The research in neuroscience of how people think and learn has enabled a new technology that changes the “training paradigm” and allows companies to evolve their learning and development organization to one that is the curator of high value wisdom and knowledge.
Some background: When businesses were small, the founders and key personnel took responsibility for passing on their expertise to others that would lead their business into the future. As businesses became large companies and corporations, founders gave way to managers of managers and the job of developing people gradually became the responsibility of those who were not experts but were trainers or teachers.
Those teachers, in order to create the content to train and develop roles in these large organizations, relied on academics and consultants to provide the skills and competencies for the curriculums they developed. This change took corporations a long way from the expertise of those in the company that figured out how to be successful in their role – in that company. One unsuccessful attempt to capture expert “best practices” was to implement knowledge management systems which were given to the IT department to execute. IT created massive databases and search engines with the result that few people from the learning organization accessed the thin and random knowledge bites.
The new technology alluded to in the opening paragraph enables organizations to discover their tacit wisdom and knowledge for any role faster and more completely than was previously thought possible. Our version of this expert discovery technology is named Sofia, for the Greek word for wisdom. It enables the organization to:
(1) Capture and organize top performer tacit wisdom and knowledge of the top performers in any role in 2-3 hours
(2) Organize it in an electronic library ready for use in 24 hours (or less)
(3) Use it to quickly ramp up new or average people in the role to top performance.
The former “trainers” become the facilitators to gather the expert knowledge and create the best practice library, becoming the curators of this wisdom and knowledge for the organization. Their role becomes one in which they consistently push for exceptional performance instead of looking for competency. The technology, Sofia, enables these facilitators, with the content and knowledge experts, to create development programs in hours, not months. One high-tech client invested seven hours of development and review time to create a change leadership program that was launched in that same week. The users of the expert content use the learning platform to get and stay engaged and build on that expertise.
Every role in the organization has some people that become the benchmark for performance. Sofia provides the way to get everyone up to speed quickly and to be the foundation for sharing new learnings that enhance the best practices going forward.