latest show news
- A guide to coaching for performance at January’s Learning Technologies Conference
- Learning for the YouTube generation
- show all news stories
Two years ago, at Training Zone’s conference, Learning Technologies track chair Denise Hudson Lawson memorably incited her audience to a howling frenzy. “I am L&D, hear me roar!” she told them.
And they did.
It was a wonderful, liberating moment, listening to a usually staid audience throw back their heads and utter a joint, inchoate cry. It provoked the sense that we should be shouting more about what we do, that we should be less bashful, more intent on being seen – and heard, too, because we are essential to the business.
But are we kidding ourselves?
More recently, following my opening talk at the 2012 LPI’s conference, a practitioner I have long known and respected approached me after I had delivered what I imagined was a rousing speech. My aim had been to tell people that the L&D profession is essential to organisational success, that learning is a crucial part of how modern organisations work.
He didn’t agree.
“Don,” he said. “It just isn’t true, is it? Most training departments aren’t involved in strategic discussions and anyway they don’t think strategically, do they?” He sipped his beer meditatively (we were in the bar at this point). “It’s nice of you to try to raise everyone’s morale, but it doesn’t help to paint a picture so wide of the mark.”
I couldn’t agree with him – not completely – but he was right in one important respect. Organisations do not generally know what we do.They have not heard L&D roar. But even if they did, there is a real riskthat what they heard would not matter to them. As I discuss in my article in this magazine, too many of our departments are simply not adapting to the rate of change of businesses fast enough.
They are, as I would put it, in the ‘Training Ghetto’, a strange, distant place that the rest of the business has no interest in visiting, and which speaks differently to everyone else.
We cannot continue like this. Business impact and effective learning depend on us building our proficiency and being able to adapt, fast, to the demands of the business today. As part of this, it’s incumbent on each of us to maintain and develop our skills and our understanding of the businesses we work in. We can do that in a range of ways – like reading this magazine, or attending the LSG 2013 Conference on June 18th – and there’s something else we can do, too.
Each of us may have areas in which we need to develop, but each of us also has something he or she can share to help others grow. That sense of community, of helping each other, is partly what Denise was hinting at when she got her audience to howl in unison.
It’s time for us to raise our game – together.
Donald H Taylor