Finally…A Seat at the Table…Don’t Blow It!

This short post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but there’s an important message…and an invitation. I’m seeing a lot of posts and articles promoting new learning technology and learning in the workflow. What a positive move that does my heart good to see this FINALLY happening. Will the results be what we expect? Significant risk can result if L&D is more “ready” to innovate than being at a state of “readiness” to innovate.  Don’t confuse the two. 

* * *

 Frances stepped into the boardroom and thought to herself, ‘Wow, the carpet really is deeper up here!’. She was responding to her first Quarterly Ops Review as the newly appointed CLO. Today was her first chance to boast on the results of her L&D team of 85 people in service to 9,000 souls on the corporate campus and 300 field technical support specialists scattered between the coasts. 

“Frances, welcome to the fray!,” said the COO in a warm greeting.

 “Thank you, sir! It’s good to be here!”

 The meeting convened and the other “C” levels in the room gave their reports on quarterly results and impact to the bottom-line. Then it was her turn to boast. The big reveal…at last…and her enthusiasm and confidence in her team’s efforts were strong. 

“We delivered 215 hours of scheduled and optional learning programs split between instructor-led classroom sessions (34%) and self-paced online learning sessions (66%). Both delivery methods show a combined increase of participation of 19% for this quarter.”

The COO sat back and looked at her thoughtfully. “Very good, nice to see an increase. How does that translate to employee engagement?” 

Frances was ready with the data. “We see the lion’s share of the increase in the online learning venue, and that is driven by some new innovations to add gaming and badging to the new courses we’ve added. The addition of a leader-board is stimulating friendly competition among the participants and that translates to engagement. The team is very excited about our contribution to the business.” 

Heads around the table were nodding with positive reactions. Her presentation was going well…so far. 

The COO turned to the other “C” levels around the table. “This sounds promising. What do the rest of you hear from your ‘participants’ about this new training?” 

Several positive comments came forth, and several positive head nods from the rest confirmed L&D was on target.

“Good!” said the COO. He turned back to Frances and asked, “You’ve done an admirable job of showing us how busy you team has been…and how you’ve increased training activity and engagement, but what do all your training successes bring to the bottom-line?”

 Frances paused…and started to blow spit bubbles… 

* * *

 Moral of this story (no matter how ridiculous it is…)

 – Don’t blow spit bubbles!  Be in a position to brag based on tangible evidence of business value created, maintained, protected, and/or grown at Point-of-Work where evidence of impact manifests. If L&D cannot show impact at the bottom-line, L&D remains exposed as a cost center…and the bottom-line contribution can only be seen as an expense. Don’t be an expense when the budget belt gets pulled in a couple notches.

The alternative story?

 It starts with a Different Conversation; and not just a different conversation when up to your ankles in the deep carpet upstairs. This is a conversation that tramples the myth that Training Drives Performance and refocuses on sustained workforce productivity at Point-of-Work in a Dynamic Learning Performance Ecosystem. 

What is this conversation?  Join me at Learning Solutions 2019 in Orlando on March 27th at 4:00PM ET in Session #809 – “Performance Support: Enabling Productivity Acceleration at Point-of-Work” where I’ll share an actual conversation and the methodology behind it that changed the game…the strategy…the tactics…the technology…and the analytics…all stemming from an innocent training request.

Disruptive? It must be so…

Hope to see you there!

If you or your team cannot make it, we should chat about a private virtual version.

Take good care!


Gary G. Wise
Workforce Performance Advocate, Coach, Speaker 
(317) 437-2555
Web: Living In Learning