I never think of the future; it comes soon enough.
I was reducing my pile of reading materials recently when I came across the quote above. I had to stop what I was doing, stunned by the fact that in one critical area, I was a step ahead of Albert Einstein. (No, it wasn’t quantum physics.)
Judging from his own words, Einstein may not have thought about the future. But as a business executive, I don’t have that luxury, and something tells me you don’t either.
I’m sure few of us can explain all the ramifications of E=MC2, but I’ve been in business long enough to know that an executive who doesn’t at least keep an eye on the big picture is headed for trouble. For executives providing strategic education, it’s all about the future: predicting it, preparing for it, rising to meet its challenges. We must be ready for any eventuality, and we must work to create situations we can control. That’s how we steadily advance our businesses and ourselves. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I was still thinking about these things as I worked through my reading pile, and it all hit home when I saw a study from Accenture Learning. Based on a questionnaire and a two-day discussion group with 23 chief learning officers, the study showed that many CLOs spend most of their resources on leadership development, followed by sales training, new product training and IT training. Those areas not only led the way in terms of current education, but the study lists those as the likely main needs CLOs will be filling over the next two years.
By now, my thoughts are going faster than the speed of light. What about three years from now? Four? Are those main sticking points for CLOs evergreen, or should we be working now to identify (and thus prepare for) a different eventuality?
I finally gave up reading, put aside the pile and lost myself in the future. Which brings us to now.
As you read this, we’re in the midst of a major study to get a clearer picture of what lies ahead. We’ve formed a special committee of the CLO Editorial Advisory Board to spearhead a research project to help identify the future issues that will be important to you and the competencies you’ll need to address those. That data will help us devise editorial plans that help support you on your strategic missions.
We’d love to have your voice join the chorus. The survey is now available for your input at www.clomedia.com/futuresurvey, and just a few minutes of your time today may make your role easier tomorrow. We’ll be sharing results through future issues of Chief Learning Officer and discussing them in even greater detail at the Fall 2004 CLO Symposium, www.cloevents.com.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” pioneering computer developer Alan Kay said in 1971. Chief learning officers are pioneers, forging new paths through the corporate jungles. Together, we should think about the tomorrow we want and blaze the trail to take us there.
Not thinking about the future? Not a smart move, Einstein.
Editor in Chief