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Do You Click?
January 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm #121542
By Omagbitse Barrow
The Challenge-Learn-Innovate-Change-Know (CLICK) model has been designed to aid workplace learning professionals in developing knowledge workers and supporting personal and organisational transformation – one challenge at a time.
Employee innovation is a very pertinent challenge in the workplace today. Most workers are stuck replicating their routine tasks, and more often than not, complaining and whining when things are seemingly not going the way they hoped. Business leaders and managers demand and expect a lot more (and rightly so), and with the increasing complexity of business issues, workers require a simple and practical approach to innovation to add value to their work and to build knowledge-based institutions.
Contemporary management thinking heralds the knowledge worker as the most potent force in the workplace. The CLICK model provides a step-by-step process to innovation, learning, and knowledge that can be applied to every workplace situation and implemented by every worker. It is a simple and easy-to-use template that can transform even the most basic business challenge into an opportunity to learn, innovate, and build a knowledge repository.
The knowledge worker is fundamentally characterised by his commitment to personal development. Rather than wait to attend a formal training or seminar, knowledge workers independently discover the learning that must take place to successfully handle process or performance issues. The CLICK model creates a simple road map for personal development that managers and employees can use to make a real difference.
Like a snap of your fingers, a CLICK occurs when "you've got it" – the problem is solved; the solution worked. CLICK stands for challenge, learn, innovate, change, and know. It is a five-step process that transitions from analysing a performance challenge to learning about how to deal with the challenge, to developing an innovative solution based on the learning and making the necessary change to address the challenge, and finally arriving at a unique body of knowledge about the challenge and its solution. The model is focused on the journey of personal development required to truly learn, add value to an organisation, and build knowledge.
The so-so worker
The so-so worker or manager, when faced with a business or performance challenge, will typically try to short-circuit or bypass the unique learning opportunity that the challenge offers. With challenges in the pre-recession era, so-so managers and workers got away with simply throwing money at consultants, training programs, or more employees. Beyond identifying the challenge, no effort was spared to thoroughly analyse the challenge, dig deeper through self-learning, innovate, or make changes. With the economic meltdown and the squeeze on hiring, training budgets, and resources in general, so-so managers are characterised by whining and complaining, since they no longer have resources to throw at their problems.
Another ugly reality is the shroud of mediocrity that protects so-so workers. Weak performance management systems that are heavily reliant on subjective inferences allow so-so workers to get away with their continuous whining, lack of personal development, and bland work that doesn't add value.
In larger institutions with more steady cash flows, the dependence on external consultants is particularly worrisome. While some of these institutions may continue to survive the ugliness of a recession because of their strong financial resources, the quality of their most important resource – human talent – is being eroded each day because of a "consultant mentality."
Imagine a manager faced with a typical business challenge. Rather than practicing the introspection and reflection required to make it CLICK, he quickly engages an external consultant. How much actual learning takes place, and how much new knowledge is acquired by the manager and his business unit through this consultation process? In many cases, very little. Given the opportunity to cast our burdens on the shoulder of a consultant, we often make very modest efforts, if any at all, to develop ourselves through the process.
The realities of our times
Unfortunately, the era of large consulting budgets is fading away, and many business leaders have designed new models where consultants come to simply facilitate discussions or provide coaching to in-house project teams. This allows the members of the project teams to CLICK and build the organisational learning and knowledge required.
Even with smaller business projects and work assignments for which the scope of engaging consultants doesn't exist, the increasing trend is for a handful of knowledge workers to do the most of the hard work, while the majority of so-so employees contribute very little.
Interestingly however, institutions across the globe are gravitating away from such subjective performance cultures to more sophisticated models that use the processes that the balanced scorecard and other performance tools have to offer. There is no hiding place for the laggards and whiners any longer. The economic fundamentals have changed the way businesses think about rewards, and leaders are under greater pressure to justify their reward and performance management systems and decisions.
How can we CLICK?
The times changes considerably, and the consensus is simple: The knowledge worker is it. Learning the five simple steps to CLICK and putting them into practice will help you become a knowledge worker who is ready to take your organisation - and the world – by storm. This process is simple and can be easily applied to a variety of situations.
Challenge. You are faced with a challenge at work. You need to create a marketing pitch that needs to be delivered at a prospect's office within a very short timeframe. You have never done this before. The first step is to thoroughly analyse the challenge. The following questions will help you put things into perspective:
- What is the objective to be achieved?
- What skills do you require to achieve the objective?
- What other resources – people, materials, and so forth – are required to achieve the objective?
- Where are the gaps between your current skills and the resources available that need to be addressed to achieve the objective?
This process will help you to understand the challenge better, and to begin formulating some thoughts about the direction of the solution. The next step is to learn quickly how to deal with the challenge.
Learn. So-so workers tend to cower at this stage. Having analysed the challenge, the prospects of bridging the gaps identified become daunting. Again, a simple series of actions will help you navigate successfully through this phase:
- Identify where the body of knowledge regarding the identified gaps exists.
- Dedicate time to the pursuit of that knowledge, and acquire it (read, research, speak with a colleague, ask your supervisor questions, observe others, and so forth).
There are obviously many ways to learn, but striking the balance between your own preferred learning style, the timeframe available to prepare the presentation, and the available learning opportunities is important. So-so workers like to think of learning as something that must occur in a classroom, and for which a certificate must be received. Knowledge workers, on the other hand, acquire knowledge through a variety of ongoing means. They are attuned to learning, no matter the conditions.
Innovate. Having acquired some new skills to help you with preparing your presentation, you are presented with the opportunity to do something new. Your new skills allow you to innovatively put together a quality presentation. You will have the opportunity to assimilate the results of your own product.
Change. Look back at the previous week when you received the assignment to prepare the marketing presentation; now, a significant change has taken place. You have acquired new skills and knowledge and you have put them into practical use.
In all aspects of our work life we are called to lead and support many changes. Your ability to analyse the challenge, learn, and innovate allows you to champion and deliver the change required. Today we talk about employees' change readiness or quotient; the CLICK model enhances employees' change readiness because of its focus on personal development.
Know. Now anytime of the day and anywhere in the world you will be ready to prepare a presentation, perhaps on any topic imaginable. Whether it's marketing, a presentation on health and wellness, or training slides for a workshop, your personal experience using CLICK model allows you to know what it really takes to prepare a presentation. The acquisition and incubation of knowledge can be gained by other employees in the workplace who decide to follow your example and CLICK.
Unfortunately, many so-so workers believe that it takes a genius to be able to innovate and create knowledge from a challenge. The CLICK model disagrees. It takes a commitment to self-motivated learning and personal development to turn every personal and work challenge into innovation and knowledge. As both an employee and a business and people manager, i have applied this model consistently – and seen other do so, too – to achieve real results and significant changes.
In recent discussion with colleages, it was quite clear that the biggest deterrent to change readiness in the workplace is mental fatigue. People would rather short-circuit the natural self-motivated learning process and hope that results will fall from the sky, or that someone else will make good their mediocrity. In our times, it's not about a few geniuses who make the difference – the need is for everyone as knowledge workers to build a sustainable model for organisation-wide learning and growth. It's time to CLICK.
Source: T+D Training +Development. (ASTD)
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