When the sun shines and it’s warm outside, I actually WANT to eat salad and fruit. This is good, because I’m carrying a few excess pounds and eating more healthily will help me to get back into shape. It’s harder to make healthy choices when it’s cold, wet and dreary, even though I know I should. The draw of a cheese toastie is just too much! the vitamin D in the sunshine does us more good than we realise.
For me, it’s highlighted the importance of a vitamin D equivalent in learning, and the link between environment, feelings, actions and results, and how one affects the others: Your environment affects your feelings, your feelings shape your choices and actions, and your actions define your results. Of course, your results then feed into creating your environment, and around we go again.
Most training interventions (understandably) focus on actions: what we do. What we do – our behaviours – have a direct impact on results so it makes total sense. Our behaviours are also the easiest to define, observe and learn, and they are within our circle of control. But we know that impact will be limited if we don’t spend time getting people in the right mood, frame of mind and generally motivated to WANT to do things differently. Where organisations spend time preparing people for development programmes, making them desirable, there’s a noticeable increased impact on the results achieved. But there are still a number of organisations that fail to create the right environment: an environment where people are actively encouraged to try new things, take control of their own development and support each other in learning, where failure isn’t automatically punished. Thankfully though the number is shrinking!
The fact is that the pace of change is increasing. Experts in anything aren’t experts for long. We need to keep learning, keep innovating, keep trying new things, keep being prepared to say we don’t know or having the guts to fail and know we won’t automatically be punished. Creating and embedding a learning environment is perhaps the last ‘big’ piece of the L&D puzzle that organisations need to put into place… because when the sun is shining, we want to be healthy. When our organisations expect continuous personal development, we’ll all want to learn.