Chief Learning Officer - May 2019

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May 2019 |


Cameron Hedrick #MeToo Results in Fewer Mentors - Hyundai’s Global Competition - Modernizing Health Care’s L&D Leadership Traits That Transcend Gender - Boosting Retention With Experiential Learning


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More Than Words


e have a strange way of talking about people in the workplace. I don’t mean what we say about them or how, no matter the situation, someone somewhere is always talking about another person behind their back. To gossip is to be human, after all. What I mean in this case are the actual words we use to describe people. Here’s an example. At work, they’re often not individual people with their own experiences and motivations, tragedies and triumphs. They are human resources, as if they’ve been recently extracted from the ground and are ready to be turned into shiny new products. Their individual skills, abilities, energy and efforts are the collective human capital that organizations invest in projects and priorities. If that investment isn’t delivering a return, it gets shut down. You don’t want to throw good money after bad, after all.

Learning is the path to both organizational success and individual growth.

nature of the economy, the purpose of education is often boiled down to a pathway to a lucrative career and a pipeline to a good paying job. At work, learning is often a series of courses and content with objectives carefully aligned to business priorities. Learning departments collect data and analyze it to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in carrying out a coordinated strategy. CLOs quantify a return on investment for learning in percentages and hard numbers. Don’t get me wrong. Alignment to business is essential. Efficient use of learning dollars is critical. Collecting and sifting through data for signs of success and areas for improvement is core to the job of chief learning officer. Keep doing all of that. I’d like you to continue to have a job. But what sometimes gets lost in the process is what is human. Companies lose sight of the personal effect of the work CLOs do and the language we use reinforces the problem. Learning is an investment in the company. It is an investment in society. It is also an investment in people — and not in the general sense. It’s an investment in specific individuals, each with their own hopes and fears, beliefs and tendencies. Learning is a way for them to get and keep a job. It’s a way to make a living. But it’s also a way to create purpose and meaning. It builds confidence and resilience and promotes innovation and creativity. Learning is a source of growth. And best of all, learning is an investment that continues to deliver a return over time in ways that are often difficult to see on a balance sheet. The future demands we pay just as much attention to the individuals as we do the health of the organization. It demands that learning organizations invest not just in their skills but also their potential. There are few investments in business that last. Products come and go. Skills become obsolete. We invest in people so that when the time comes they are ready for the next challenge. And that means the organization is ready for it, too. CLO

We’ve even invented odd, impersonal business terms to refer to living and breathing people. They get called things like individual contributors and direct reports. When we actually do look at them as individuals, we assess whether or not a particular person is a flight risk. Well, maybe they’re thinking about taking off from your company because they somehow got the idea that their company has them caged. Where do you think that came from? Increasing automation is making the problem worse. McKinsey Global Institute estimated 375 million jobs will go poof by 2030. A recent Oxford study went further, estimating that nearly half of jobs will vanish in the next 50 years. Some of those jobs will be replaced by new kinds of work but it’s entirely possible that many won’t. That leaves a good number of today’s individual contributors on the outside looking in, hoping someday to once again be someone’s direct report. This sterile way of talking about people carries through to how we talk about education. At home and at school, we focus on standardized Mike Prokopeak test scores and parse the finer points of course grades Editor in Chief and report cards. Given the increasingly competitive 4 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


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Bob Mosher, Senior Par tner and Chief Learning Evangelist, APPLY Synergies Rebecca Ray, Executive Vice President, The Conference Board Allison Rossett, ( Ret.) Professor of Educational Technology, San Diego State Universit y Diana Thomas, CEO and Founder, Winning Results David Vance, Executive Director, Center for Talent Repor ting Kevin D. Wilde, Executive Leadership Fellow, Carlson School of Management, Universit y of Minnesota James P. Woolsey, President, Defense Aquisition Universit y Chief Learning Officer (ISSN 1935-8148) is published monthly, except bi-monthly in January/February and July/August by MediaTec Publishing Inc., 150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 550, Chicago IL 60601. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Chief Learning Officer, P.O. Box 8712 Lowell, MA 01853. Subscriptions are free to qualified professionals within the US and Canada. Digital free subscriptions are available worldwide. Nonqualified paid subscriptions are available at the subscription price of $199 for 10 issues. All countries outside the US and Canada must be prepaid in US funds with an additional $33 postage surcharge. Single price copy is $29.99. Chief Learning Officer and are the trademarks of MediaTec Publishing Inc. Copyright © 2019, MediaTec Publishing Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of material published in Chief Learning Officer is forbidden without permission. Printed by: Quad/Graphics, Sussex, WI

