What a map app has to do with mindset and future skills development and how organizations can learn from it.
It is 1:56 p.m. in Munich. The employee of a company receives a call from a customer that she is expected at 5 p.m. for an appointment at the customer’s office in Nuremberg. This is feasible with a driving distance of about 180 km. However, this means that she has to use the afternoon to get to her destination – the office in Nuremberg. Instinctively, she pulls out her smartphone and opens her map app. She enters the address of the office in Nuremberg as her destination and receives a route calculation. According to the map app, the route from Munich to Nuremberg takes 7.5 hours and she will arrive in Nuremberg at around 9:30 pm. Much too late, then, for the 5 p.m. meeting.
The GPS on the smartphone did not work, so it was not possible to locate the employee’s position. This meant that the map app knew the destination, but not the starting point from where the employee was leaving. As a result, the map app gave her some default route that was stored in the map app by default. In this case, the route from Hamburg was always saved for the destination Nuremberg. Of course, this route description does not help the employee.
What sounds completely illogical and impractical in this example, namely a route calculation without location determination at the beginning, is often the normal state in corporate learning. Particularly with regard to the development of future competencies and digital mindset, it can be observed time and again that goals are set within organizations and learning content is made available accordingly. However, the individual location of each employee is disregarded. This not only leads to frustration among learners, as they receive learning content that is not appropriate. But it also leads to insufficient development of the employees for the ever faster changes. As in the example with the map app an arrival at 9:30 p.m. for an appointment at 5 p.m. is of relatively little use, a development of future competencies and mindset that takes too long due to a lack of orientation is of little use.
But how can it work differently?
4 steps to successful, individualized mindset development
1. Determine target vision
First of all, for the development of future competencies and digital mindset (definition “Digital Mindset in 6 Dimensions”), a clear target image must be developed for the organization (quasi the target location in the map app). For this, the first step should be to define the required future competencies and dimensions of the digital mindset in general. In the next step, the target image must then be derived from this collection. This target picture does not necessarily have to be the same for the entire organization, but may well be different for different departments. For example, a different degree of customer centricity and creativity can be anchored as a goal in the sales area than in the controlling area. This results in several very concrete goals for the employees in the organization. However, the employee in the example with the map app was already this far along and still did not arrive at the destination on time. That is why step 2 is now crucial.
2. Analyze location
After the target images have been defined, it is now necessary to provide each employee with the appropriate route description and thus learning path. For this, however, the location must be determined at an individual level. Even if an area (e.g., Sales) has the same target image (in the map example: Nuremberg), the employees all start from different locations. Some come from Munich, others from Frankfurt, Zurich and Bremen. This is because each person has an individual mindset and thus a different starting point for the learning journey. However, this starting point must be precisely determined for the route calculation. For this, a scientifically valid and objective measuring instrument is needed (in the example: the GPS signal). This measuring instrument is a valid diagnostic in the field of mindset, which is quick and easy to use (e.g. for digital mindset) and thus produces an objective result as a location determination.
3. Calculate route to destination
With the knowledge of the target image and the location of each employee, the exact route to the target can now be calculated. This route can look different for each employee and take different lengths of time. However, all routes are united by their focus on the destination and their individualization. Similar to the mix of means of transport used for the calculated route in map apps, individualized learning paths also have different learning formats integrated. This means that development does not only take place via traditional workshops, but rather from a mix of videos, texts, podcasts, reflection sessions, social learnings and workshops. This mix leads to a more sustainable learning success, as the learning format always pays attention to the current step on the route and can also accommodate different learning types.
4. Continuous checking of the current location
In the meantime, the employees have started on their individualized learning path and are developing in the direction of the target image. To ensure that this is also successful in the long term, the location should be reviewed again from time to time using valid diagnostics so that adjustments can be made to the route if necessary. This relocalization leads to the start of true lifelong learning and continuous development.
With these 4 steps, companies are able to individualize the development of the mindset and future competencies of employees and ensure a sustainable, successful empowerment. This is because frustration over incorrect, inappropriate learning content decreases through individualization and thus increases learning engagement in the long term. In the end, it is a win-win situation for employees and organizations, both of which are empowered for a successful future.