embedding learning into the workflow

17 04 2007

in a webinar by jeffrey mann from gartner sponsored by interwise, mann discussed how to better integrate collaboration tools into the corporate culture. one thing that drew my attention was his frequent use of the phrase “embed collaboration into the workflow.”

my reaction that this seems to be such an odd statement because collaboration is already a part of business processes – either formally or informally. now i’m not clueless, so i get that mann was likely talking about embedding collaboration tools into the business process. although he didn’t talk much about systems integration. the problem that concerns me is that my immediate reaction was to be dismissive of the rest of his message. “if this guy doesn’t know collaboration is a part of normal business processes, then what worth does everything else he have to say have for me.”

malcolm gladwell tells us in blink that i’m not alone in making snap value judgments like this. why do i bring it up here? because in our profession we constantly talk about embedding learning into the workflow. i’m confident that our using this particular phrasing is working to undermine our credibility with the people we are most seeking to impress.

learning is already a part of the workflow. employees are constantly looking for new resources and new ways to do things. good managers know it’s their job to help employees understand their job and how the organization works. customers are patient with new trainees. executives plan out organizational change initiatives to help the company learn how to compete better.

language is a huge part of how we present ourselves and how others perceive us. talking of “embedding learning into the workflow” likely makes us look clueless to our colleagues. how many of our colleague are tuning out our message because of what we are saying?

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8 04 2012
ahomeser

I loved your blog! Keep it up…

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