right kind of training respective to their
role in the plan. They also might think they
are doing task A because that is what they
did 15 years ago. However the organization has changed its mission or equipment
list in those 15 years. There might not be
a need for task A to be performed. That
oversight will normally not come up outside of an exercise when the person starts
doing the obsolete task.
A lot of money every year is spent
trying to build innovation. There are
always the usual research and development expenditures for technology. There is
also a huge need for raw idea generation.
Corporations rack their brains on how that
gets done. While they are trying to generate ideas the usual pace of the day marches
on. There are customers to tend too, papers
to file, bills to pay, etc. The constant barrage of that leaves little time for innovation. Of course there are the touchy feely
escapes to the woods for a day. Some
million dollar consultant stands up and
has you carve pumpkins or something as
a way to get in touch with your creative
side, even if you make cars and have nothing to do with agriculture. Common sense
tells you that might not work to well.
Exercises offer a creative way to get
straight to the point of idea generation.
If exercises are done right they immerse
people in an alternate reality. This alternate
reality reflects what the corporation does
with a twist. The twist is how the future
might change. Then the people have to
respond, analysis the environment, come
up with courses of action then execute as
much as possible. The courses of action that
come out from that are usually quite different than what they see in normal day to day
activities. People also learn new skills like
better idea generation in the exercise.
Many develop new plans or technology that comes from these exercises. Shell
Oil has been real successful at this. They
put their senior leadership in a room way
from the normal day to day pressures. Then
they tell the leadership that the world has
changed this way. What will the company
do in response? The options generated from
these exercises or discussions have helped
shaped plans and future operations. We at
GSA and at the military have also generated
plan options from such exercise play.
The big $64,000 question for continuity specialists is how to do train your staff.
The old way was to throw a book at the
participant and say read this by such and
such date. Of course the plan is like 300
pages and the specialist has to do their
normal duties in addition to read the event.
Reading probably uses to be enough in the
old days to get the job done. Plans were
simpler and people read more.
Nowadays people get information differently than in the past. More and more
people don’t get information from reading. One National Endowment of the
Arts poll in 2002 found out that only 57
percent of Americans read one book last
year. Another AP poll in 2007 found out
that 25 percent of Americans did not read
any book last year. A successful book
nowadays means you make the New York
Times best sellers list. That means you sell
more than 100,000 books in a nation of
more than 300 million. People are turning
to Google to get that information. Unless
you have a business in the print industry
you stand a good chance you will have a
work force that hasn’t read that latest New
York Times best seller.
Exercises can help fill that void. They
can become the best vehicle to train your
work force on top of assessing your capability. The live animated nature of most
exercises jazzes people up. Their cognitive
lob in their brains is turned on full blast.
The exercise becomes the best means to
reach the adult worker.
Reaching adults is far different than
adolescents. Adults learn differently. To
reach those people trainers have to be different. Learning has to be fun and active.
The teacher is just one of many in the
group. All people of the group contribute,
all learn from the process. These principles are part of adult learning. These ideas
follow the principles laid out by David
Kolb in the late 40s. His theory says that
adults learn differently than kids. There
are four phases to this cycle of learning,
immediate concrete experience, reflective
observations, abstract conceptualization
and active experimentation. The exercise
is a method you can reach adults in all four
parts of that process.
Your concrete experience is an atten-
tion grabber. It puts the learner into the
realm. You could say it like turns on the
brain. Your concrete experience could be
the special theatrics of an exercise. It grabs
the person and puts them in the thought
realm relating to the plan. The concrete
experience opens heir mind so they absorb
material faster than they normally would.