“I think that any time of great pain is a time of transformation, a fertile time to plant new seeds.” Debbie Ford
New Reality, New Values
The Barrett Values Center recently conducted research on how individual and organizational values have changed in response to Covid-19. The Center also made recommendations for what organizations need to do to recover and succeed. They concluded that specific values needed to be instilled, which included: Adaptability, Agility, Teamwork, and Cross Group Collaboration.
These new skills and values can be learned, and peer learning groups offer a unique advantage for doing that.
Peer Learning Groups
The Peer Learning Group process involves managers or supervisors at the same level of authority from different parts of an organization. They come together driven by a need to learn how to better handle a current worksite problem. They meet face-to-face or virtually and facilitate their own discussion in two 90-minute onsite sessions, separated by a month of reinforced practice. Their discussion is organized around an agenda and materials provided by The Peer Learning Institute.
Let’s consider how the Peer Learning Group process reinforces the values mentioned above.
Adaptability is the ability to change actions, course, or approach to doing things in order to suit a new situation. The members of a peer learning group come together with the sole intention to find and adopt a new management action or behavior that will be more effective in current and future situations. As they are exposed to and discuss various options presented by their peers, the group members expand their capacity to adapt to new situations and find novel ways that fit their changing reality.
Agility is the ability and willingness to learn from experience and then apply that new learning to perform successfully under new situations. New learning in the peer group is the composite result of shared knowledge and experience and provided techniques. The members leave the first session with a commitment to change how they handle the problem situation in their daily activities over the course of a month’s time.
Teamwork involves the collaborative effort of a group to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. The members of a peer learning group work in supportive partnership with each other to determine a better way of handling the management challenge that brought them together. They establish and follow operational rules that help them operate in a coherent and collaborative way without compromising each individual’s creative contributions and capabilities.
Cross Group Collaboration
Cross Group Collaboration involves a group of people from different areas of expertise working together to achieve a common goal. As mentioned above, the members of the peer learning group are typically drawn from different areas of the organization to bridge any existing siloes. As they work together to learn how to effectively manage current management challenges, the members develop collaborative skills that also improve cross functional and cross team communication and collaboration.
Covid-19 has had an incredibly detrimental effect on individuals, organizations and society in general. At the same time, as noted in Debbie Ford’s quote, it offers an opportunity for organizations and their staff to rethink how they collaborate, re-evaluate what is really important, and create a more friendly and collaborative environment that helps them to achieve their goals with less effort and personal strain.
The focus and structure of peer learning groups support and enhance the values necessary for individual and organizational success. These small groups are the natural starting point for collaborative transformation and the generation of the new values that are needed in the new reality.
For more information how to set up peer learning groups in your organization, please contact The Peer Learning Institute (608-255-2010) or schedule a mutually convenient time to chat with one of our learning specialists at https://calendly.com/peerlearninginstitute/discoverycall
Deborah Laurel, Chief Learning Officer, The Peer Learning Institute