GameChangers is helping the educated illiterates of the twenty first century learn things the right way
Oscar Wilde once said, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”With learning, knowledge, productivity, creativity, etc. being judged in such harshly quantifiable terms nowadays, With a relentless focus on context- Nothing is more agonizing than being put inside a closed room for 8-16 hours and be told fantastically inspiring stories that have no relevance to your context- GameChangers is helping employees and workplaces become more happy and productive by asking all the right questions and placing emphasis on things that are actually important. If this sounds too simplistic, or complex depending on your perspective, here is what they do, in their own words.
How did GameChangers come to be conceived? Were there any specific market gaps that you wished to address?
GameChangers was born out of a shared belief that learning and development – when done right and with consciousness – leads to measurably happier employees and customers and more productive and profitable workplaces. It improves the efficiency, efficacy and effectiveness of people as well as the the ecosystem while moving l&d from a cost centre to a profit centre.
Learning and development – whether it is by improving my self-awareness levels by being more emotionally intelligent, whether it is by being a better listener and improving networking skills, whether it is understanding the process and techniques of creativity and using a six thinking hats for example in problem solving, what have you really can help us improve the quality of our thinking and decisions.
The illiterates of the 21st century are not the ones who cannot read or write. They are the ones who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
Even at the corporate level, behavioral skills were at best, an afterthought. We think of communication presentation, customer service as skills that can be ‘bundled’ with the technical skills, something that can be done by anyone internally. It’s not unlike how we perceive of some other things as not delivering value because it doesn’t have an impact overnight. It is something you do as a rite of passage and because you had budgets to expend without really focusing on outcomes or metrics.
More than pretending to have all the answers, we help our clients ask the right questions.
Milestones, awards, acheivements –
We are preferred learning partners for several organizations such as Pearson, ITC Hotels and Royal Sundaram.
Our flagship program Brand Aligned Customer Service (BACS) has proved to be a game changer for brands who wish to go beyond good or outstanding ‘ generic’ service to creating a culture and rendering service whose elements capture and extend the brand promise. By displaying differentiated brand behaviors at every stage of the moment of the truth cycle, we have helped our clients create substantial brand momentum and stakeholder value.
We are one of the only players who offer programs on themes such as humor, sensitivity and networking. It is possible because we have an understanding of the nuance and complexity of modern day professional skills.
We have been selected for the NEN – SAP mentorship program.
We are among the few organizations where intervention begins with an extensive and exhaustive pre-work process – constituting both primary and secondary data. This typically includes stakeholder interviews/group discussions, mystery audits, speaking to their customers, scoping the social media, mining industry best practices etc
Failures and learnings:
Early on, we spread ourselves too thin by trying to be all things to all people. It took us a while to understand that it doesn’t matter how rigorous, scientific and measurable your process might be, it may simply not be relevant for a client or that the client may not perceive it to be of value. Perception is reality.
We have also learnt that any meaningful change is by default gradual. That its best served in small, easily digestible capsules than by radical changes where it almost ends up being back to square one.
Another learning has been that we are what we measure and what gets measured is what will get done. And therefore the endeavor to scrupulously measure everything that we do.
Training is the first thing that gets cut down in lean or a recessionary period – and therefore we had to develop a business model which de risks the uncertainty. This we are doing by looking at colleges and then schools.
We also realized that beyond the faux debates of what skills one can be taught and what one is born with lies a higher truth – things can be learnt but not be taught. And that’s our central belief now – we strive to create an environment at a workshop level which is as conducive to learning as it is to introspection and encourages individuals to honor what emerges from within. We know all that we need to know at one level. Corporate life, even everyday life, sometimes forms several layers of rust which we try to clear.
In our workshops we account for the fact that ‘inspiration’ lasts only until lunch time and that for people to act , there has to be a list of tangible to do things – advice that you can use on a Monday morning - for an intervention to be effective. There has to be a clear cause and effect relationship established, a visible incentive for people to act.
How do we enable excellence? How do we measure it?
We measure it by defining the ‘as is state’ and ‘desired’ state in measurable terms and putting in place metrics that track the needle movement. We also use technology to measure in the forms of ResultsEngine and Wooqer. For example – an intervention on work life balance would include measuring the average hours logged in presently and the desired number – among other things – and then identifying and addressing causes at a will, skill and ecosystem level that will act as an enabler.
We have a relentless focus on context. Context is king and is the only god we worship. Nothing is more agonizing than being put inside a closed room for 8-16 hours and be told fantastically inspiring stories that have no relevance to your context. We live in a time of information overload, reducing attention spans and a constant need for stimulus – and therefore account for it in our pedagogy.
We will answer this question at two levels. At a philosophical level, any individual or organization who has an appetite for learning or has felt even a subconscious, subliminal need to evolve.
At a commercial level, our customers are typically who have had previous experiences with l&d vendors or have carried out internal interventions and have specific gaps emerge or have not been able to achieve results. Organizations who are seeking to balance e-learning with instructor led interventions are also our clients.
What principles do we operate on?
Our interventions are designed in alignment with andragogy – principles of adult learning(commonly available on the internet for anyone to check out )
The principles of adult education are:
1) Adults will only learn when they want to. Simply put, no adult will learn under pressure. They must be motivated to want to acquire new knowledge or skills that will help them in their work or day-to-day life. Thus, their desire to learn can decrease or increase depending on the approach and methodology that is being used.
2) Adults will only learn when they feel they need to. Basically, any attained knowledge will only “make sense” if the adult can see the applicability of what is being learned, and this will usually have to happen at a very early stage in the learning process in order to keep interest alive. Adults only really want to learn that which will help them in the short term.
3) Adults learn by doing. No adult enjoys being fed vast amounts of theory with little or no practice. As we grow older, we much prefer a “hands-on” approach to things. The learning will be much more effective if we can take an active role in the learning process. Thus it’s important to encourage objective discussion both in analyzing the problem and coming up with a solution.
4) Adults will only learn by solving problems they can associate with their reality. If they can’t apply what is being learned to some issue they have to deal with in their lives, the learning process will be significantly hindered. Thus adult education must pay less attention to analyzing documented case studies and imaginary scenarios and focus on “real world” problems and practical assimilation of what is being taught.
5) Experience will interfere in adult education. No person likes to be told that their “tried and tested” way of doing things is “wrong”.Thus, any new information being presented must be integrated with their own experience in such a way as to complement or even supplement what they already know. Categorically labeling something as the “right” or “best” way is a pitfall that should be avoided.
6) Adults learn better in an informal environment. At this point in their lives, adults won’t put up with a “schoolhouse lecturer” who demands that they sit up straight in their desks. They require a more relaxed atmosphere; one that will stimulate them to participate, thus allowing them to accept every ounce of new knowledge as a product that will solve an issue they are dealing with.
7) Adults need feedback. If one thing is preserved from their childhood days, it’s the constant need to know how well they are doing. So, it’s important that learning process provide adults with constructive feedback, through the use of artifices such as self-evaluation questionnaires and activities.
8) Adults require a variety of teaching methods. It’s important that different approached be used when trying to pass on knowledge to adults. The use of audiovisual materials is highly recommended; as is the use of interactive activities such as role-playing, mock classes and presentations from the students. One of the most effective techniques that can be used to finish off a training program is to have the adults, either individually or in groups, prepare a small (5 minute) presentation on some aspect or subject that was covered in the course. This will help the instructor to get an idea of how well the information has been absorbed, as well as allow the “students” to put into practice some of what they have learned in a controlled environment.