Tag Archives: continuous learning

Implementing Successful Transformation Initiatives for 2024

Implementing Successful Transformation Initiatives for 2024

GUEST POST from Janet Sernack

Transformation and change initiatives are usually designed as strategic interventions, intending to advance an organization’s growth, deliver increased shareholder value, build competitive advantage, or improve speed and agility to respond to fast-changing industries.  These initiatives typically focus on improving efficiency, and productivity, resolving IT legacy and technological issues, encouraging innovation, or developing high-performance organizational cultures. Yet, according to research conducted over fifteen years by McKinsey & Co., shared in a recent article “Losing from day one: Why even successful transformations fall short” – Organizations have realized only 67 percent of the maximum financial benefits that their transformations could have achieved. By contrast, respondents at all other companies say they captured an average of only 37 percent of the potential benefit, and it’s all due to a lack of human skills, and their inability to adapt, innovate, and thrive in a decade of disruption.

Differences between success and failure

The survey results confirm that “there are no short­cuts to successful transformation and change initiatives. The main differentiator between success and failure was not whether an organization followed a specific subset of actions but rather how many actions it took throughout an organizational transformation’s life cycle” and actions taken by the people involved.

Capacity, confidence, and competence – human skills

What stands out is that thirty-five percent of the value lost occurs in the implementation phase, which involves the unproductive actions taken by the people involved.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) supports this in a recent article “How to Create a Transformation That Lasts” – “Transformations are inherently difficult, filled with compressed deadlines and limited resources. Executing them typically requires big changes in processes, product offerings, governance, structure, the operating model itself, and human behavior.

Reinforcing the need for organizations to invest in developing the deep human skills that embed transformation disciplines into business-as-usual structures, processes, and systems, and help shift the culture. Which depends on enhancing people’s capacity, confidence, and competence to implement the “annual business-planning processes and review cycles, from executive-level weekly briefings and monthly or quarterly reviews to individual performance dialogue” that delivers and embeds the desired changes, especially the cultural enablers.

Complex and difficult to navigate – key challenges

As a result of the impact of our VUCA/BANI world, coupled with the global pandemic, current global instability, and geopolitics, many people have had their focus stolen, and are still experiencing dissonance cognitively, emotionally, and viscerally.

This impacts their ability to take intelligent actions and the range of symptoms includes emotional overwhelm, cognitive overload, and change fatigue.

It seems that many people lack the capacity, confidence, and competence, to underpin their balance, well-being, and resilience, which resources their ability and GRIT to engage fully in transformation and change initiatives.

The new normal – restoring our humanity

At ImagineNation™ for the past four years, in our coaching and mentoring practice, we have spent more than 1000 hours partnering with leaders and managers around the world to support them in recovering and re-emerging from a range of uncomfortable, disabling, and disempowering feelings.

Some of these unresourceful states include loneliness, disconnection, a lack of belonging, and varying degrees of burnout, and have caused them to withdraw and, in some cases, even resist returning to the office, or to work generally.

It appears that this is the new normal we all have to deal with, knowing there is no playbook, to take us there because it involves restoring the essence of our humanity and deepening our human skills.

Taking a whole-person approach – develop human skills

By embracing a whole-person approach, in all transformation and change initiatives, that focuses on building people’s capacity, confidence, and competence, and that cultivates their well-being and resilience to:

  • Engage, empower, and enable them to collaborate in setting the targets, business plans, implementation, and follow-up necessary to ensure a successful transformation and change initiative.
  • Safely partner with them through their discomfort, anxiety, fear, and reactive responses.
  • Learn resourceful emotional states, traits, mindsets, behaviors, and human skills to embody, enact and execute the desired changes strategically and systemically.

