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How to achieve a better ‘lifestyle’ for your organization

Change, such as moving from one place to another, is usually motivated by the desire to achieve a better lifestyle. However, change is often difficult to accept: it can be inspiring to some but overwhelming for others. To help your organization reach its goals, you need to articulate them clearly and design a learning path for your employees to help them embrace change.

My friends and family know me as someone who’s always on the move. Over the past decade, I’ve moved several times – between countries and across provinces and cities. Our main goal in moving is to achieve a better lifestyle – a better job, nicer house, better climate and so on.

My parents are my exact opposite. They despise change. The minutest variation in their lifestyle stresses them out. They’re not willing to accept a new gadget because they’re not open to learning new skills or technology. Over the years, I’ve learned that I need to help them articulate their goals clearly and design a learning path, so they can reach those goals and embrace change.

Organizations are no different. Change is often difficult to accept, and many employees prefer to limit their interaction with new technologies or processes. Take the example of data. When working with data, organizations sometimes just collect data for several years, without really turning it into something useful. Their database (or sometimes just piles of paper on someone’s desk) keeps growing bigger each day, while the data collected waits to be processed ‘someday’.

Often, that data sits there forever as other priorities take precedence. Consequently, when the need to consult data arises, inaccurate and redundant data is presented. This impacts the organization’s decision-making and efficiency. To make matters worse, new employees are trained in the same workflows, diminishing any chance of breaking old habits in the organization.

So, how can you move your organization to a better ‘lifestyle’?

First of all, it’s not impossible; secondly, it’s highly desirable.

But how do you do it?

You can always assess where and what kind of change is needed by going back to the drawing board. Rethink your organization’s workflows and processes; brainstorm about new and better ways of accomplishing tasks; and adopt ways to maximize efficiency and improve productivity. Remember, if you’re not prioritizing building your organization’s GIS capacity through learning and development, you might be losing out to your competition.

Here are three important facts from The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Learning and Development Outlook study:

  • Organizations with strong learning cultures exhibit better overall organizational performance.
  • In 2016–17, Canadian employers spent, on average, $889 per employee on learning and development, an increase of $89 per employee compared to 2014-15
  • The average number of hours of learning per employee per year has increased from 25 hours in 2010 to 32 hours in 2016–17

We can certainly help you explore your GIS learning goals this year. Take the example of introducing maps into your workflows. Ask your team, “how are we sharing data today? What if everyone in our organization could discover, use, create and share the most accurate data through maps anytime, anywhere and from any device? How much time would we save each day? How could maps increase our productivity?”

Once you have the answers, you can better encourage your team to learn about GIS. By looking at your organization from a new perspective, you’ll find solutions for improving your business processes that are not complicated after all. And, you’ll be able to design a learning path that’s doable.

In the case of ArcGIS, users aren’t limited by the technology they own. They’re often limited by the skills needed to use the platform’s full suite of capabilities. To overcome this challenge, you can decide your organization’s GIS goals for the next one, two or three years and create a suitable learning path. Here are a few potential goals and the corresponding learning solutions to achieve them.

GIS Goal: Share data to enable better decision-making across your organization.

Learning Goal: Learn how to publish data faster and easier.

Learning Solution:

GIS Goal: Go mobile to reduce manual processes.

Learning Goal: Learn to prepare data for field work.

Learning Solution:

GIS Goal: Learn more about your clients to serve them better.

Learning Goal: Discover patterns in your data to better identify needs with spatial analysis, data enrichment and visualization tools.

Learning Solution: Step 1 + Step 2

GIS Goal: Make your data reliable for effective decision-making.

Learning Goal: Learn to better manage data quality and integrity.

Learning Solution:

GIS Goal: Provide accurate operational views to prioritize resource deployment.

Learning Goal: Learn to configure an Operations Dashboard.

Learning Solution:

These are just a few examples. Based on your organization’s requirements and long-term objectives, you can create your own goals and share them with us so we can help you identify the most suitable learning solutions for your team. If you have questions, leave us a comment below or email us at

About the Author

Carole Arseneau is a Sales Representative at Esri Canada. She advises customers from all industries on how to use GIS technology to be more efficient in their daily workflows. Carole holds a GIS certificate from Florida State College in Jacksonville and a Bachelor degree in Kinesiology from Laval University in Québec City. Being by the water has always made her feel at home and has given her inspiration to keep a positive outlook in life.

Profile Photo of Carole Arseneau