There are many metaphors we can use when talking about organizations.
My new favorite? Organization as a house.
When you’re implementing Learning and Development into your organization consider whether you are merely decorating, or building your foundation. Sometimes it may seem like you’re doing both, at the same time.
Some initiatives are simply there for decoration. We’ll add some nice curtains and we’ll paint the walls. They are nice to have, but not always necessary, and wear over time.
Other initiatives are foundational, but treated as decoration.
Learning and Employee Development is a strong lever to pull towards change, but it rarely sustains its impact when done in isolation, or when looked at as merely decoration.
A strong L&D program is built into the foundation of the company, and that foundation is squarely in place before the decorations are added.
Building that foundation takes time and care and deliberate choice.
If you are the “architect” or “contractor” of your company, learn to both acknowledge, advocate for, and understand the difference between foundational initiatives and decorations. Learn why your client is asking for each and help them understand these tradeoffs as you navigate it together. Build a house you want to live in and are excited for others to visit and call home.