By then slowing down, to pause, retreat and reflect, and choose to operate systemically and holistically, and cultivate the “deliberate calm” required to operate at the three different human levels outlined in the illustration below:

The Neurological Level – which most transformation and change initiatives fail to comprehend, connect to, and work with. Because people lack the focus, intention, and skills to help people collapse any unconscious RIGIDITY existing in their emotional, cognitive, and visceral states, which means they may be frozen, distracted, withdrawn, or aggressive as a result of their fears and anxiety.

You can build your capacity, confidence, and competence to operate at this level by accepting “what is”:

  • Paying attention and being present with whatever people are experiencing neurologically by attending, allowing, accepting, naming, and acknowledging whatever is going on for them, and by supporting and enabling them to rest, revitalize and recover in their unique way.
  • Operating from an open mind and an open heart and by being empathic and compassionate, in line with their fragility and vulnerability, being kind, appreciative, and considerate of their individual needs.
  • Being intentional in enabling them to become grounded, mindful conscious, and truly connected to what is really going on for them, and rebuild their positivity, optimism, and hope for the future.
  • Creating a collective holding space or container that gives them permission, safety, and trust to pull them towards the benefits and rewards of not knowing, unlearning, and being open to relearning new mental models.
  • Evoking new and multiple perspectives that will help them navigate uncertainty and complexity.

The Emotional Cognition Levels – which most transformation and change initiatives fail to take into account because people need to develop their PLASTICITY and flexibility in regulating and focusing their thoughts, feelings, and actions to adapt and be agile in a world of unknowns, and deliver the outcomes and results they want to have.

You can build your capacity, confidence, and competence to operate at this level by supporting them to open their hearts and minds:

  • Igniting their curiosity, imagination, and playfulness, introducing novel ideas, and allowing play and improvisation into their thinking processes, to allow time out to mind wander and wonder into new and unexplored territories.
  • Exposing, disrupting, and re-framing negative beliefs, ruminations, overthinking and catastrophizing patterns, imposter syndromes, fears of failure, and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
  • Evoking mindset shifts, embracing positivity and an optimistic focus on what might be a future possibility and opportunity.
  • Being empathic, compassionate, and appreciative, and engaging in self-care activities and well-being practices.

The Generative Level – which most transformation and change initiatives ignore, because they fail to develop the critical and creative thinking, and problem sensing and solving skills that are required to GENERATE the crucial elastic thinking and human skills that result in change, and innovation.

You can build your capacity, confidence, and competence to operate at this level by:

  • Creating a safe space to help people reason and make sense of the things occurring within, around, and outside of them.
  • Cultivating their emotional and cognitive agility, creative, critical, and associative thinking skills to challenge the status quo and think differently.
  • Developing behavioral flexibility to collaborate, being inclusive to maximize differences and diversity, and safe experimentation to close their knowing-doing gaps.
  • Taking small bets, giving people permission and safety to fail fast to learn quickly, be courageous, be both strategic and systemic in taking smart risks and intelligent actions.

Reigniting our humanity – unlocking human potential  

At the end of the day, we all know that we can’t solve the problem with the same thinking that created it. Yet, so many of us keep on trying to do that, by unconsciously defaulting into a business-as-usual linear thinking process when involved in setting up and implementing a transformation or change initiative.

Ai can only take us so far, because the defining trait of our species, is our human creativity, which is at the heart of all creative problem-solving endeavors, where innovation can be the engine of change, transformation, and growth, no matter what the context. According to Fei-Fei Li, Sequoia Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, and co-director of AI4All, a non-profit organization promoting diversity and inclusion in the field of AI.

“There’s nothing artificial about AI. It’s inspired by people, created by people, and most importantly it has an impact on people”.

  • Develop the human skills

When we have the capacity, confidence, and competence to reignite our humanity, we will unlock human potential, and stop producing results no one wants. By developing human skills that enable people to adapt, be resilient, agile, creative, and innovate, they will grow through disruption in ways that add value to the quality of people’s lives, that are appreciated and cherished, we can truly serve people, deliver profits and perhaps save the planet.

