Estimated studying time: 3 minutes
I’ve been seeing a couple of articles not too long ago about “unlearning”. There was one from Lifehacker titled “What You Ought to ‘Unlearn’ to Truly Succeed at Work” and the one other from Harvard Enterprise Assessment that was centered on “Redesigning How We Work”.
Whereas the HBR article wasn’t completely centered on unlearning, the dialog about hybrid work jogged my memory that organizations shouldn’t anticipate staff to easily unlearn all the pieces they’ve been doing for the previous three years with a snap of the fingers. We’ve developed new habits and methods of getting issues executed. Staff ought to be given time to unlearn and relearn.
Then it occurred to me that organizations actually don’t spend a lot time instructing unlearning. And perhaps it’s time we begin. The very first thing that got here to thoughts after I consider unlearning is utilizing one thing like Lewin’s Change Mannequin (unfreeze – change – refreeze). You might even name it unlearn – observe – relearn.
Through the UNLEARN part, staff notice they should change their habits. This might occur a few methods. First, the group decides they’re going to implement a brand new coverage, process, or course of. Or second, the worker realizes that one thing they presently do doesn’t work anymore. Both approach, the worker must study a brand new approach of doing one thing.
Instance: Let’s say we handle a restaurant. Simply employed a brand new server. The server has expertise at a number of native eating places. However they should study our restaurant’s processes, insurance policies, and procedures. The brand new server must unlearn the way in which they did issues at their former employer and relearn our system, whereas nonetheless understanding the ideas of restaurant service.
Within the PRACTICE part, the worker receives schooling and coaching on the brand new exercise. They’re given a chance to observe. This might happen in a proper coaching atmosphere (like classroom coaching) or informally in on-the-job coaching. Staff are nonetheless given time to regulate to the brand new approach. It’s attainable they may make errors.
Utilizing our new server instance, it’s attainable that they may mess up how they key in a buyer’s order as a result of their former employer’s system was completely different. Or they may ask some questions on “Nicely, what do I do if a buyer does ABC? As a result of at my final job, we did this.” Actually, this might be very useful. Asking questions means the worker is considering unlearning and what behaviors they need to hold utilizing.
Lastly, the RELEARNING part permits the worker to maneuver ahead with the brand new habits. It’s essential that managers present assist, teaching, and suggestions to let the worker understand how they’re doing. If the worker will begin to be held accountable for “figuring out” the brand new habits, the supervisor wants to inform them.
Our new server is doing an amazing job and hasn’t had any errors recently. Whereas we can not anticipate all the pieces to be excellent, each the supervisor and the brand new server really feel snug that efficiency expectations have been communicated and educated. Transferring ahead, the server might be anticipated to observe the corporate’s efficiency commonplace.
Organizations is perhaps very tempted to inform staff “Efficient tomorrow, right here’s the brand new process.” and never give anybody an opportunity to unlearn the previous process. Not solely does unlearning create buy-in for the change however it offers staff an opportunity to observe, which might enhance their general efficiency. And isn’t that what organizations need – good worker efficiency? As a result of good efficiency = good bottom-line.
Picture captured by Sharlyn Lauby whereas exploring the streets of Havana, Cuba