What Do Monty Python and the Holy Grail and A Great Learning Organization Have In Common?

Learning Organizations
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    “What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?” 

    I was first introduced to the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail in my senior year of high school. A teacher of mine thought me as way too serious of humans and suggested I need to learn to have a laugh. She gave me a copy as a gift (VHS not DVD thank you very much) and it became one of my favorite movies. 

    If you are not familiar the thumbnail synopsis is as thus: British comedy troupe tells the story of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail – and much hilarity ensues. If you have never seen it – I highly recommend you seeing – and much hilarity will ensue. 

    So what does this have to do with a great learning organization? Well in my mind loads! 

    “Bring Back A Shrubbery” 

    You will not be able to watch The Knights Who Say Ni without thinking of strategic alignment, changing expectations, and occasionally the impossible mission. While the knights who say Ni asked for a shrubbery, we often refer to this around here as “bring me a rock” – those moments when you are working your stakeholders to ensure you are aligned with their strategic objectives. One of the keys to success is curiosity and well-asked questions. Oftentimes it may seem like your stakeholder is asking for a rock – but with the right questions – you discover they are actually looking for a cathedral. Our love of improv teaches us the reverse of this – you know those times we show up with the cathedral – and all we needed was brick – to hold the door. open. Again the key to strategic alignment is questioning and gaining agreement on the business objective to be met. 

    “Bring Out Your Dead (Processes, Technologies, and Methodologies”

    One of the scenes in the movie involves a village besot by the plague. There is a man with a large cart imploring the villages to “bring out there dead”. The same applies to your learning processes, technologies, and methodologies. In their recent report, What Make’s A Training Organization Great, Training Industry Inc identifies the eight-core process capabilities of a training organization. According to their research, only 25% of organizations are high-performing in all of the top five process capabilities (strategic alignment, content development, diagnostics, delivery, and reporting and analysis). To that, we say “bring out your dead!” – what are the processes, technologies, and methodologies that are holding you back, and what does doing away with those allow you to invest in or innovate? 

    When was the last time you ensured that your learning organization was aligned to the strategies of the organization? How often do you take the time to review your processes, technologies, and methodologies to ensure that you and your organization are as effective as possible? 

    If you are looking for tips on where to start – reach out, we would love to have a conversation with you – as we say around here, together we learn. 

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