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2019 10 Your Career ISTE’s Joseph South shares his career journey; Detroit’s Iris Ware rethinks the role of CLO; and people share what they’re reading these days.

30 Profile Learning to Play by Ear

Sarah Fister Gale How former musician Cameron Hedrick became Citi’s new future-focused CLO.

48 Case Study A Winning Strategy

Sarah Fister Gale Hyundai is using a sales competition to capture and share best practices with dealerships across the globe.

50 Business Intelligence Social Learning: An Ongoing Experiment

Ashley St. John Social learning buy-in may require rethinking what is being measured to assess impact.


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M ay 2019


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Fewer Mentors, Bigger Problems

Ave Rio An unintentional outcome of the #MeToo movement is a greater hesitancy among men to mentor women.


Dive In: Experiential Learning John Gillis Jr. When it comes to retention, the results of experiential learning speak for themselves.

Bob Mosher The Selling and Marketing of L&D


Ken Blanchard Effective Leadership Is Transformational


Learning: 40 Healthy Modernizing Health Care’s L&D

Nicole Bunselmeyer The push to digital learning has come slowly in health care, but one organization is shifting its L&D model.


Michael E. Echols Learning Mission Launch

Lee Maxey The Economic Virtue of Teaching Diversity


Leadership Traits That Transcend Gender

David Blake The Workplace Self-Training Paradigm


Rick Koonce and Carol Valone Mitchell Successful women leaders share a set of traits that all leaders, regardless of gender, should strive for.

4 Editor’s Letter

More Than Words

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Career Advice from


Joseph South, chief learning officer for the International Society for Technology in Education, shares his career journey and what he has learned along the way.

give someone the right tools if they don’t have the right infrastructure and the right mindset to embrace new approaches to learning. Tell us about working for the U.S. Department of Education.

How did you start your career in learning? I entered the field of instructional design by designing one of the first online courses on the internet. I was working at a nonprofit foundation and the director asked if anyone was interested in designing a course for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That was a pivotal moment for me because I got to create a learning experience in a new medium — and that really hooked me. The thrill of innovating in a way that scales the impact has never left me from that moment. After that, I worked at the Center for Instructional Design at Brigham Young University. And I also developed adaptive language learning solutions for both K12 and adults. That was another moment where I had the excitement of innovation, but I also learned that it’s not enough to

K12 Inc. 2011 – 2013: Senior director of higher education

2011 2010

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U.S. Department of Education 2013 – 2015: Deputy director of the Office of Educational Technology 2013

I got a call from a friend who was working for Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, asking if I could put together an educational technology innovation conference in six weeks. I must have made an impression because soon thereafter I was invited to join the Obama administration. I worked for the secretary in the Office of Educational Technology in the U.S. Department of Education for three years. That was an exciting time. We worked closely with the White House to develop leadership capacity of district superintendents to lead technology and enable transformation. The best “pinch myself” moment I had was in the East Room of the White House watching the president of the United States lead hundreds of superintendents in the digital signing of a ready pledge that we had created. What attracted you to L&D? Fundamentally, I love to work with people. I’m obsessed with helping every person reach their personal potential. I’m constantly surprised that there are man-

U.S. Department of Education 2016 – 2017: Director of the Office of Educational Technology 2016

