In his 2021 book titled “Think Again,” Adam Grant highlighted Philip Tetlock’s insights on the mindsets we often adopt. Grant emphasized that in our thinking and communication, we frequently find ourselves falling into the roles of preachers, prosecutors, or politicians. When in preacher mode, we passionately deliver sermons to protect and promote our ideals. In prosecutor mode, we switch gears to scrutinize the reasoning of others, constructing arguments to prove them wrong and maintain our stance. Lastly, when seeking to sway an audience and gain approval, we adopt politician mode, engaging in campaigning and lobbying efforts. These cognitive heuristics, or mental shortcuts, prove helpful in navigating our social world efficiently and shaping our own ideal social reality.
However, as trainers and talent development practitioners, it is imperative that we transcend the limitations of our cognitive biases. In today’s rapidly changing world, organizations face the challenge of equipping their workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary for success. The key to meeting this challenge lies in harnessing the power of research in learning and development programs. As talent and development practitioners, it is crucial for us to adopt the identity and tools of scientists. Rethinking becomes a fundamental skillset in our profession.
Rethinking facilitates scientific thinking when we value humility over pride, doubt over certainty, curiosity over confirmation, and discovery over validation. Humility allows us to be open to questioning our beliefs and fosters curiosity about potential enhancements to established frameworks and procedures. Embracing curiosity paves the way for meaningful discussions and collaborations, enabling us to continually test the validity of our long-held practices. Thankfully, platforms such as the upcoming Tipanan and the 48th PSTD National Convention in September 20-22, along with the 1st Talent Development Research Conference on July 27, provide occasions for these discussions. Additionally, the internet offers valuable resources through open-source, peer-reviewed research articles available on platforms like Google Scholar, the Directory of Open Access Journals (doaj.org), Elsevier (elsevier.com), and the Philippine EJournals (ejournals.ph), among others, providing access to validated and up-to-date research that can inform our practice.
Integrating research into industry practice may not be as straightforward as in academia, but a closer examination of talent and development practices reveals the various ways in which we can leverage research and scientific thinking in our work:
1. Evidence-based practices: Research serves as the foundation for effective learning and development programs. By embracing scientific findings, organizations can create targeted and customized learning experiences that align with the specific needs of their employees.
2. Identifying training needs: Research plays a vital role in identifying the training needs of individuals and organizations. By gathering data, organizations can pinpoint skill gaps, determine learning objectives, and align training initiatives with strategic goals. This data-driven approach ensures efficient resource allocation and effectively addresses the workforce’s specific needs.
3. Designing engaging and effective learning experiences: Research informs the design of engaging and effective learning practices by shedding light on best practices and innovative methodologies. It provides insights into different learning styles, instructional techniques, and technologies that enhance knowledge acquisition and retention. By leveraging research-backed strategies, organizations can create interactive and immersive learning environments that maximize participant engagement and knowledge transfer.
4. Continuous improvement and evaluation: By collecting and analyzing data throughout the learning journey, organizations can measure the effectiveness of their initiatives, identify areas for improvement, and make evidence-based adjustments. This iterative process ensures that programs evolve and remain relevant in a rapidly changing world.
Incorporating research into talent development initiatives is fundamental to driving positive change within organizations. The power of research lies in its ability to inform the design, delivery, and evaluation of learning experiences. To embark on this transformative journey, talent development practitioners must embrace the mindset of scientists, be courageous enough to think again.
Grant, Adam, 2021. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know. [New York, New York], Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Mariano, Rowell Vitor, 2022. Will it FIT? [Philippines] REX Printing Company, ISBN 978-621-8167-19-3
About the Writer
MARY DONNAVEL A. LIBRON-BULORON
She is currently People Dynamics, Inc.’s Manager for Learning and Development. In this role, she helps develop training modules and leadership assessment tools, among others. She manages several consulting and research projects for PDI’s clients.
She has also immersed herself in learning and development in both academic and industrial settings for the past 15 years. She continues to teach courses in college while continuing talent development practices in private and government organization settings.