Sometimes we need to stop and take a step back in order to go forward

Although we would all like progress to be linear, constant and straightforward, it rarely is. Sometimes – often even – we need to stop and take a step back in order to go forward. Robert Wagner, Director at the CIPD Qualifications & Apprenticeship provider DPG plc tells us more.

Published 17 July 2018
Sometimes we need to stop and take a step back in order to go forward

This is one of the key messages from the benchmarking report, ‘The Transformation Curve’ and it is a message that Robert Wagner, Director at the CIPD Qualifications & Apprenticeship provider DPG plc, thinks is a very important one for L&D and business leaders to hear and incorporate into their thinking.

“As humans, we’re hardwired to want to continuously improve, move forward and better ourselves, so when faced with the possibility of having to accept the need to take a step backwards in order to move forward and improve this goes against everything our gut tells us is right.”

The report calls these moments – when L&D and business leaders must go backwards to move forwards – pivot points of change. These pivot points are when something that has been successful, highly successful even, for an organisation in the past has reached maturity and will soon enter the decline phase.

Organisations need to be able to anticipate and react positively to those pivot points of change to move onto the next stage. Organisations must be able to let go of those successes and be prepared to do things differently to move onto future successes. “By having the pivot points it gives us the data and proof we need to go against our basic instincts and build some regression into our planning process with the confidence that it is normal and more importantly, necessary to make it to the next level of maturity,” says Robert.

Central to the ‘The Transformation Curve’ is, of course, the four stages of maturity. These four stages – optimising training, taking control, letting go and sharing responsibility – outline the different stages that organisations need to go through on their journey to transformation. By having these four stages identified and detailed in this way, Robert says it is much easier for organisations to see where they are on their journey, where they need to go next and how they compare to others. “This will give them more confidence in planning what they need to do in order to move positively through change and transformation. The real benefits here are increased confidence in any plan and the ability to benchmark against other organisations.”

Robert also says that the ability to plot where they are on the Transformation Curve and where they need to go, helps organisations to seek the right external help, support and development in order to facilitate and accelerate the change process.

This is a transformation model that Robert thinks the L&D fraternity will like and find very useful, not least because it supports organisations right through the transformation journey, rather than just setting them off on the right path. “By formalising and signposting the key points on the journey to maturity, organisations can easily check their progress and make sure they are still on course for their destination.”

By having these milestones in place, L&D can keep checking on progress and identifying what’s working and what’s not and what needs to change. Robert thinks it also helps L&D and business leaders to reflect on what they have done and what they have achieved. “By reaching the key milestones it gives the organisation the opportunity to take a step back, reflect and admire the view of what they’ve achieved before embarking on the next stage of the journey and the benefits they’ll gain by continuing to travel along the road to maturity.”

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