IDEO 2017 – 2018: Design resident


ISTE 2017 – present: Chief learning officer

2018 2019

agers who don’t focus on that goal, who are more focused on sales or marketing or some external metric. I can’t think of anything you can do to reach those other goals better or to make your job easier than to maximize the potential of the people around you. That vision drives me every single day. I’m also obsessed with impact. By maximizing the potential of the people, you will maximize the potential of the impact of the organization. I get up in the morning to change the world and I feel like no one person is going to be able to do that. It’s only our collective impact, and that’s why human potential matters so much. What lessons helped you get to where you are now? I’d say there’s no single career path or set of experiences that are the right ones to get you to where you need to be. Early in my life I thought I needed to do these five things and then I’d be done and set for life. But it’s much more important that you take advantage of every opportunity that comes and develop every skill you can. We can’t think of those opportunities as distractions because they are what differentiates you. In my career, I had opportunities come up to work with independent filmmakers, which turned out to be relevant in my professional life when I was asked to create 40-minute, highly interactive, dramatic films as part of learning experiences we were designing. Along the way I also learned a little bit of coding. I worked with a lot of developers, and I was able to speak their language because I’d had that experience. Because I was willing to take on these side learning experiences that weren’t on my main path, they’ve enriched and enabled the path I’ve taken. What’s your most important career advice? Keep yourself open to new possibilities. I’ve learned to think of my career and my work as a prototype. All of us can try something new, all of us can take risks, and if it doesn’t work out that’s OK. The world is abundant, and the next thing will come along. Most things work out better than you think, especially if you’re focused on the right outcomes. And you’re going to learn so much from the things that didn’t work out. We spend too much of our time trying to choose the exact right thing to do and not enough time prototyping several things that could work and learning from them. Recasting my career in that way, and my job, has helped me become experimental at the work I do and opened up new avenues that have made my work more interesting, exciting and impactful. CLO Know someone with an incredible career journey? Chief Learning Officer wants to hear from you. Send your nomination to Ashley St. John at



estions. -fire qu id p a r r wers ou uth ans o S h p e Jos

The most important part of learning is: Empowering the learner. They should be in the driver’s seat and we should be their GPS.

The most overrated trend in L&D is: Immersive technology. Yes, there are places where it’s exactly the right solution, but there are many more when it’s just an expensive distraction.

The most underrated trend in L&D is: Curation. Most of the time, the right stuff is out there already and it needs to be discovered, targeted and tailored to the learning need.

Learning is essential to an organization because: Our work isn’t static and neither are we. When everything is changing all the time around you, learning is the only way you can thrive in that environment.

The biggest industry misconception is: That it’s fundamentally about compliance and that it’s a necessary evil. It’s really up to us to prove otherwise.

I got into the L&D space because: I believe that we can be so much more than we are. And most of us just don’t know where to start. I want to be a person who can help others find their path.

Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •



What Are You Reading? Community By Peter Block This book examines what makes communities successful. It’s written from the perspective of civic responsibility, but its core messages apply to companies. As a learning designer and company culture consultant, one of the biggest opportunities I see within my client organizations is to find new and unique ways to foster belonging and collaboration, which is why I sought out Block’s work. My biggest takeaway from his writings is this: Communities that thrive are ones that don’t look for people’s deficiencies but their gifts. In communal transformation, valuing what we do have versus what we don’t leads to more opportunities for future change. — Alida Miranda-Wolff, co-founder and CEO, Ethos

Dare to Lead By Brené Brown To be the best leader possible, you need to understand where your own personal values are rooted before you can effectively coach and lead teams. In this book, Brown provides the coaching and teaching tools, as well as personal aides, to help readers uncover their strengths and motivators to become better and more effective leaders. She’s also a researcher, so all her teachings are grounded in data. — Terri Herrmann, vice president of marketing, Montage

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing By Daniel H. Pink I think many of us grew up hearing “timing is everything.” This resonates with me still today, which is why I was interested in diving into this book. Pink offers a fascinating take on how critical it is to pay attention to timing and schedules. As a leader at Fierce Conversations, I am very interested in “how” and “when” conversations take place and how these two factors really do make a difference in outcomes. I’m paying more attention now.

The Culture Code By Daniel Coyle Culture is not something you are — it’s something you do. “The Culture Code” puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together. Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations — including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO and the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs — and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culturebuilding process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind.

