When a bunch of engineers from Formula 1 race teams got together to build a zero carbon emissions engine, they started with the combustion engine. In the end, they created the hydrogen engine. When a bunch of engineers from Silicon Valley got together to do the same, they started with the laptop battery. After wiring together a thousand batteries, they created the electric engine.
Our starting point matters. And if the group all has the same starting point, that can be helpful but also can limit our creativity.
The same is true in developing our staff. If our starting point is formal education, then we tend to think of lectures, tests, papers, and certificates. Peer discussions including mentoring are side event, not core. And in a so we create approaches based on lectures, webinars, panels of ‘experts’.
If our starting point is informal, peer to peer learning, then we tend to think of discussions, coaching, mentoring, and lots of coffee. Lectures and tests become side events or don’t feature, peer to peer discussions and projects take centre stage. The focus is on learning and improving, not passing a test or even getting a certificate.
And in all approaches, enrolment is the key. Learning doesn’t happen without it. And yet in most organisations we forget to ask the enrolment question. We tend to assume that because we create an opportunity for development, everyone will jump at it. And then don’t and wonder why.
Understanding our own and others starting points matters. So does enrolment. The choice to understand them is up to us.