Peer Support Transformation

Which Path is Better?

I have the opportunity to connect with very interesting people. One such person has just been commissioned to advance his organization’s national training programs. Through our recent conversations, two of his idea stood out: This is my paraphrase of his missional thinking regarding organizational culture training like peer support.

1. He is considering shifting from tick box certifications that expire to developing skill sets that last a lifetime.

2. With agency wide adoption of virtual meetings employee training he believes his agency can shift from being 100% instructor/classroom centric to self directed with the individual empowered to choose their own adventure.

Let’s explore these two foundational thoughts:

Skill Sets That Last a Lifetime:

Programs like peer support can go either way, down the path of certifications, counting hours, formal reporting or can become a valued skill set not just for a select few but for everyone. If you choose the everyone program then it will also need to be sustained with slow burn ongoing opportunities for engagement. If you choose the path of qualified, certified peer support recognized personnel these individuals will also need support and ongoing training.

Today if it was up to you to successfully launch a peer support program to significantly transform your organization’s culture, which path would you choose? Formal training or skill set?

Choose Your Own Path:

One thing that the past 2.5 years has given us is a global skill set to work remote, meet remote and train remote. No one can honestly argue that a ZOOM/TEAMS call is as rich as in-person face-to-face human interaction but the virtual meeting has opened Pandora’s Box of possibilities moving forward.

Switchback Internal Case Study:

A good example is our own new monthly Switchback Innovation Team Gathering. We currently have 64 professionals signed on from across three continents, who on any given month can “choose their own adventure” and join our ZOOM call. While on the call they experience a richness that does not come from familiarity or proximity but rather diversity and self determination. No executive or HR manager is requiring their participation, they are exercising their free will, human agency and choosing their own adventure. The engagement is impressive.

What would happen to a skill set peer support program if we offered enough variety and step by step menu options to everyone so that people could find their own adventure and as a result engage in the process as they determined? How fast could an organization be transformed?

If you were building a peer support program would you focus on training a select group that maintained certification or would you focus on culture transformation with its true north pointing towards continuously growing peer support skill sets?

Client Case Study:

Organizations approach Switchback in many different ways. Western Forest Timberlands followed the full immersion methodology and in safety stats alone went from 10.00 MIR (Medical Incident Reporting) to a sustained 00.4 MIR.

They approached Switchback training with a vision to empower “everyone” with skill sets rather than investing in, let’s say, middle managers or safety reps. The result in this case speaks for itself.

I welcome your ideas.

Regardless of the path, the future is very rich indeed.

Steven Falk

P.S. Don’t forget, People Can Change and The Power of Success is in TEAM

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