Friday, 29 February 2008

CIPD L&D Survey - Managing expectations 10 years on

In a recent People Management on-line article - Daniel Wain (who will be speaking at HRD in April) previews some of the finding from the CIPD tenth annual Learning & Development survey.

The article reveals that the results of 1999 survey reads 'like a sneak preview of the latest survey results'.

In 1999:

  • eighty-one per cent of respondents were reporting training activities explicitly designed to support strategic business objectives
  • knowledge of business objectives ranked almost as high as knowledge of people management, at 95.4 and 97.8 per cent respectively
  • skills of organisational development, consultancy and knowledge of business objectives were seen as important for the training manager

While I agree that as a profession we do need to reflect on whether our pace of 'evolution' is sufficient ..... I also feel that the statement: “One senses little real movement over the past decade – worrying given the extraordinary developments that have happened in the wider business and economic world.” misses a key point.

L&D (in the context of HR) is primarily focused on people-management and leadership effectivness.

As expertly highlight by Gary Hamel in his current book - The Future of Management; it is actually the model of management that has had 'little real movement'. This is not just over the past decade, but the last century !

So we do need to keep the Leadership Pipeline flowing ...while (in my view) playing our part in management innovation. For most organizations I suspect that this will continue to be reflected overall as evolution rather than revolution !

PS: I love the 'sound-bite' from Jimmy Naudi, Head of L&D at Christian Aid: "We have to facilitate more, helping people to help themselves, acting as 'a guide on the side' rather than 'a sage on a stage' .."

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Interesting Links (February 2008)

Here is an interesting article from the Fast Company on how better training, RSS readers and/or Instant Messaging are being used to turn the tide for those drowning in email.

"Remember when a new email in your inbox was as exciting as the postman dropping off a card from grandma with a $5 bill in it? Those days are over. Now email is a crushing tsunami. The average corporate email account receives 18 MB of mail and attachments each business day, according to the analyst firm Radicati Group; the figure is projected to grow to 28 MB a day by 2011. No wonder there's a fledgling movement afoot to periodically declare "email bankruptcy"--delete all your saved emails and start over. Never fear; less extreme solutions are being implemented by corporations fed up with wasted resources. The results are surprisingly good."


Can Internal Coaches Be As Effective as Outsiders ?

More insights from GE (via Harvard) - this time relating to their use of internal HR colleagues as executive coaches (for their high potential leaders). The article by Marshall Goldsmith is a quick, insightful read.


Focusing on sharing Scientific information - the following link is an interesting concept:


SciVee is an online science community where scientists can make their research known to their fellow peers as well as the general public. Scientists can create "pubcasts" which are online presentations that allow a scientist to combine their publication with media such as video, audio, images, and text to allow visitors to quickly grasp the key concepts of their publications, as well as an increased chance for citation. Scientists can also form communities around their research/projects/interests and can start discussions or plan events with

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Strategic Learning & Development - 2008 Conference, Amsterdam 21-22 Feb. (2)

Here are a few memorable quotes from this event.

"The difference between learning and not learning is emotion" Nick Shackleton-Jones (BBC)

"Coaching = helping people find their own answers" Karen Daleboudt (ABN AMRO)

"People have to learn to make time to learn" Peter Caeldries (Fujitsu Siemens)

"Be your own chief learning officer" Peter Caeldries (Fujitsu Siemens)

"Engage, Educate, Encourage, and Embed" Kathy Morris (Hays)

also see my earlier post on this conference

Monday, 25 February 2008

"Training", "Learning & Development", "Leadership & Talent" ......or ????

At the recent Strategic Learning & Development Conference I found myself reflecting on the various titles we use to describe our profession.

While it is widely recognised that most workplace learning occurs outside of formal training - and hence to maximize our impact we need to think broader than 'Training' ... I'm struck by the lack of precision in the phrase 'Learning & Development' does 'Development' differ from 'Learning' ?

It could be argued that we 'develop' the skills, knowledge, & behaviours of others - while learning is undertaken by the individual. Equally, the phrase 'personal development' is widely used.

No doubt, this is also a reason that other terms such as 'Leadership & Talent' are also used

My suggestion is to consider 'Performance & Development'

In my view, this would capture the essence of the outcomes we seek to deliver, namely:

  • Performance Improvement (learning solutions to address current needs - based on understanding the skill gaps for delivering current business goals)
  • Development of Talent (learning solutions to position key individuals to be skilled to meet predicted future business needs, and to enhance the adaptive capabilities of the organization)

Maybe one day we will be refered to as P&D Professionals ?!

NOTE: This topic is something that has it's foundations in an earlier post relating to the Ulrich model of HR [interestingly, this has proved to be the most read post on this blog to-date this year]

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Strategic Learning & Development - 2008 Conference, Amsterdam 21-22 Feb. (1)

Having just returned from the above conference - speaking on 'The Role of the Line Manager in Facilitating Workplace Learning' - I'm encouraged and inspired by the various conversations and presentations from fellow L&D professionals.

Firstly - a big thank you to all those with whom I had the pleasure to swap ideas and share stories ! (and share the odd beer or glass of wine).