— Stacey Engle, president, Fierce Conversations Chief Learning Officer wants to hear from you: What’s at the top of your reading list? Send your submissions to Ashley St. John at

12 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

— Pushparaj Susairaj, training consultant, Afilias Corp.

Top of Mind Learning Without Boundaries: Rethinking the Role of CLO By Iris Ware Iris Ware, chief learning officer for the city of Detroit, says it is time to rethink the boundaries of the CLO role.


he role of the chief learning officer is changing. Since its noted inception in the 1990s, the role of the CLO has focused on leading and formulating the learning strategy, learning management, and employee training and development within an organization. As the highest-ranking corporate officer responsible for learning management, the primary focus of our work is directed toward internal employee training and development. Our boundaries have centered on driving change and improving organizational performance within the confines of the organization. As we approach more than 30 years of service, maybe it’s time to rethink our role. There are three key shifts to consider. First, a shift from an employee mindset to a learner mindset. This shift is related to how we view people. The terms employee, human resource and human capital are all terms that identify the value of people based on the work that they perform. These terms anchor people in current skills and daily performance. Learner, by definition, is a state of ongoing change, growth and limitless capability. Shifting to a learner mindset would help reposition people, our organizations and the work that we do. Redefining people as learners broadens expectations, point-sets the organization for change and innovation, and redefines the employment relationship. In the same manner that the definition of learning and its scope has evolved and continues to evolve, so should the role of the chief learning officer. The second shift is a shift from designing for learning outcomes to designing for learning impact. This shift is related to our value. Our interventions and solutions should result in an impact,

not just a session outcome. The terminal learning objectives that are traditionally included in every training session state the expected learning outcomes. They do not address, indicate or even propose the expected or anticipated learning impact for the learner or organization. Our inability to demonstrate organizational impact has been an ongoing issue. It results in a devaluation of learning and development’s value proposition. Learning impact occurs and may be evaluated on three levels: micro-impact, or the impact on the learner; macro-impact, or the impact on the organization; and mega-impact, the societal impact. Facilitating change through all three levels of impact will help to improve organizational outcomes and validate our seat at the C-suite table. Finally, as we look to the future and continue to Iris Ware embrace change, maybe we City of Detroit should rethink our boundaries. We should consider expanding learning, development and growth experiences beyond our organizational walls into other organizations to intentionally include mega-impact options. Instead of focusing on employee training and development as a singular function of the CLO role, maybe it’s time to rethink, reconsider and redirect our focus to learning and learning impact on a larger scale. So many things have changed over the past 30 years, and so should we. CLO Chief Learning Officer wants to hear from you: What are you thinking about? Send your thoughts to Ashley St. John at

What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? The best and worst advice that I’ve received are two sides of the same coin. The best advice was, “Give it a try.” The worst advice: “Don’t even try, because it’s never been done (here).” Giving it a try and attempting to do something that’s never been done is the cornerstone of innovation and history-making change. As you explore the possibilities of your career and life, just remember that you can’t have outstanding performance, change or innovation if you’re trying to fit in. Give it a try!

According to

Iris Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •



Learning Mission Launch

Challenges for learning are among the greatest in the executive suite • BY MICHAEL E. ECHOLS


Michael E. Echols is principal and founder of Human Capital LLC and author of “Your Future Is Calling.” He can be reached at

here is an immense array of challenges facing corporate leaders today. Learning is certainly one of them. Two fundamental drivers are creating change at an accelerating rate and, in turn, establishing an ever-more uncertain future requiring new skills. Learning is at the forefront. The first driver is the shift from physical and local to digital and global. Coding has become a buzzword in skills development discussions. Coding is where the “rubber meets the road” in the stampede to digital and global. Programmers are the construction workers of the rapidly expanding digital assets taking place all over the world. We need many more builders. But under the coding frenzy are shifts in all manner of traditional corporate functions. Marketing is one example. For decades, the five Ps of marketing were the mainstay of the profession. Product, price, promotion, place and people formed the core of the skill set. But massive disruption is taking place in this tried-andtrue equation. Digital marketing is all the rage, with Facebook and Google taking center stage. Though digital marketing is one of those catchy phrases that fits so nicely in a tweet, critical examination reveals the huge shift in the skills needed to deploy a winning digital marketing strategy.

