Closing keynote and closing the training department

The February issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine, out today, features a column I wrote that parallels my opening message in our final session at Learning Technologies.

An excerpt:
As networks continue to subvert hierarchy, successful organizations will embrace respect for the individual, flexibility and adaptation, openness and transparency, sharing and collaboration, honesty and authenticity, and immediacy. Training is obsolete because it deals with a past that won’t be repeated. Learning will be redefined as problem-solving, achieving fit with one’s environment and having the connections to deal with novel situations. Impending doom unfreezes organizational structure to make room for reorganizing, rearranging and replacing the status quo. Survivors will develop and present agendas for change while things are in flux. Here’s the pitch I’d offer the most senior person I could get a hearing with:

“Next week, we will close the training department. We are shifting our focus from training to performance. Any remaining training staff will become mentors, coaches and facilitators who work on improving core business processes, strengthening relationships with customers and cutting costs."

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Comment by Alan Bellinger on February 1, 2009 at 19:01
Thought leadership indeed. I'm reminded of Charles Jennings famous quote - "As CLO I don't train people - I build capability".

But there's a danger that, in this recession, companies could become too introverted. If they focus too much on efficiencies and not enough on productivity, they're on a slippery slope! It'll be very difficult for them to recover, especially if their competitors have been focusing their strategies on productivity rather than efficiency.

By all means, embed learning into work - but keep it focused on the recession end-game - leaner and meaner!

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