12 years back, I started my career as a tutor who taught Oracle and PL/SQL to students belonging to different age groups. One thing I realized very early in my career as a tutor is that everyone of us has a different rate of learning – the speed with which we grasp new things, accept changes and change our own thinking.
Another important realization was that however good the tutor is, students only learn when they actually practice the lessons and apply them in the real world.
So what does these lessons have to do with process improvement? A lot!
In my view, implementing an organizational change is pretty much like teaching, because just like teaching, it changes people/teams/organization for better. It involves creating an impact on how other’s see their work. It involves implementing change. It involves communication and connection.
We make a big mistake when we expect everyone across the organization to accept change at an equal rate. People learn and adapt at a different rate and it is important to “facilitate” change than to “push” it. My first lesson in teaching still holds true.
Change involves lot of training and counseling, but real acceptance of any significant change only happens when people actually apply the new practices and experience the tangible benefits of the change. This also means that when people implement change in their day to day work, there will be a lot of realignment and fine tuning in the process itself. My second lesson from that brief teaching experience comes in handy here.
I also saw that students learn the best when they see relevance of the subject with the real life. Ditto with the improvements, because ultimately, people will only implement an improvement action when they are convinced with the purpose of improvement.
Bottom line: Teaching, process improvement and change initiatives – they all involve people. Knowing how people learn, change and adapt helps when implementing significant organizational changes/improvements.
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