Making the Case for Case Studies
One of the enduring attributes of high-performing organizations is their emphasis on continuous learning as a foundational value. Some years ago, Peter Senge of MIT’s Sloan School of Management described “the learning organization” as one where the intellectual and emotional development of their employees is an established competency. Not a casual or haphazard exercise, organizational learning extends to all team members and is not limited to job-specific training.
A recent example comes from a client that moved to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). As part of this change, the leadership incorporated an organization-wide training program called “The Great Game of Business,” based on the book by Jack Stack. Through a facilitated and structured process, the aim of the program is to help employees understand the basics of business; why cost control and efficiencies matter, where expenses go, how profits are generated and the importance of cash flow, to name a few. The reaction to this training was overwhelming positive and helped create a heightened awareness of what’s required to get and keep a business on track.
You don’t have to be an ESOP company to benefit from basic business training for your team members. A great way to get started is to utilize a time-tested method from graduate business schools: case studies.
A case study presents a scenario where a difficult decision must be made; one with challenging consequences irrespective of the choice of options. Working on a case study, first independently, then in small groups, members can develop decision-making and group process skills needed to enhance organizational success. Participants report an enhanced sense of creative thinking and problem solving skills gained in a dynamic, “safe harbor” environment.
Often done in small group ‘brown-bag” lunch settings, maybe once or twice a month, case studies can be one of the most effective, enjoyable, and affordable training and development activities that companies of any size or scale can easily implement.
For ideas on how to get started, contact me at email@example.com.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.