Here are a few initial reflections:

  • There are significant similiarities in the challenges we face in L&D across all sectors & countries !
  • Equally, the business acumen of L&D professionals is impressive ... not only is it a 'given' that L&D services need to be fully aligned with the business strategy of the organization, but there is also clear expertise of applying people-orientated change-management strategies appropriate to the contextual factors of the company.
  • Current 'Hot topics' include: Outsourcing of L&D services, and collaborative learning via Web 2.0 technologies and understanding the impact of learning.

Successful L&D strategies tend to have the following common features:

  • Active sponsorship from the senior leadership of the organisation - (to drive organizational change).
  • Understanding of the need to connect with the emotions of the learners - (since people are choosing to 'reference' vs. retain knowledge as the shelf-life of knowledge dramatically decreases)
  • Deployment of web-based L&D technologies - (where global solutions are required)
  • Recognise that you can only outsource the systems that facilitate learning - (not learning itself !)

I'll be returning to the insights from this conference in the coming days/weeks - meanwhile I continue to reflect on the question posed by Nick Shackleton-Jones of the BBC:

"What would a perfect learning environment look like ?"

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Learning from Visualization of the Competition

I expect that 'The Future of Management' by Gary Hamel will be a text that I will continue to refer to on several occasions over the next few months.

I was particularly interested to read how:

In one company, a few enterprising activists built a "hospital" in the corporate training center. In each of ten or so beds, they placed an effigy of a once healthy competitor who was currently struggling for survival. From the end of each gurney hung a "medical" chart outlining the patient's declining financial health and the strategic mis-steps that had landed it in the ICU.

Apparently more than 3000 employees toured the ward, including the company's board of directors ...helping them start a 'conversation' to spur organizational change.

While the identity of the company is not clear, they should be acknowledged for this creative approach to L&D !

Monday, 11 February 2008

The Goal of Learning ?!

Jay Cross, writing in CLO Magazine writes:

"adapting to one’s surroundings is still the goal of learning"

or to add more context:

"Traditional learning is bursting at the seams because there is always more to learn and unlearn. The amount of knowledge in the world doubles every three years. New discoveries invalidate former truths.

What is learning when knowledge is liquid and any curriculum dies in infancy? We used to learn in order to get along in the environments we take part in. Familiarity with how things worked enabled us to adapt, and adapting to one’s surroundings is still the goal of learning"

thought-provoking stuff (as usual !)

Sunday, 10 February 2008

The End of Decision-Making - The Start of Judgment ?

Anyone involved with Leadership & Management training will probably view 'Decision-making' as a key cabability/competency to be developed.

Consequently, I'd like to suggest that the latest scholarship from Noel Tichy & Warren Bennis should be essential reading for L&D Consultants (and our HR colleagues).

Judgement - How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls provides a wealth of ideas & information.

"With good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters"

So how do they define Judgment ?

"It is a contextually informed decision-making process encompassing three domains: people, strategy and crisis. Within each domain, leadership judgments follow a three-phased process: preparation, the call, and execution. Good leadership judgment is supported by contextual knowledge of one's self, social network, organisation and stakeholders."

This succinctly captures the rich framework provided by the book.

The framework is brought to life by reference to stories from the authors work with world-class leaders and organization. As to be expected from Tichy, GE provides many of these insights.

A bonus is provided in the form of a 'Handbook for Leadership Judgment' (co-written by Chris DeRose & Noel Tichy). This provides a comprehensive diagnostic & self-help guide for leaders willing to take the next step in their personal learning of this subject.

If working through this self-directed learning proves too much of a challenge for the reader - I hope readers don't miss the table on page 292 that compares 'Decision-Making' (a single-moment, analytic, top down process) with 'Judgment' (a dynamic unfolding process, balancing rational & emotional influences, where execution influences how judgments are reshaped).

... and maybe in a few years time the lasting legacy of this work will be the replacing of 'Decision-Making' with 'Judgment' in lists of Leadership Capabilities !

[NB: to see further reviews of this book, you may find it helpful go to the US Amazon site]

Monday, 4 February 2008

Implementation 2.0

Here is a great article from Jay Cross, writing in Learning Circuits on the the human side of implementing and sustaining collaborative networks.

In parallel, there are currently various articles being published by Gary Hamel in support of his latest book 'The Future of Management'.

Together, I'd suggest they provide solid foundations of guidance for L&D Professionals seeking to impact the application of Enterprise 2.0 in their organisations.

There is currently a significant gap between the early adopters of Web 2.0 collaboration technologies in the workplace - and the majority of the workforce. The fact that the typical worker is drowing under a sea of email communications, but still not grabbing RSS, IM, Wikis, TAGs etc from the hands of IT, illustrates how difficult it is to effect widespread change management.
[Those less familiar with these challenges may want to read the excellent 'Change or Die' article from The Fast Company].

I'd suggest that through our expert understanding of the levers of change-management, HR/L&D/OD professionals have a real opportunity to accelerate the bridging of this gap in their organisations ...... but only if we as a profession buy into, and share the vision of Enterprise 2.0 held by the early adopters !

Equally, we need to revisit the traditional mix of management training and development championed by HR/L&D/OD.

Hamel makes the case that companies need to innovate management practices to better cope with and thrive in a business landscape market by fundamental technology change and globalization. Hence, traditional management models will not enable businesses to adequately respond to future competitive forces.

A key point that Hamel makes is the need for practical 'experimentation' to find new, innovative management models. Management training on 'Collaboration' and 'Innovation' should probably be high up on the agenda to support this ?!

Thoughts ?