Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Vipassana in 10 minutes

In the era of e-learning, hand held gadgets were still gaining their edge in display and memory. The Blackberry was the equivalent of the underground bestseller then. Ranjan Acharya, my boss was aghast when vendors were pushing for content on platforms such as the handheld to address Leadership Development. For him, the blur between convenience and essential learning was a corruptible blind spot for the learning function. In characteristic wit, he asked us “So, would you get Transformational Leadership in 5 minutes, just because you have a Blackberry?”

In 2017, the visual design experience has reduced substance to mere labels on handheld devices. So, even if you are the cover of the book, the market models for data on handhelds has conditioned you to short attention spans. You can afford longer attentiveness however. E.g. Someone like the Chief Minister of an Indian State can still opt for and will attend a 10 days Vipassana Retreat.

The corresponding map on social media now features caricatures, apparently trying to explain away laborious text in visual graphics. So, the trumped-up logic is the power of the visual. Sure; but is there one living example of Transformational Leadership from the latest Daniel Pink like animation?
So today, we have lampoon like artists among L&D professionals who provide stylized caricatures and flow diagram connectors to provide alibis for requisite depth in learning and development constructs. They are enthused by Television Rating Points (TRPS) forms of adulation, or at the very least by frequent boosts to their hedonistic intents. Their patience to watch, observe or commit to see a learner transform, would be as thin or meagre as the intervals between their deprived pleasures of virtual media posts.

The mirage of outcomes is then obfuscated by the next variant stimulus online, depriving the learner of essential transformations. Then like the proverbial opiate, the senses are invited to bursts of non-sustainable energies. Sensibility itself becomes the casualty. Reductionist symbolism, has its value nonetheless. It provides means of quick attention, requiring minimal effort. The shadow of such labourless pursuit of human development then raises its ugly head. The toxic manager, the petulant new employee and the dysfunctional team are ubiquitous. They are less featured on new media though. I am pretty sure you know what light to expect on contemporary media, instead.

The individual, team and organization has thus new manifestations of systems that maintain their behaviours. Their thresholds of perception are provoked by instant stimuli, although what they need are wholesome transformations. The medium and the message are awfully at odds. The penury of clarity in calling this out is stark among L&D professionals. So employees suffer ennui, and organizations shy from real and yet non-discussable truths.

In their anxiety to seem arrived on new platforms, L&D professionals have frittered away their raison d’etre in organizations to technology aided platforms. Disembodied from critical phenomena, they’re unable to influence their host paradigms, or to specify relevant outcomes in the new interactions between the numbed corporate citizen and the commerce of learning content.
Like the economy of nations, led by social media hungry leaders, the exasperation in seeing disappearing effect burgeons in organizational decline. That’s not the picture that you were presented with on the pushed content of the animation, was it? So, what would you look for and how would you go about it, if you’ve realized it is time to get out of your mind and come to your senses? May sensibility prevail!