Lessons Learned Program Engagement #lessons-learned #engagement


Janet Austin <janetaaustin@...>
 

 
I have launched a new Lessons Learned system.  As it is new to my firm, the culture to share both positive and negative experiences is nascent.  I am running into the problem of people feeling like this is a "witch hunt" as much of what is going in are lessons based on something that has gone wrong.  People love the idea - they just don't want to be "caught" entering in their mistakes.  We are emphasizing that this is a showcase of experience and have senior leadership support.  But I have little or no control over line managers. 

Does anyone have any experience overcoming this attitude?  

Thanks,
Janet Austin 


Andrew Trickett
 

First time poster on this forum. I think all of us know that 'trust is the killer' of good knowledge management. 

When I write up the notes from the meeting I list the names of the attendees but don't attribute statements and errors to a particular person - ie Bloggs did this and it was a car crash' but i do attribute praise - ie Smith developed some changes in the process that saved £ X,000's in time.

When the notes are drafted up send them to people who have been interviewed and I give them time to review, so that they can make amendments to the notes and that they are comfortable with them being passed on to a manager etc.

in advance of the meeting send them the questions- they are likely to be standard ones but still it's not an exam so you want people to take a few minutes to reflect. The best knowledge reviews I've done are when people have taken a time out to think about their answers.

When i start the review, I start on positive questions, which helps people to open up to the discussion and relaxes them 

Also i don't use words like error or mistake, I use a word like 'areas for improvement' it may seem like semantics but it stops people thinking that they are about to get hit over the head with a large plank. After all if i said to you we were going to talk about your mistakes errors etc, there is a good chance you would get a little nervous..

People want to share knowledge, and what i hope that this approach does is make them trust that the process isn't going to be used against them.

Hope this gives you some guidance, but happy to discuss more.


Gary Riccio
 

Hi Janet,

 

If this is new, I wouldn’t waste your time initially with line managers unless you are merely doing process improvement for efficiency’s sake. If the support of your senior leadership is motivated more by an interest in nonlinear change, such as development of entirely new capabilities or attention to entirely new needs, the messaging around the lessons learn can be adapting to new demands, whether extant or anticipated, instead of past mistakes in meeting old demands.

 

If adaptation to new demands is the reason for your lessons learned, I would start with tiger teams of high potential employees who aren’t threatened by the concept. That might be a small percentage of the people in your organization but I wouldn’t worry about that. A good approach to this sort of ambidextrous organization is www.3boxsolution.com. See also the enjoyable little parable associated with this approach, http://howstellasavedthefarm.com/.

 

Try to promulgate an attitude that works well in the best cases of After Action Reviews (AAR) in the military, for example, in which everyone tries to balance what to “improve” with what to “sustain” in nonjudgmental collaborative reflection of relevant shared or sharable experiences (focus on opportunities rather than problems). Reward or at least recognize AAR participants who best represent this attitude of enthusiasm for change necessary for agility and adaptability. They are the role models who can help you socialize your approach more broadly in the organization (leaders without authority).

 

Cheers,

gary

 

From: on behalf of "Janet Austin janetaaustin@... [sikmleaders]"
Reply-To:
Date: Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:05 AM
To: SIKM Leaders
Subject: [sikmleaders] Lessons Learned Program ENgagement

 

 

 

I have launched a new Lessons Learned system.  As it is new to my firm, the culture to share both positive and negative experiences is nascent.  I am running into the problem of people feeling like this is a "witch hunt" as much of what is going in are lessons based on something that has gone wrong.  People love the idea - they just don't want to be "caught" entering in their mistakes.  We are emphasizing that this is a showcase of experience and have senior leadership support.  But I have little or no control over line managers. 

 

Does anyone have any experience overcoming this attitude?  

 

Thanks,

Janet Austin 


joanna_pierce@...
 

Janet,

I don't have any suggestions as I'm trying to stand this up in my organization, but for me, the idea came from Arno Boersma's presentation to this group on January 17, 2017. He talked about a "Fail Fair" one organization he was a part of implemented each year. 

