Learning Governance: not shiny shiny but wicked important. Yes. Wicked. Like Ron Weasley says it.

August 26, 2008

I just released a report on creating and implementing an e-Learning 2.0 strategy. I know some people want to hurl when they hear 2.0 so I’ll wait.

There. Better? Good.

Here’s something I found interesting: those organizations that lack a governance model say (more often than organizations that do have a governance model) that learning activities and business strategies are not well linked (aligned). Where is alignment most noticeable? Which projects get prioritized.

So this, to me, means >>>
Having Governance = Better Alignment = Successful Projects & Resources

Who knew? Governance is super-sexy. Even wicked.

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    Well, yeah. But if your governance model is just some guy telling everyone what to do, there isn’t really any better alignment, nor any reason to expect more successful projects. Good governance – especially in the information age – is disruptive and hard. It shakes as many preconceptions as web 2.0 does.

    Stephen Downess last blog post..Instructional Design Clients…Gotta Love’m

  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    Well, yeah. But if your governance model is just some guy telling everyone what to do, there isn’t really any better alignment, nor any reason to expect more successful projects. Good governance – especially in the information age – is disruptive and hard. It shakes as many preconceptions as web 2.0 does.

    Stephen Downess last blog post..Instructional Design Clients…Gotta Love’m

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Thanks for the quality point.

    I agree, today’s governance model has to be ‘disruptive and hard.’ What I found interesting is the number of organizations that lack governance entirely. That’s kind of scary to me – especially today.

    Perhaps lacking governance is better than ‘the man.’ Wonder how I’d inquire on that topic?
    1.) Are you the man? (If so, skip to question 50).

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Thanks for the quality point.

    I agree, today’s governance model has to be ‘disruptive and hard.’ What I found interesting is the number of organizations that lack governance entirely. That’s kind of scary to me – especially today.

    Perhaps lacking governance is better than ‘the man.’ Wonder how I’d inquire on that topic?
    1.) Are you the man? (If so, skip to question 50).

  • Brian

    Is Learning Goverance a new term for Curriculum?
    Off to the library to look it up 😉

    I do agree that employees/students who understand the chain of command in their institutions and industries, and where responsibilities belong in that chain will have a far better rate of success. That’s common sense…not knowing where to send a memo to get a job done is indeed a serious problem.

    Could it be that places who strive NOT to have any goverance model have something to hide? It’s hard to imagine functioning without one, unless of course it is a very very small and specialized sort of collaborative institution.

  • Brian

    Is Learning Goverance a new term for Curriculum?
    Off to the library to look it up 😉

    I do agree that employees/students who understand the chain of command in their institutions and industries, and where responsibilities belong in that chain will have a far better rate of success. That’s common sense…not knowing where to send a memo to get a job done is indeed a serious problem.

    Could it be that places who strive NOT to have any goverance model have something to hide? It’s hard to imagine functioning without one, unless of course it is a very very small and specialized sort of collaborative institution.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Brian – I don’t think it’s that organizations have something to hide, I think it’s more about disconnects among groups as a result of working in an environment that is ‘siloed.’ I also think L&D; lacks governance when they are not seen as part of the business.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Brian – I don’t think it’s that organizations have something to hide, I think it’s more about disconnects among groups as a result of working in an environment that is ‘siloed.’ I also think L&D lacks governance when they are not seen as part of the business.

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/small_world.jpg Dave Ferguson

    No real surprise — as Bob Mager wrote back in those long-ago days when a behavioral training objective was something out of the ordinary, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road might get you there.

    The difficulty is multi-tiered: what are the organizational priorities? Do they make sense with one another? (See, for example, Fannie Mae, where they didn’t — more than half the benefit of the lower interest went to shareholders, which didn’t do much for the home buyer Fannie theoretically was helping.) Can the groups and individuals in the organization relate their own priorities to the larger ones?

    It’s like maintaining fitness — it’s easy to read about, it’s easy to buy equipment for, it’s easy to take out memberships for. It’s a hell of a lot harder to assess the different aspects of your life and carry out the damned strategy.

  • http://www.daveswhiteboard.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/small_world.jpg Dave Ferguson

    No real surprise — as Bob Mager wrote back in those long-ago days when a behavioral training objective was something out of the ordinary, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road might get you there.

    The difficulty is multi-tiered: what are the organizational priorities? Do they make sense with one another? (See, for example, Fannie Mae, where they didn’t — more than half the benefit of the lower interest went to shareholders, which didn’t do much for the home buyer Fannie theoretically was helping.) Can the groups and individuals in the organization relate their own priorities to the larger ones?

    It’s like maintaining fitness — it’s easy to read about, it’s easy to buy equipment for, it’s easy to take out memberships for. It’s a hell of a lot harder to assess the different aspects of your life and carry out the damned strategy.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Dave – a lot of this has to do with how much information is shared in the organization. Many L&D; departments don’t have full access to their organizations strategic information.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Dave – a lot of this has to do with how much information is shared in the organization. Many L&D departments don’t have full access to their organizations strategic information.

