In today’s world of “I need it yesterday” there is an unfortunate tendency to forget about some of the most basic ideas and functions. One of these that I have noticed in the corporate world is the necessity to simply force as much information on employees as possible, with an expectation for them to remember, synthesize, and utilize that information. Unfortunately this is done without any thought on how the company can help this process, which is detrimental to both employee and company success.
Think about your own company for a moment. Do you get inundated with emails, conference calls, classroom training, online training, and meetings? How much of the information delivered through all of these sources do you actually retain? What information are you deleting, forgetting, or tuning out because there is just too much?
To commit information to long term memory it really needs to be encoded as something meaningful in the mind, and needs the time to be properly transferred from working, or Short-Term Memory to Long-Term Memory. In the haste to get things done “yesterday”, we often overlook these basic psychological functions.
If corporations truly made a commitment to improving this process, what would it look like? Perhaps we would see different expectations set and in different ways, meaning “You received xyz training yesterday, and so let’s talk about how you will apply it, and put together a plan to allow you to use the new skills or knowledge.” Or maybe, “You received abc email this morning. Send me back what you understood that email to say.” While these methods would not always be applicable and/or necessary, there are many situations in which they could certainly be helpful.
What would a company look like if things were treated in this fashion? How would people feel about the company 10 years after they start? Would it change anything at all?
I have to believe it would change things for the better for all involved. It would stand to reason that a company full of people who have received and retained information would reduce the number of communications needed to go out, would reduce the amount of training and re-training that would need to take place, and would see the company succeed greater through reductions in wasted time, money, and information.