Most of us recognize Murphy’s law. You know the one: If anything can go wrong, it will. Some with more technical interests might even know Moore’s law. It states that the power of computers doubles every 18 months, which is tribute to the pace of change and the proliferation of information in the knowledge economy.
But what about Metcalfe’s law? Metcalfe postulated that the power of a network increases with the square of the number of people in it. Basically, what this means is that knowledge circulates faster and more effectively in the context of community. This is good because a great deal of what we know is distributed by others. As the abundance of new information grows exponentially, where we all find real value is not through data but through the application of knowledge. When knowledge really counts, people count more than ever — what they know, how they come to know it and how they apply it in different situations.
I was quite naturally thinking about the power of community as I was returning in early December from the second Chief Learning Officer Academy Colloquium. I had just witnessed an amazing transfer of knowledge, experience, insight and energy between the Colloquium participants and the working CLOs who so generously agreed to serve on the faculty.
Because everyone at the Colloquium possessed a high level of commitment to and comprehension of the learning field, the education went both ways. As Colloquium keynote lecturer and 2004 CLO of the Year Frank J. Anderson Jr. said, “One of my favorite things about coming here is that I learn from you.”
That sentiment is expressed over and over whenever members of the Chief Learning Officer magazine community connect with one another, whether at a CLO Colloquium, Symposium or Breakfast Club; online at clomedia.com or on the pages of our magazine; through participation in an e-Seminar or Business Intelligence Board survey. Our community — our network, if you will — is one of the most powerful I have ever seen, and the level of sharing and support continues to grow.
As 2007 begins, I invite all of you to become active members of the Chief Learning Officer community and experience the positive effects of Norm’s law. It postulates that interacting with likeminded learning professionals from all around the globe brings not only shared and acquired knowledge but also other important rewards. It’s a remarkable opportunity to influence others in the world of enterprise education, influence the future of learning and build your own powerful professional network.
Of course, you can learn about learning on your own, but the word “about” is the critical one here. Most of our knowledge might best be described as knowledge about something.
Learning to be, on the other hand, requires more than just information. It requires know-how, and that’s best acquired from others who truly know how and practice it every day as learning leaders. If your goal is to be a learning leader, follow Norm’s law: Get involved in the Chief Learning Officer magazine community.
If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities it affords, get in touch with me. You can reach me at Norm@CLOmedia.com. Happy New Year.
Editor in Chief