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Organisational Change, Training and Learning

Modern Principles of Change Management, Effective Employee Training and Development in Organisations

Here are some modern principles for organisational change management and effective employee training and development. These principles are for forward-thinking, emotionally-mature organisations, who value integrity above results, and people above profit.

How are Modern Principles of Change Management, Effective Employee Training and Development in Organisations Relevant?

In light of the current state of the world, these principles are more relevant than ever before. Triple Bottom Line (Profit People Planet), Corporate Responsibility, Fair Trade, Sustainability, etc. - these are not just fancy words - they are increasingly and ever more transparently becoming the criteria against which modern successful organisations are assessed - by customers, employees, and the world at large.

This is not to say that results and profit do not matter, of course, they do. The point main point of these principles is that when you value integrity and people, results and profit come quite naturally.

Note: These ideas will not appeal to old-style paternalistic X-Theory organisations and cultures unless they want to change for the better. 

What Is The Difference Between Training and Facilitating?

There is a big difference:

  • 'Training' implies putting skills into people, when actually we should be developing people from the inside out, beyond skills, i.e., facilitating learning.
  • It is advisable to focus on facilitating learning, not imposing training.
  • Talk about learning, not training. Focus on the person, from the inside out, not the outside in and offer opportunities for people to develop as people in as many ways you can.

Other Relevant Skills

  • Emotional maturity, integrity, and compassion are more important than skills and processes. 
  • Enable and encourage the development of the person - in any way that you can.
  • Give people a choice - we all learn in different ways, and we all have our own strengths and potential, waiting to be fulfilled.

More about the facilitation of learning can be found here.

Organisational Change, Training and Development, and 'Motivation'

Conventional organisational change, which typically encompasses training and development, and 'motivation', mostly fail.


Can people not see the need for change? Do they not realise that if the organisation cannot make these changes then we will become uncompetitive. We will lose market share. There will be job cuts. We will eventually go out of business. Can they not see it?

Actually, probably not. Or more precisely, your people look at things in a different way.

Bosses and organisations still tend to think that people who are managed and employed and paid to do a job should do what they're told to do. We are conditioned from an early age to believe that the way to teach and train, and to motivate people towards changing what they do, is to tell them or persuade them. From our experiences at school, we are conditioned to believe that skills, knowledge, and expectations are imposed on people by teachers, and later, by managers and bosses in the workplace.

But just because the boss says so, doesn't make it so. People today have a different perspective. And when you think about it, they're bound to.

Why Does Imposing New Skills and Change On People Not Work?

  • It assumes that people's personal aims and wishes and needs are completely aligned with those of the organisation, or that there is no need for such alignment
  • It assumes that people want, and can assimilate into their lives, given all their other priorities, the type of development or change that the organisation deems appropriate for them

Instead, organisations, managers, bosses and business owners would do better to first explore ways to align the aims of the business with the needs - total life needs - of their people

3 Facts about Organisational Change

Fact 1 - Aims and Beliefs

People will never align with bad aims. Executive greed, exploitation, environmental damage, inequality, betrayal, false promises are transparent for all decent folk to see:

"Oh you want me to do this training, and adjust to your changes, so I can make more money for you and the parasites who feed off this corporation? Sorry, no can do. I've got my own life to lead thanks very much.."

And that's if you are lucky. Most staff will simply nod and smile demurely as if in servile acceptance. If they still wore caps they'd doff them.

And then nothing happens. Of course, nothing happens. The people can't be bothered.

"... if the directors are too arrogant and stupid to understand why, then why should we tell them?.."

Re-assess and re-align your organisation's aims, beliefs, integrity - all of it - with your people's. Then they might begin to be interested in helping with new skills and change, etc.

Fact 2 - The Importance of Consulting

People can't just drop everything and 'change' or learn new skills, just because you say so. Even if they want to change and learn new skills, they have a whole range of issues that keep them fully occupied for most of their waking hours - which were dumped on them by the organisation in the first place.

"So you want me to attend this training course, so you can earn more (etc., etc.), and when I come back from two days away in some rotten hotel my personal pile of meaningless jobs will just have magically disappeared will it? And when I come to try to implement these new skills and make all these new things happen, everyone will be completely in step will they? Pull the other one.. Again, no can do.."

The reason why consulting with people is rather a good idea is that it saves you from yourself and your own wrong assumptions. Consulting with people does not mean that you hand over the organisation to them - they wouldn't want the corporation if you paid them anyway. No, consulting with people gives you and them a chance to understand the implications and feasibility of what you think needs doing. And aside from this, consulting with people, and helping them to see things from both sides generally throws up some very good ideas for doing things better than you could have dreamt of by yourself. It helps you to see from both sides too.

Fact 3 - Using Crisis as an Opportunity

Organisations commonly say they don't have time to re-assess and re-align their aims and values or don't have time to consult with people properly, because the organisation is on the edge of a crisis.

Well, who's fault is that? Organisations get into crisis because they ignore facts one and two. Ignoring these facts again will only deepen the crisis.

A crisis is no excuse for compromising integrity. A crisis is the best reason to re-align your aims and consult with people. A crisis is a wake-up and changes the organisation and its purpose - not change the people. When an organisation is in crisis, the people are almost always okay - it'll be the organisational purpose and aims that stink.

So, whatever way you look at organisational change, do not assume you can come up with a plan for change and then simply tell or persuade your people to implement it.

Instead, start by looking at your organisation's aims and values and purposes. 

  • What does your organisation actually seek to do? Whom does your organisation benefit from? And whom does it exploit? 
  • Who are the winners, and who are the losers? 
  • Does your organisation have real integrity? 
  • Are you proud of the consequences and implications of what your organisation does? 
  • Will you be remembered for the good that you did - in the widest possible sense of doing good - while you were in charge and in your position of responsibility?
  • What do your people say to themselves about the way you are managing changing?

It is always advisable to consult with them.

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