Find out more about our work at ImagineNation™

Find out about our collective, learning products and tools, including The Coach for Innovators, Leaders, and Teams Certified Program, presented by Janet Sernack, is a collaborative, intimate, and deeply personalized innovation coaching and learning program, supported by a global group of peers over 9-weeks, and can be customized as a bespoke corporate learning and coaching program for leadership and team development and change and culture transformation initiatives.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Importance of Continuous Learning in a Disruptive World

Strategies for fostering a culture of learning and adaptability to stay ahead of industry shifts

The Importance of Continuous Learning in a Disruptive World

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic world, industries are constantly evolving due to disruptive technologies, changing consumer demands, and global trends. To stay ahead of these shifts and succeed in the long run, organizations must foster a culture of continuous learning and adaptability. In this article, we will explore the significance of lifelong learning while presenting two compelling case studies that exemplify successful strategies for fostering a culture of learning and adaptability.

Case Study 1: Google’s 20% Time

Google, renowned for innovation and cutting-edge technology, has become a global leader by embracing a culture of continuous learning. One of the most notable initiatives at Google is the concept of “20% time.” This concept encourages employees to dedicate 20% of their work time to pursue passion projects that align with the company’s objectives but are not necessarily part of their regular responsibilities.

Through the 20% time concept, Google fosters a culture of curiosity, creativity, and adaptability among its employees. Engineers, for example, have used this time to develop groundbreaking projects such as Gmail and Google News. By allowing employees to explore their interests and learn new skills autonomously, Google enables continuous growth and encourages innovative thinking, putting the company at the forefront of technological advancements.

Case Study 2: Airbnb’s Employee Learning and Development Program

As a disruptor in the hospitality industry, Airbnb recognizes the importance of continuous learning and development to navigate industry shifts. To instill a culture of learning, Airbnb has implemented an employee learning and development program that emphasizes up-skilling, cross-functional training, and embracing new technologies.

Through this program, employees are encouraged to develop new skills by pursuing certifications, attending conferences, or participating in online courses. Additionally, the company organizes regular cross-functional training sessions where employees can gain insights into different departments and take part in collaborative problem-solving activities.

Airbnb’s commitment to continuous learning has enabled employees to adapt to changing market demands and emerging technologies. By equipping their workforce with diverse skill sets, Airbnb has been able to pivot quickly, branching into new business areas, such as experiences and luxury rentals, to maintain its competitive edge in the hospitality industry.

Strategies for Fostering a Culture of Learning and Adaptability:

1. Encourage Personal Development Plans: Encourage employees to create personal development plans that align with their career goals and the organization’s objectives. Regularly revisit and update these plans to foster continuous growth.

2. Embrace Cross-Functional Collaboration: Promote cross-functional collaboration to encourage knowledge-sharing and allow employees to learn from colleagues in different roles or departments. This fosters adaptability and a deeper understanding of the company’s overall operations.

3. Emphasize Up-skilling and Re-skilling: Invest in training programs and resources that enable employees to acquire new skills and adapt to emerging technologies. This investment not only benefits the organization but also empowers employees to future-proof their careers.

4. Allocate Time for Learning: Embrace flexible work schedules or initiatives such as Google’s 20% time to allow employees dedicated time for self-directed learning and experimentation. This autonomy fosters a culture of continuous learning and innovation.


The disruptive world we live in demands a culture of continuous learning and adaptability. Through case studies of companies like Google and Airbnb, we have seen how embracing lifelong learning and fostering adaptability are crucial for staying ahead of industry shifts. By implementing strategies such as personal development plans, cross-functional collaboration, and up-skilling initiatives, organizations can create a culture of learning that enables employees to thrive, innovate, and drive success in the face of disruption. Embracing continuous learning is no longer an option; it is an essential strategy for organizations to remain competitive and thrive in the years to come.

Bottom line: Understanding trends is not quite the same thing as understanding the future, but trends are a component of futurology. Trend hunters use a formal approach to achieve their outcomes, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to be their own futurist and trend hunter.

