The Revolving Door Of The Workplace – Robb Sayers

We often notice, or hear stories about how we are at work versus how we are at home- which got me thinking… am I different and indeed why?!

Is there something in the fabric of an organisation that changes us or is it the dynamic of our working relationships that mean we somehow ‘act’ in a different way? The way we think, feel, speak, react and particularly how we learn, is often different when we walk through that revolving door of the workplace.

My personal fascination is around learning. How we hunt down new information, analyse and absorb it and then apply it in context. When planning a holiday for instance, we may speak to friends and family about where they have been, consider challenges we would like to overcome or experiences we would like to have. We explore websites and forums about the best hotels to stay in or the best places to eat. Somehow we use our interests and curiosity to guide our thinking and decisions. We explore different perspectives and others ‘know-how’ to succeed in creating the holiday we want and indeed why this is important to us in the first place. I guess having a motive is the most important start point.

We don’t need instructions to use Amazon or read the entire user guide before letting loose on the new SMART TV. Instead we follow our curiosity, experiment, adapt and learn as we go. We are naturally inquisitive and intuitive beings. Now consider this; do we have this same enthusiasm, energy, open-mindedness and perseverance towards the challenges and opportunities we face at work? Imagine the collective potential if we did.

Charles Jennings describes the ‘70/20/10’ learning construct, whereby 70% of learning comes from on-the-job experiences, 20% through others and 10% from formal training. Somehow at work we become fixated with the latter and naively believe that this alone will help us achieve our development needs and close those performance gaps. This got me thinking. If this becomes the collective belief within an organisation, imagine the potential for learning that goes un-tapped.

When you ask high performers about their career successes, they will often describe a blend of experiences or projects they worked on, citing phrases such as “thrown in at the deep-end”. They will comment on managers or peers (both good and bad) that they watched, listened to and learned from. I often find that they will mention formal training/qualifications but may need prompting. Now, this is not to underplay the importance of formal training, but more to pro-actively consider the other ways in which competency and success can be reached.

Now here’s the ask……

……When tackling a work challenge or setting your own personal development objectives, consider how you might approach this “in the outside world”. Don’t let that revolving door of the workplace change the way you naturally perceive and consume learning. Identify the people who can help you, embrace the opportunities you have in your daily work to practice, try new things, reflect and learn while ‘doing’. Combine this with the appropriate formal training and you’ll find a pretty powerful mix of learning and development is on offer each and every day.

About The Author – Robb Sayers:

Robb is Global Learning Consultant; Talent Leadership and OD; HR CoE at GlaxoSmithKline. His focus is to work towards achieving measurable learning outcomes for global scale projects, adhering to adult learning principles through solid instructional design. He achieves this through a consultative approach from inception through to evaluation with respect to content and delivery modality. Robb work’s through matrix teams to keep learning quality high on the agenda.

Connect with Robb on LinkedIn 

Follow on twitter @robbsayers

  1. Paul Matthews 3 years ago

    Hi Robb,
    That is an excellent question! Thank you 🙂
    As we walk through the revolving door, what gets stripped from us, and what gets added to us?
    Usually nothing physical, I would hope!, so if there is a change, and you are right, there does seem to be for many people, we must be losing or gaining a way of thinking, a paradigm, a belief.
    We ‘strap on’ the thinking we have learned or created over time in order to succeed in the world we are entering.
    Of course that model we have created in response to the workplace may be helpful, or not helpful.
    I will keep thinking about this.
    Very good question.
    Cheers, Paul

  2. Robb Sayers 3 years ago

    Thanks so much Paul for your reflections. In fact- its interactions with colleagues such as yourself that really stimulate my thinking on this topic.

    I would challenge anyone to build in some of the informal learning opportunities to your continued professional development planning and be prepared to be amazed by the exposure and frequency you have to continually grow….”like the water around a fish”

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