In parallel with store closings, the places for promotion are withering at a comparable rate. Print publications are struggling to remain viable. It was in these publications where product was promoted with ads of colorful art and sales text. Expertise in ad creative and copy is no longer a skill in high demand. In its place, exploding demand for video production, search keyword expertise and lookalike campaign know-how has created huge demand for skills nonexistent as recently as a decade ago. The need for the newest skills of the digital economy has erupted while the supply has responded at the deliberative pace of a university faculty meeting. And the outlook is less than encouraging. But the rapid shift in skills required to prosper — indeed, to merely survive — in this headlong rush into the global digital world of today and tomorrow is not the only challenge. It is the tomorrow that makes the learning function so very challenging, even as the task of filling today’s open positions strains the capacities of both recruiters and developers. Because learning is an investment, the tomorrow is about forecasting the skills that will be needed next year, five years from now and even in a decade. One reason for this time horizon is the fact that learning is a long-cycle activity. The completion of a bachelor’s degree now takes five or six years to say nothing of the additional five years of experience (where the Labor Department estimates 70 percent of know-how is acquired) demanded in most job postings. That adds up to a decade required for the development of fully qualified, high-performance individuals. Making learning investments today is much like sending a space mission to Mars. The launch is not aimed at where Mars is today but must be targeted at the place where Mars will be when the space payload actually gets there. In the absence of such a calculation, the mission is likely to fail miserably. So it is with The product on display for inspection at the neigh- learning. The learning activity today must aim at the borhood retail location is literally disappearing as Sears, way the digital global economy will be functioning Younkers, J. Crew, Payless ShoeSource, Macy’s, J.C. five to 10 years from now. Penney, Kmart, Gap and many more closed physical If skills shifts in marketing from the five Ps to digital storefronts in recent years. More than 5,000 locations seem daunting, the gaze into the future of learning is were shuttered in 2017 alone, and in the early months mind numbing. This is why the challenge is among the of 2019 another 2,100 are disappearing with the an- greatest in the corporate executive suite. Yet, as human nounced closing of the remaining Payless locations. The capital investors, learning executives have no choice but places of the past are vanishing at a feverish pace as the to defend their best guesses even as risk-avoidance indigital behemoth Amazon gobbles up market share. stincts tug in the direction of “wait and see.” CLO

The learning activity today must aim at the way the digital global economy will be functioning five to 10 years from now.

14 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •



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The Selling and Marketing of L&D In most cases, the product sells itself • BY BOB MOSHER


Bob Mosher is a senior partner and chief learning evangelist for APPLY Synergies, a strategic consulting firm. He can be reached at

recently visited a colleague who is a senior learning leader for a Fortune 100 company. He is a visionary leader, a remarkable student of our trade and as technically competent as they come. He has a clear and well-vetted vision of where L&D can go and what it can do for his organization and has done his homework around budgeting and resourcing to help act on this vision. His ideas are forward thinking, performance-based and well beyond what I see in a typical L&D portfolio. Yet he was frustrated with the managers of the lines of business he was tasked with supporting. His frustration was with their narrow focus specifically around “their infatuation with the classroom” and “little to no interest in learning to start with.” L&D leaders are often running into a passive and “training-first” centered consumer and, more important, buyer. They are more comfortable with the products we’ve sold and promoted for years. Enter two difficult words in our business: sales and marketing. I know that in my professional development and early tenure in this business, I had little to no understanding of these two areas. I once watched an entire room of L&D professionals walk out of a meeting because a senior leader dared to broach the idea that they might want to consider ways that they could help sell and market a particular training initiative they were intimately involved with. After all, they were in the L&D business, not sales! Shouldn’t the consumer want their product without being subjected to “the pitch?” Before we get too hot under the collar, let’s revisit the last part of that scenario: “training initiative they were intimately involved with.” Isn’t that always the case? Aren’t we the fronline of the success or failure of learning initiatives? Like it or not, we’re in the sales and marketing business every day. If we do our job right, we’re trying to convince an often stubborn or ignorant buyer (our learners) to want to consume and apply our product. That’s a huge part of the business we are in and becoming more important by the minute. Back to my colleague’s situation. The success of his vision pivoted on his buyer not just paying for, but wanting a very different product than he had sold them. For years, he had fought for backing and

