It’s interesting, but not surprising, how the modern business world has adopted the principles of athletics into everyday operations. Both worlds are about peak performance, individual and team achievement, strategy and endurance.
For enterprises in quickly shifting marketplaces, every day is the big game. So like the coach, a chief learning officer engages learners, setting a course of action that aligns the organization’s strategies with the well-developed skills of all players.
Like the coach, learning executives need a game plan.
I recently read a Thomson NETg white paper that diagrammed steps and actions to ensure success of and support for learning. If you’re refining or creating a game plan for improvement in your enterprise, you need to consider all angles:
- What does our business strategy demand we learn? Determine what you must do, or do differently, and set a strategy to support the strategy.
- Are learning and improvement hard-wired into our business processes? The job is the best training ground, but the learning must be kept on point.
- Who are an organization’s most important learners, and are they motivated to learn and teach? Much of enterprise learning is aimed at leadership and managers, but the more engaged workers are, the better.
- Are we using technology effectively in support of learning and change? The IT team can be your most powerful partners, but learning is about people, and technology is just a means to that end.
- How do we measure the business impact of enterprise learning? Measuring effectiveness of efforts can be an important tool, but measurement programs must be adaptable.
- How much should we be investing in enterprise learning and where? It can be difficult to justify the costs of learning and determine areas for investment, especially when the returns may be intangible.
- How receptive are people to new information, and how good is the bandwidth for communications? To serve learners, you have to reach them and guarantee their involvement. Creating the culture for growth is crucial.
Those questions, of course, seem easy and obvious on paper. In practice and in principle, the complexity grows. Managing that complexity and making it work for the organization is the CLO’s true mission. NETg’s report also offers three principles for action to help guide your efforts:
- Enterprise learning isn’t just a long-term issue. Yes, you’re on a journey of sustainability, but short-term actions with immediate payoff also can motivate ongoing education.
- Enterprise learning is more than training, development and education. It’s about the culture of change, performance, awareness, information and insight. In short, it’s a management issue and a leadership responsibility.
- Enterprise learning isn’t a soft issue. Education is a business strategy and requires identifying targets, sources and methods. A strong foundation supports ongoing business performance.
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself many of these questions, and hopefully you’re continuing to ask them. No matter what business function a specific learning agenda supports, determining a well-rounded game plan for the delivery, management and measurement is the key to victory. (You can read the full report in the White Papers section of the CLOmedia.com Web site, at www.clomedia.com/whitepapers.)
It’s not easy being a coach, performing in high-pressure situations with every move scrutinized from all angles. As the corporate coach, the CLO continually lives under the same microscope. No doubt that means great deals of pressure, but as the Boston Red Sox could tell you, the more difficult the journey, the sweeter the victory.
Is your team ready for the next big game?
Editor in Chief