The Change the Buzz Training System
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire
Change the Buzz™ is not your typical lecture and leave program. It is designed around the development of a mobile learning laboratory that combines inspiring education, captivating illustration and on the job collaboration to transform life-changing insights into life-long habits.
We have all experienced the excitement of being taught something truly profound and vowing to put ideas into action before they slip away. Then slowly, imperceptibly they fade from our memories. No longer part of our top of mind “to do” list these life-altering insights are relegated to the “I’ll get to that when” drawer of good intentions. Change the Buzz™ provides a solution for schedules too busy and lives too stressed to enjoy the adventure of learning.
Without learning we are lost
Change the Buzz™ Started with One Question
One question upended my understanding of learning permanently. It was in a 2013 Forbes article entitled 35 Questions That Will Change Your Life written by Jason Nazar Co-Founder and CEO of Docstoc. The question:
“What are you pretending not to know?”
For my entire professional life, I had accepted the traditional definition of training; “The education, instruction, or discipline of a person or thing that is being trained.”
The most important aspects of any learning initiative are not defined in hours, confined to rooms, or provided by instructors. Learning that lasts is not a result of education but elaboration. The secret to converting short-term information into lasting transformation is NOT what you do during “training” but how you elaborate on the process before and after.
An Argument for Elaboration
If Pre and Post activities provide 76% of a learning’s effectiveness
Learning event 24%
Why are 85% of budgets spent on ” In the Room” learning alone?
85% on learning event activities
5% on post-learning event activities
Source: Dr. Brent Peterson, Columbia University
Elaboration requires, time, community and opportunity.
What We Learn “In the Room” stays “In the Room”
Most training barely makes its way out of the classroom. According to a McKinsey and Co report only 25% of respondents to a 2010 survey found that training improved employees’ performance, yet spending continues to increase. Corporate America increased spending on learning programs to $1,004 per employee in 2014.
What’s the cause of this disconnect? Learning initiatives are uninteresting, lack usefulness, have no strategic focus and spend too little time on implementation according to a 2015 article published in Forbes by Christo Popov, CEO and founder of FastTrack.
Training is not easily assimilated into our current mindsets. It takes time for us to apply the ideas, learn from our results and gradually let go of misconceptions. Even if old habits are unhelpful they are familiar and we find respite in routine.
“Most people prefer the predictability of pain to the pain of unpredictability”
Beginning at the End
The Change the Buzz™ process is powerful because it begins at the end. Before concept, content or delivery there is a system for moving ideas from the ephemeral to the experiential.
Traditional training puts too much responsibility on those providing the training and too little on those receiving the services. The solution is to define an ongoing system that reverses the roles.
How different would your training look if trainees knew they were going to be the trainers?
Change the Buzz™ uses simple “Facebook like” desktop and mobile collaboration tools to engage participants before, during and after training events. Before training the network is used to share content, post surveys, and evaluate needs. During training facilitators receive immediate feedback and can respond to questions. The real value of this Peer Powered Process™ is that after the “official” training is done the real learning begins.
- 70% of learning occurs on the job
- Only 10% of learning occurs during the training event (20% occurs prior to the event)
Source: Josh Bersin and Associates
Matching Education to Application
A great deal of research has been done into the importance of learning information in the same environment the new understanding will be applied. Everything about the match between the learning environments and the application environments influences recall. The consistency of locations, emotional states, environmental cues, even smells all contribute to retention and recall. (Principles of Memory)
The traditional classroom, according to John Medina, neuroscientist and author of Brain Rules is the worst possible design for a learning environment as there is little resemblance to the real world in which the lessons are being applied. The best learning environment is the one that best simulates “reality”. Scuba divers remember critical safety lessons best when they are taught underwater, pilots use simulation, physicians have internships while corporations rely on classrooms. There is nothing wrong with classrooms as long as there is a system in place to practice with our peers.
We can be Inspired by Experts, Motivated by Managers but we are Powered by our Peers”
In the Change the Buzz™ process we don’t try and simulate the work environment we use work as the platform for continuing education. Strategies shared during an energizing training experiences are broken into small easily digestible lessons. Specific topics are divided into weekly snapshots including articles, videos, illustrations and current events to create a context for conversation. (Elaborative Rehearsal)
An “Unhelpfull” version of the process happens informally during daily gossip. Fueled by discontent and magnified by media these are the water cooler conversations that drive “dis-content”. Change the Buzz™ uses that same informal network to encourage positive “content” while at the same time discouraging unhelpful dis-content.
Change the Buzz™ is NOT a system for “rah rah be happy positivity platitudes”, but a place to practice skills taught in the environment where they will be applied. The process is not designed to control communications but to encourage ALL conversations.
A Bully Free Zone
Change the Buzz™ is intended to be a “Peer Policing” community exempt from political posturing, positional power or coercive control. Efforts at innovation, improvement and even education can be easily and often unconsciously undermined by those with real or perceived positional power. Change the Buzz™ is not a place to “Manage the Message” but to encourage messengers to share what is really important to them. Holacracy calls these issues-of-importance “Tensions” and their entire system is built around identifying and resolving disconnects through a process that serves a constitutionally defined purpose rather than a traditional hierarchy.
Change the Buzz™ Vs. Peer Powered Performance™
This is where the two systems diverge. Change the Buzz™ is intended as a system to augment education without altering organizational architecture. The process may reveal systems that are counter-productive but its purpose is to give participants strategies that can be used within the confines of their control. Peer Powered Performance™ expands the scope of Change the Buzz™ engagement to include content that may influence organizational design. Peer Powered Performance™ is not appropriate for participants that have no influence over structure or in organizations where innovations in organizational architecture are unappreciated.
How Students Become Teachers
A crucial part of the Change the Buzz™ system is when strategic training initiatives stop being pushed from above and start being powered from within. This is where most change initiatives lose momentum. Once a new high priority hits the schedule all the impetus is lost. It is not the fault of training or people but an incomplete understanding of process. The solution lies in our willingness to transfer the role of teacher to those who lead without formal authority title or position.
These informal leaders have also been described as “Positive Deviants”. They are often the first to comment on ideas shared, add their own insights or introduce new resources. The inclination toward positive deviance can be found in every organization but not in every individual. It takes someone who is less interested in politics than they are progress. They may have even been labeled as malcontents but they are perturbed with a purpose. Once they are allowed an outlet their peers will provide the appropriate reinforcement. If their perspectives have merit they may provide impetus for improvement. If they are merely spreading the dis-ease of discontent the group will not be reinforcing and the behaviors will gradually be extinguished. Those addicted to discontent may find the new levels of transparency uncomfortable and may seek a community where their opinions are appreciated. All of this occurs without the need for management intervention.
The hange the Buzz™ process incorporates the new educational designs of Flip Schools with the benefits of Peer Teaching. Our role in the process is one of planting seeds and encouraging the progress. Most will not actively participate in the discussions but many will learn from the conversations. The goal is to create a community of peers who are interested in improving themselves and each other.