of the buckets.
“In the college setting,” Michael explained, “a nursing internship could be heavily geared towards successfully completing a range of assignments.” That makes. Before the internship there was often a requirement in which the students were taught the basics of biochemistry and physiology. You know that. Before that, there may have been a course on ethics in nursing, so students began with a deep respect for the human person. Believes that. “
The three buckets of needs analysis
“Not only was it helpful to put things in the“ know, do, believe ”buckets – realizing, of course, that some fit into more than one – but it was also helpful to know the order in which they should come. For our nursing programs, the ethical basis for the study of the human body was added, followed by the opportunity to put that knowledge into practice. “
“I see how this affects higher education when I teach my 100, 200, and 300-level courses at Upper Valley State University. But how does that help with what we need to do? “Asked Kathryn.
“I think it helps us decide what we want for our learners,” replied Michael. “Even more generally, it encourages us to consider what kind of company we want to become. The AshCom founding family has consistently implemented its mission and vision. As far as I can tell, they did it to the best of their ability. “
“So,” said Kathryn, “you think I think too small when I worry about learning cultures, redundancies and possible gaps.” Think I should ask more questions? “
“This is my advice that I’m getting paid for,” said Michael. “I’m not saying that culture, layoffs and gaps are not important. I suggest that you start with the broad system of what you normally do anyway and move into the specifics later. “
“I should start then,” said Kathryn, “by going back to our corporate mission, vision and goals and asking myself and our team what we want our learners to be able to do …”
At this point Kathryn got up, picked up her favorite blue marker and circled Michael’s KNOW, DO, BELIEVE on the whiteboard.
“That’s what I appreciate so much about you, Michael,” said Kathryn. “This has to do with where the company wants to go, especially given the acquisition of Globex. It gives us direction. We have yet to go into the details and there is much work to be done there. You gave me exactly what I needed. A system.”
With that, Kathryn thanked Michael and went to work to see AshCom’s mission, vision and goals from a new perspective. The next few days would be spent thinking about what their new team of 6,000 employees would know, can, or believe in order to achieve what the company wanted to achieve.
How to identify your corporate training needs
To read the rest of the chapters in this series on needs assessment and see how Kathryn and her team handle the other basics, please download the eBook. How to Change Your Approach to Needs Assessment: A Story About the 7 Essential Elements.
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