As an instructional designer working in an organization focused on patient safety and quality, I hear a lot about “adaptive work.” This is the kind of work that focuses on changing attitudes, values, and beliefs. It’s the kind of work that focuses on changes in culture. While “technical work”—learning about new technologies, procedures, compliance policies, etc., can certainly be complex—adaptive work is critical if we want to make technical work succeed. You can create all the training, all the performance support tools, and all the informal learning opportunities you like, if you don’t consider the larger organizational ecosystem in which these efforts sit, your learning strategies will be merely band-aids on the challenges you’re trying to address. I’m not saying that learning and development departments will be the solvers of all organizational problems—it takes an organizational village—but I am writing this post as a reminder to myself, as much as anything else, to frame potential solutions in this challenging context of adaptive work.
In upcoming posts, I’ll share any tips and strategies I come across/work through on developing learning strategies with an eye towards culture change.