  • http://www.LearningGovernance.com/ Grant Ricketts

    Hello, Janet. I think your abstraction hits the nail on the head. And, ‘yes’ very few learning organizations have any real governance structure and process. When they do, the tendency is to emphasize ‘structure’ — which can fall back into traditional hierarchical modes and stymie resources and creativity. My bias, through years of experience, is that ‘process’ is where the focus needs to be. Done well, it can add ‘More Budget’ to your equation ‘Governance = Better Alignment = Successful Projects & Resources.’

    However, I’ll also beg to differ with the comments about ‘hard and disruptive.’ I believe the sentiment reflects the renegade nature in some of us enterprise outliers, and not a realistic perspective on establishing organizational capability — which is what governance is really about. The emphasis has to be on stakeholder engagement, role and process clarification, and building consensus. Once done, strategies are clear, projects are more successful, and, importantly, budgets and staffing resources get larger and/or more leveraged, e.g., ‘scale’.

    If we are ever to achieve Peter Senge’s vision of the ‘learning organization’ of the future (first articulated over 18 years ago) then the learning function has to scale up to help transform companies from the inside out. Disruptive technology ‘pot shots’ will sometimes land, but more often miss. ‘Incubation’ and integration is what will build organizational capability as the true sum of its people parts. And lead to larger ‘Learning R&D’ budgets as well.

    Learning teams have remained fragmented and insular for too long. It begs the question for Senge’s proposition, ‘Are we there yet?’ Painfully, the answer is ‘no.’

    Perhaps it’s habitual. Most learning teams don’t see themselves as organization change agents (my research with another institution suggests that 80+% have weak governance models and less than 20% are ‘ahead’ on this curve). If there’s any ‘disruptive change’ needed, it has more to do with how learning teams see themselves in this organizational context and start to change the way they work with other organization stakeholders. This will be more effective and productive for all involved. But it takes more outward focus, in terms of crossing organizational boundaries, not just dabbling in new technologies. Thanks for your post.

  • http://www.LearningGovernance.com Grant Ricketts

    Hello, Janet. I think your abstraction hits the nail on the head. And, ‘yes’ very few learning organizations have any real governance structure and process. When they do, the tendency is to emphasize ‘structure’ — which can fall back into traditional hierarchical modes and stymie resources and creativity. My bias, through years of experience, is that ‘process’ is where the focus needs to be. Done well, it can add ‘More Budget’ to your equation ‘Governance = Better Alignment = Successful Projects & Resources.’

    However, I’ll also beg to differ with the comments about ‘hard and disruptive.’ I believe the sentiment reflects the renegade nature in some of us enterprise outliers, and not a realistic perspective on establishing organizational capability — which is what governance is really about. The emphasis has to be on stakeholder engagement, role and process clarification, and building consensus. Once done, strategies are clear, projects are more successful, and, importantly, budgets and staffing resources get larger and/or more leveraged, e.g., ‘scale’.

    If we are ever to achieve Peter Senge’s vision of the ‘learning organization’ of the future (first articulated over 18 years ago) then the learning function has to scale up to help transform companies from the inside out. Disruptive technology ‘pot shots’ will sometimes land, but more often miss. ‘Incubation’ and integration is what will build organizational capability as the true sum of its people parts. And lead to larger ‘Learning R&D’ budgets as well.

    Learning teams have remained fragmented and insular for too long. It begs the question for Senge’s proposition, ‘Are we there yet?’ Painfully, the answer is ‘no.’

    Perhaps it’s habitual. Most learning teams don’t see themselves as organization change agents (my research with another institution suggests that 80+% have weak governance models and less than 20% are ‘ahead’ on this curve). If there’s any ‘disruptive change’ needed, it has more to do with how learning teams see themselves in this organizational context and start to change the way they work with other organization stakeholders. This will be more effective and productive for all involved. But it takes more outward focus, in terms of crossing organizational boundaries, not just dabbling in new technologies. Thanks for your post.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Thanks for your comments Grant. Nice to have a guru of governance provide some commentary on this. I don’t read the ‘disruptive and hard’ governance comment as directed at technology. I believe it’s directed toward the organization. A parallel is made to the disruptive nature of Web 2.0. I think the incubation/integration approach is valuable, however, which ‘pot shots’ are the ones in the incubator and which ones are there for ‘dabbling'(the ones that miss)?

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Thanks for your comments Grant. Nice to have a guru of governance provide some commentary on this. I don’t read the ‘disruptive and hard’ governance comment as directed at technology. I believe it’s directed toward the organization. A parallel is made to the disruptive nature of Web 2.0. I think the incubation/integration approach is valuable, however, which ‘pot shots’ are the ones in the incubator and which ones are there for ‘dabbling'(the ones that miss)?

Previous post:

Next post: