"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world” (Freire 2000, p. 34).
Growing a military BRAT, I became accustomed to expecting change around every corner, change I had to quickly adapt to in order to survive. This culture of origin landed me an addiction to change, and an obsession with learning. Few things make me more nervous than staying in the status quo for too long. But, when I'm making a business case for learning, knowing the case for the status quo is essential.
I was asked at an interview once, "Have you ever turned down an opportunity to train, and why?" Yes, I have. There are many reasons I would choose not to implement a learning development program. This may seem contrary to my bias and inclination toward disruption, change and transformation. In today's blog, I'm sharing ten questions you can ask to determine if there is a better case for the status quo than a case for learning.
Get to know the case for the status quo. When you’re making a business case for learning, get grounded in the reality of what life will be like if learning doesn’t occur. Here are ten powerful questions you can ask to help determine if you should keep the status quo.
1) What are the benefits of the status quo? Who will benefit from keeping the status quo?
2) Is maintaining the status quo in alignment with your and the organization's values?
3) What is the organization losing, giving up, or killing off by making a change?
4) Is there a clear and active sponsor for the change? Is there a sponsor and advocate for the status quo? What are both of their stories?
5) Are there clear learning outcomes that are aligned to business goals, and is there buy-in for those outcomes?
6) What's in it for me? How would a change or the status quo personally impact your work?
7) What are you afraid of? How could you be negatively influenced by either initiating change or maintaining the status quo?
8) If you are sitting in a meeting room with stakeholders six months from now and the change wasn't made, would you regret it?
9) Is the status quo, or worst case scenario, bad enough to create a desire for change? How are you measuring "bad enough?"
10) Are you in love with the learning proposal?
Answering any of these questions can provide insight into making a business case for learning. For more on making a business case for learning, check out my previous blogs from the Association for Talent Development 2015 Puget Sound Conference.
Making a Business Case for Learning
Measuring ROI Beyond Money