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Bridging the Gap between Learning and Performance!

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Learning and Performance Gap

Every day, you may have to face tougher and tougher challenges. Perhaps, you set yourself or your team on to greater challenges or targets as soon as you achieve a particular target. I do not think this is unnatural. But you must keep in mind that boosting your and the team’s capacity or ability to meet new challenges is very important for better performance.

If the gap between the present capacity and the required capacity to fulfill the target widens, it will cost you and your team dearly. It will drain your team’s energy as your team members will have to expend extra energy to cope with the new requirement. If this continues for long, it can adversely affect your team’s productivity.

Here are a few tips to be able to rise to challenges seamlessly:

Analyze Learning Needs: When you know what is required, you can find better ways to fulfill your tasks. Therefore, analyze existing skill set and plan a learning program.

Insist on Skill-Oriented Learning Programs: Often, learning programs fail because they focus on knowledge acquisition rather than skill development. Hence, it will create confusion among individual learners as to what they are expected to do. So, have a categorical objective in the learning activity and communicate the same to the learners.

Have a Well-Planned follow-up Program: If learning is the input, performance is the output. Unless you measure the output, you cannot manage it. So, have some performance measures in terms of project outcomes and check whether these outcomes are the result of your learning activities. This gives you a better idea on how to conduct learning sessions with a view to improve future performances of your team.

Involve your Managers: Change always comes from the top. Managers can have greater influence on their immediate reports. If they treat learning programs merely as tools to gain new knowledge, change their attitude first.

The relationship between learning and performance is cyclical. With learning, you achieve a certain level of performance. With this comes the need to learn new skills either to improve the existing performance or meet tougher targets. You need to constantly bridge this gap to keep the balance between the existing capacity and the required capacity.

So the effective way to smoothly maintain this transition from one challenge to greater challenges is through learning. Learning enables you to acquire new or better skills that enhance your capacity to meet tough challenges. And your performance will improve. Thus, ensure that all your learning programs work towards bridging any performance gaps.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Michael J. Spangle

    With limited budgets, the Line Manager has one priority when it comes to spending money on training. They want to be sure that they are getting the most bang for their buck, i.e. the maximum ROI. For Line Management this translates into one criteria. Am I seeing, at least if not better, the improvement in the performance of my people. This requires a close cooperation between Training Management and Line Management. Without this close cooperation and the communication required to sustain it the necessary analyses will be lacking to produce a clear direction for the Training Department to provide the required training. The processes that you have described are an integral part of any healthy training program. Unfortunately, all too many training programs are not healthy.

  • To often training and performance improvement is approached from nearsighted vantage point;it’s a system perspective.

  • Hi Ayesha,
    A thought provoking question. The answer is in your question and it is as simple too. All one needs is ‘Training, Training and Training’. As you mentioned, if there is a Gap then performance decreases. It is obvious right? So if you know the Gap and to fill it up you need Training…identify the gap and KSA needed to fill it up. and LEARNING needs to be practiced again and again. You also need researching on how to fill up the gap, consult the SMEs (subject matter experts),mentoring and practice, practice.
    Remember if you are an expert player at the state level, it does not make you one at the national level and so at the international level. You start raising your bar to match that level.Each level has a different kind of dynamics and to be successful at that level one has to align, adjust and match that level One cannot achieve just by learning. The learning needs to be practiced on a regular basis until it becomes a habit. And finally, it will also depend how the whole ‘work’ occur to you.. just work, earning your daily bread or are you driven by a higher purpose of life? The way you look at the work will determine your effort.
    All the best.

  • The scenario you describe is common – constantly challenging and changing targets that require people to do things differently – not just more or faster. Often this means letting go of old habits as much as learning new ones – it’s hard to stop doing something that made you successful in the past.’In time’ leadership is like in an orchestra – each musician playing a different instrument,with different talents, yet all in time with the music. Leaders and those they lead need a culture that works in harmony with the business objectives and strategy, not against it as I sometimes find – people trying to achieve what’s being asked of them but having to fight the culture, which will always be stronger and more powerful than any training programme. Whilst teams should acknowledge their success and what contributed to that success, they should also be looking ahead and beyond their immediate team or business, yet focused on the actions they take today. Leaders are those that ‘see round corners’ and those people are not always those with ‘Manager’ in their title! Tapping into the leadership of every person in the team is key to staying up to date – ensuring that their passion, motivation, talent and energy is released into the business of the business.

  • Do Just in Time Learning – get coached!

    Change for the better can often come from within the team; seek always new and create ways of getting things done, involve the team, don’t wait for the next initiative ‘from the top.’

  • Synergy is a key solution to the issue of capacity. Each of members in an organization should complete each other potential, so that they could maintain a better result.

    Usep