Saturday, July 5, 2014

Subjective versus Objective

Years ago, I was at a training class. This training was on martial arts. There was one person who taught us a bunch of things each class and then moved on to a different set of things each class and thus it went. Class after class, we were taught a set of things - seemingly connected - but for us, it did not make sense. We learnt technique after technique and promptly forgot technique after technique - because there was nothing to keep those techniques internlinked - no framework - nothing. No way to recap. Nothing to take away. No multiple repetition. No structure.

And then I had the opportunity to be coached by a different person. Now this person was an expert -  actually there were two of them. They taught from the start. Basics. Repeat. Steps. And then week by week they increased the complexity till we got one step right.  And as we progressed, we also learnt techniques.

Which one do you think is more amenable to be learnt by students? The latter, quite obviously. A process or a structure allows students to assimilate learning rather than throwing things at students and hoping that they learn.

A similar approach often happens in organizations. Subjective processes can be only with experience - which is all very fine, but if you expect it to be scalable, then the process has to be objective. A lot of times, people keep things subjective because in a way, it protects them. When  you go with frameworks scale follows. So, if you want scale, build frameworks.

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