Image credit: Pexels

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Change Management Strategies for Organizational Growth

A Comprehensive Guide

Change Management Strategies for Organizational Growth

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Change is the only constant in today’s dynamic business environment. Amidst rapid technological advancements, evolving market demands, and global economic shifts, organizations must continuously adapt to survive and thrive. As a thought leader in human-centered innovation and change, I’ve distilled critical change management strategies that foster organizational growth. In this article, I’ll explore these strategies and elucidate them through two compelling case studies.

1. Embrace a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Successful organizations cultivate a culture that encourages constant enhancement and innovation. This involves empowering employees at all levels to identify inefficiencies and propose improvements. Implementing a continuous improvement mindset can lead to sustained, incremental growth and resilience against market shocks.

Case Study: Toyota

Toyota’s adoption of the Kaizen philosophy epitomizes a culture of continuous improvement. “Kaizen” translates to “change for better,” a principle that Toyota has ingrained in its DNA. Employees at all levels, from assembly line workers to executives, are encouraged to contribute ideas. Daily team meetings, called “morning markets,” provide a forum for discussing suggestions.

One notable initiative was the introduction of the Andon cord—a system allowing any worker to halt production if they noticed a defect. This not only improved quality but also demonstrated Toyota’s commitment to giving employees ownership in the production process. Over time, this approach reduced defects, cut costs, and bolstered Toyota’s reputation for reliability, thereby increasing market share and driving growth.

2. Foster Agile Leadership and Decision-Making

Navigating change requires leaders who are agile and adaptable. Agile leaders can pivot quickly in response to disruptions and ensure that their organization remains aligned with the market. They cultivate a work environment where swift, yet informed decision-making is the norm

Case Study: Spotify

Spotify’s organizational growth can be strongly attributed to its adoption of the Agile framework. Instead of traditional top-down management, Spotify operates in small, autonomous teams known as “squads.” Each squad is responsible for a specific feature or component of the platform and functions like a mini-startup within the company.

These squads are empowered to make decisions and execute changes independently, enabling faster development cycles and quicker responses to market needs. This agility allowed Spotify to outmaneuver larger competitors, consistently deliver innovative product features, and rapidly expand its global user base.

3. Engage Stakeholders Through Transparent Communication

Clear and consistent communication is crucial for any change initiative. Engaging stakeholders—from employees to external partners—through transparent communication builds trust and mitigates resistance to change.

Case Study: GE’s Transformation Under Jack Welch

When Jack Welch assumed the role of CEO at General Electric (GE), he embarked on a massive transformation program known as “boundaryless behavior.” Welch’s vision was to dismantle bureaucratic silos and create a more integrated, competitive company.

One of his critical strategies was transparent and direct communication. Welch held regular town hall meetings, shared the company’s financial performance openly, and involved employees in decision-making processes. Training programs known as “Work-Outs” were established where employees could voice concerns and offer solutions directly to executives. This open dialogue not only enhanced employee morale but also facilitated smoother implementation of change initiatives, ultimately fueling GE’s growth into a powerhouse conglomerate.

4. Leverage Data-Driven Decision Making

Emphasizing data-driven decision-making ensures that organizations navigate change with precision and confidence. By leveraging data analytics, companies can identify trends, pinpoint inefficiencies, and forecast the impact of potential changes.

Case Study: Netflix’s Evolution

Netflix’s transition from a DVD rental service to a leading streaming platform and content creator exemplifies data-driven decision making. Initially, Netflix used data analytics to revolutionize its DVD rental service, predicting customer preferences and optimizing inventory.

As the market evolved, Netflix pivoted to streaming, leveraging viewer data to curate personalized recommendations and drive user engagement. Their data-driven approach also extended to content creation; by analyzing viewer metrics, Netflix identified gaps in the market and produced popular original series like “House of Cards” and “Stranger Things,” which significantly boosted subscriptions and propelled the company’s growth.