Wondering if Arno would chime in here about who he worked with and a contact at the organization who would help us get these efforts off the ground? :)

Best,
Joanna


 

Short answer—focus on the behavior and not the system.  It’s about their view of value from participation.  I will reach out to you.

 

Bill

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2017 10:05
To: SIKM Leaders <sikmleaders@...>
Subject: [sikmleaders] Lessons Learned Program ENgagement

 

 

 

I have launched a new Lessons Learned system.  As it is new to my firm, the culture to share both positive and negative experiences is nascent.  I am running into the problem of people feeling like this is a "witch hunt" as much of what is going in are lessons based on something that has gone wrong.  People love the idea - they just don't want to be "caught" entering in their mistakes.  We are emphasizing that this is a showcase of experience and have senior leadership support.  But I have little or no control over line managers. 

 

Does anyone have any experience overcoming this attitude?  

 

Thanks,

Janet Austin 


Stan Garfield
 

Janet,

My recent article on Lessons Learned Process contains links to many other resources. There was also a recent thread about this in KM4Dev started by Mona Lisa Bandawe.


Regards,

Stan

 


Patrick Lambe
 

Janet

Besides the excellent suggestions so far, you might also consider starting with/showcasing lessons that look at things that went better than expected, and how that learning can be exploited in future. It rebalances the perception that lessons learning is all about bad stuff. Another phrasing I’ve seen used, is “do again” and “do differently”. When a lesson is re-used, measure the improvement and communicate it. That closes the loop on the true focus, which is future orientation, not hashing over mistakes in the past.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
+65 62210383



twitter: @plambesg

Knowledge mapping made easy: www.aithinsoftware.com

On 10 Mar 2017, at 11:05 PM, Janet Austin janetaaustin@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:


  
I have launched a new Lessons Learned system.  As it is new to my firm, the culture to share both positive and negative experiences is nascent.  I am running into the problem of people feeling like this is a "witch hunt" as much of what is going in are lessons based on something that has gone wrong.  People love the idea - they just don't want to be "caught" entering in their mistakes.  We are emphasizing that this is a showcase of experience and have senior leadership support.  But I have little or no control over line managers. 

Does anyone have any experience overcoming this attitude?  

Thanks,
Janet Austin 



Matt Moore <innotecture@...>
 

Patrick,


"That closes the loop on the true focus, which is future orientation, not hashing over mistakes in the past."



I think this is a very important point to stress. A lesson is only learned when some action or behaviour is changed as a result. Some other suggestions:
- Focus on the questions that people have that they might want to find out from others as well as entering their own lessons. Then ask them to reflect on the kinds of information they found most useful in responses from others.
- Get senior staff to put in their own lessons that include successes and failures. Tone from the top is important.

Regards,

Matt


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Matt,

To be more precise, I think that many Lessons Learned systems operate in two modalities and the distinctions are often not clearly understood by participants.

  • The first mode is LL as knowledgebase -- a place to record historical events and key decisions and actions which resulted in certain outcomes, sometimes but not always along with a hypothesis about an improved set of decisions and outcomes that could have led to a better result. There may or may not be a structural improvement identified or required in this scenario above and beyond the LL repository itself.
  • The second mode is LL as process improvement -- where a diagnosis of deficiencies in organisational structures and processes drive or lead to an outcome that is likely to recur unless remedial action is taken.

A mismatch in implicit or explicit expectations about the purpose of any LL initiative has the potential for rapid disillusionment across the organisation, particularly if they are expecting the second mode, but management only thinks they have signed up to the first mode.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 13/03/2017 9:11 AM, Matt Moore innotecture@... [sikmleaders] wrote:

 

Patrick,

"That closes the loop on the true focus, which is future orientation, not hashing over mistakes in the past."

I think this is a very important point to stress. A lesson is only learned when some action or behaviour is changed as a result. Some other suggestions:
- Focus on the questions that people have that they might want to find out from others as well as entering their own lessons. Then ask them to reflect on the kinds of information they found most useful in responses from others.
- Get senior staff to put in their own lessons that include successes and failures. Tone from the top is important.

Regards,

Matt