List "Blind Spots"
Submitted on 5/25/2016 3:07 PM by Karl Jaensch
I suggested during this call that we might want to make a list of "blind spots" that education and workforce practitioners have been startled to find about each other's specialties. Such a list would help folks who are just starting to engage with their respective partners in the other culture to anticipate problems and not need to learn about them by talking past each other for a while. One example was mentioned during the call: That the typical length of job training in the workforce world is much shorter than it is in the education world. Or stated differently, that workforce efforts are focused more on people who need to go to work quickly while education efforts may be able to take a little more time because their customers don't look to them to help them get jobs right away. I think another example is that the average workforce customer has more connection to the labor market than the average education customer has.
Thanks Carl for your post. You bring up a critical issue in partnership development. What you are speaking to is (blind spots) are developing understanding and strategies for understanding organizational culture. One of my favorite authors on the subject is Edgar Schein. You might want to check out this article http://www.toolshero.com/organization/organizational-culture-model-schein/
It might serve as a useful perspective for deciphering potential blind spots. I also find it the “assumptions” about the other partner that are the most likely to trip us up.
The best way to “get to know” each other is to acknowledge there will be differences and have open and honest dialogue. For example: How do we each measure success? How are decisions made? How do unmet outcomes get addressed?
Would love to hear from others as to specific examples of where you have been tripped up by these cultural blind spots.
When starting out with a new partnership, I have often found that face-to-face time is critical. I've once heard that it takes 6 meetings before true trust can be developed. This is a good barometer for non-profits, but is challenging as was brought up on the call for businesses. We have been working to keep our partners involved through various media outlets including our social media playbook.
There are a number of articles that have ideas on how to do this.
Looking forward to hearing about other strategies. Mark
I've clicked on the hyperlink in Wendy Russell's comment and the article there prompts this comment:
Edgar Schein likens organizational cultures to onions, whose layers are increasingly more pungent (i.e., increasingly harder to change) the closer one gets to the middle, their cores.
This suggests the "blind-spot" thought that, at their respective cores, community colleges are universities and workforce entities are welfare programs (or, said more politely, anti-poverty programs).
I wonder what group members from the education community on the one hand and from the workforce community on the other think about this -- and whether this has any relevance to "Establishing and Sustaining WIOA-inspired Partnerships".