5. Develop Resilience Through Continuous Learning

Building an organization that champions continuous learning and skill development prepares the workforce to adapt to future challenges and technological advancements. By investing in continuous professional development, organizations can retain talent and foster innovation.

Case Study: AT&T’s Workforce 2020 Initiative

AT&T recognized the need to adapt to the digital era and launched the Workforce 2020 initiative. This comprehensive, multi-year strategy aimed to reskill its workforce to meet the demands of emerging technologies.

AT&T partnered with leading online education platforms and provided employees with resources to gain new skills in data science, cybersecurity, and other critical areas. By 2020, over half the workforce had participated in reskilling programs, bolstering the company’s innovative capabilities and maintaining its competitive edge in the fast-evolving tech landscape.


Implementing effective change management strategies is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The success stories of Toyota, Spotify, General Electric, Netflix, and AT&T highlight how a tailored approach grounded in continuous improvement, agile leadership, transparent communication, data-driven decision making, and continuous learning can drive organizational growth. By learning from these exemplars and applying these strategies thoughtfully, organizations can navigate change successfully and foster sustainable growth.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pexels

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The Importance of Continuous Learning

Developing Growth Mindsets for Employee Engagement and Innovation

The Importance of Continuous Learning

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, continuous learning is more important than ever. It is essential for organizations to foster a culture of growth mindset among their employees in order to drive employee engagement and encourage innovation. In this article, we will explore the significance of continuous learning and how it can create a positive impact on the overall success of a company.

Continuous learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge and skills throughout one’s career. It is about constantly seeking out new opportunities for growth and development, whether through formal training programs, informal learning experiences, or on-the-job experiences. By encouraging employees to engage in continuous learning, organizations can foster a culture of curiosity, creativity, and adaptability.

One of the key benefits of continuous learning is its impact on employee engagement. When employees are given the opportunity to learn and grow, they are more likely to feel motivated and invested in their work. This, in turn, can lead to increased productivity, better job satisfaction, and higher levels of employee retention. A study conducted by Gallup found that companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable than those with low levels of engagement. By investing in continuous learning opportunities for their employees, organizations can create a more engaged and committed workforce.

Furthermore, continuous learning can also drive innovation within an organization. By encouraging employees to constantly expand their knowledge and skills, companies can create a culture of experimentation and creativity. Employees who are willing to take risks and try new things are more likely to come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. This can give organizations a competitive edge in the marketplace and help them stay ahead of the curve.

To illustrate the importance of continuous learning in driving employee engagement and innovation, let’s look at two case studies:

Case Study 1: Google

Google is widely known for its innovative culture and commitment to continuous learning. The company encourages its employees to spend 20% of their time on personal projects that interest them, allowing them to explore new ideas and concepts outside of their daily responsibilities. This practice has led to the development of some of Google’s most successful products, including Gmail and Google News. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and experimentation, Google has been able to stay at the forefront of the technology industry.

Case Study 2: IBM

IBM has also seen the benefits of continuous learning in driving employee engagement and innovation. The company offers a wide range of training and development programs for its employees, including online courses, workshops, and mentorship opportunities. By investing in the professional growth of its workforce, IBM has been able to create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. This has enabled the company to stay competitive in a rapidly changing market and deliver cutting-edge solutions to its clients.


Continuous learning is essential for organizations looking to drive employee engagement and foster a culture of innovation. By investing in the professional growth of their workforce and encouraging a growth mindset, companies can create a more engaged and creative workforce that is better equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Organizations that prioritize continuous learning are likely to see greater levels of employee satisfaction, higher levels of productivity, and increased levels of innovation. Ultimately, continuous learning is not just a nice-to-have, but a must-have for companies looking to thrive in a dynamic and ever-changing business environment.

Bottom line: Futurists are not fortune tellers. They use a formal approach to achieve their outcomes, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to be their own futurist.

Image credit: Pixabay

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