Wicked Problems in Organisations
This is a micro blog written in the moment to illustrate that most of your learning and development and organisational change problems are wicked problems.
You can have a robust learning and development strategy, the best learning management systems, the most engaging learning, the healthiest learning culture, the most rewarding working environment, great team cohesion – but you still might not be where you want to be.
It’s likely you have one of these things, maybe two or three if you’re lucky. You may recruit an outside entity, organisation, consultant to support you in developing one or more of these things in the hope that they will solve the problem you have, the challenge you see. And yes that will go someway to alleviating/improving things but what you need to realise is – where humans are concerned and problems occur they are often wicked problems.
Wicked problems are described as so, because they’re not easily defined, they have multiple contributing factors and no one solution can fix them.
Often all we can do is identify the challenges/risks associated and minimise/mitigate for these. So let’s not pretend that our training programmes and learning and development solutions can solve the problems. Let’s be honest with ourselves (and our clients) and say – all learning is flawed in some way, all team dynamic situations have cracks, all organisational change comes with its own barriers and challenges.
Now I’m not saying don’t do training, I am a training provider and I believe in what I do. I am not saying don’t do leadership, because I do leadership work, so I must believe in these things and the value they can be, but what I need to be is honest with you…
…my training nor anyone else’s is likely to solve your problem in isolation of everything else that’s happening within your organisation, the culture, the people, the systems, the processes, the vibe, the water cooler conversations (that have gone missing because of COVID)…
So if you are looking for change, development, improved efficiencies, greater team atmosphere, a sense of cohesion between individuals, innovation, creativity – don’t just look to one solution and don’t just look to one source for the origin of the problem. Step back and look at the larger context and the bigger picture.
Look at all the things that might be impacting upon the outcome you desire. And if you can only pick one thing to work upon or change make sure it’s the right ‘one thing’.
This is what good training/organisational development can help you with – the value of finding the one thing that might require the least amount of investment for the greatest impact. It may still leave you with gaps in the proficiency of process, productivity, team cohesion etc but investment here may have the knock on effect to improve many other challenges you see in your organisation.
My ramblings for a Monday morning enjoy…