Something I tweeted earlier this week…but it keeps circling around in my head:

Harold noted in “the uncertain future of training” that training courses are artifacts of the past…when resources (and information) was scarce and connections were few.  Training courses efficiently collected people together to deliver the training…but that training always looked backwards to “how things were done.”   Shampoo, rinse, repeat…

As Harold noted:

“…Training looks at how people currently do work and then gets others to replicate this. These are described as competencies, made up of certain, skills, knowledge, and attitudes. The assumption was that what works today will work tomorrow. The training department assumed the status quo…”

Yet, we do not live in a status quo world…as Tom Friedman noted in his book, Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, it is a world driven by the acceleration of connectivity and cognitive technology.  Tomorrow will not look like today.

Harold provided a graphic that he has used several times…but it nicely captures this shift:

Work learning shift

So in thinking about training, Harold noted that “the notion of best practices still permeates the business of training. By looking at what is currently being done well we can replicate this and pass it on through training. Best practices, and even good practices, assume a state of order.”

In reading this, I thought of a presentation Tom Peters did in Atlanta over a dozen years  ago…that still resonates with me.  Around slide 282 (out of over 400) in his tenth chapter of The Works Powerpoint, he showed:

Future Mark

Don’t Benchmark…Future mark!  Peters goes on a few slides later to suggest:

  • “Benchmarking Rule #1: “Best practices” are to be learned from, NOT mimicked/treated as law. “Best practices” must ALWAYS be adapted to local conditions!
  • Benchmarking Rule #2: When pursuing “best practices,” DON’T benchmark. FUTUREMARK. Tomorrow’s stars are already out there. Find ’em!
  • Benchmarking Rule #3: DON’T benchmark. OTHERMARK. E.g., a tech company  can adopt “WOW” service practice from, say, a local restaurant or car dealer.
  • Benchmarking Rule #4: Make benchmarking EVERYONE’s biz. Everyone collect best “everyday life” practices. Share WEEKLY.”

A dozen years ago…yet Peters was already seeing what Jarche and Friedman now see.  Couple Peters’ four rules with social media, and you actually have a vehicle that makes “futuremarking” possible.

Soooo…as you put together your summer faculty development bootcamps and institutes, is the focus on best practices or futuremarks?

{Graphic: Jarche.com, Tom Peters}


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