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funding to, at one point, build and operate one of the larger brick-and-mortar training “universities” in the United States, if not the world. And he had done an amazing job of it. Part of the building and operating involved selling his company on the idea that they were investing in the best possible L&D solution around.

Like it or not, we’re in the sales and marketing business every day. Now his vision was shifting dramatically! In fact, he was doing almost a 180 from his original position. Those classrooms weren’t shutting down, but they were no longer front and center in his vision and strategy. In fact, they were going to take a significant back seat. Learning is an emotional buy. It’s integral to the success of any business and to each learner’s livelihood. As I’ve written about many times, change in L&D is slow and difficult for every stakeholder. A few fundamental principles have to hold true when effectively selling and marketing our solutions. Listen more, talk less. You’ll hear a lot of ways to win over the buyer once you hear their concerns, challenges and needs. Slow and steady wins the race. A proof-ofconcept to begin to get buy-in is way more powerful than launching with a full-blown program. Build what they need, not what they want, and still call it training. They will be won over by what they see, not what we try and sell them up front, especially if it’s new to them. They’ve always had “little to no interest in learning anyway.” They want results, improved performance, and to do their job quicker, faster and better. If the product you build works, it will sell itself over time! Sales and marketing skills are essential to our toolkit. Many of us have a blind spot here. I know I did, but the better we get at it, the easier the change and the greater the impact. CLO


Effective Leadership Is Transformational It all starts from within • BY KEN BLANCHARD


Ken Blanchard is chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Cos. and co-author of “Servant Leadership in Action.” He can be reached at

ffective leadership is a transformational journey made up of four “spheres of influence.” These are self leadership, one-on-one leadership, team leadership and organizational leadership. Picture a target with three concentric circles around a bull’s-eye. The bull’s-eye in the middle — self leadership — is the heart of the four spheres. It comes first because effective leadership starts on the inside. Most of us have heard flight attendants say that in an emergency you should secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. In a similar vein, before you can hope to lead anyone else, you first must know yourself and what you need to be successful. Effective self-leaders challenge their own assumed constraints — their beliefs, based on past experiences, that limit current and future experiences. They also know how to tap into their five points of power — position, personal, task, relationship and knowledge — when necessary. Finally, they are proactive in asking their manager for the right amounts of direction and support. Self-leaders aren’t afraid to take initiative and state what they need to succeed in achieving their goals. Once a person has the perspective to know how to lead themselves, they are ready to lead someone else. The key to successful one-on-one leadership is the ability to develop a trusting relationship with another person. If you know your strengths and weaknesses and are willing to be vulnerable, you most likely will be able to build trust between yourself and someone you lead — a must when working together.

Once you have fostered a trusting relationship with your direct reports, you are ready to lead a team. Team leadership is all about team development and building a community. We live in teams. Our organizations are made up of teams. The percentage of time we spend in team settings — project teams, work groups, cross-functional teams, virtual teams and management teams — is ever-increasing. Effective leaders working at the team level realize they must honor the power of diversity among team members. Differences in cultural backgrounds, a variety of life experiences, and diverse perspectives and opinions can be catalysts for tremendous innovation. Leaders also must acknowledge the power of teamwork: Working together, a team can make better decisions and solve more complex problems than the same number of individuals working alone. One of my favorite sayings is, “None of us is as smart as all of us” — and that is never more true than when describing an engaged, empowered team. Leaders who have proven they can develop and lead teams successfully are ready for the final stage in a leader’s transformational journey: organizational leadership. Whether you can function well as an organizational leader — someone who leads more than one team — depends on the perspective, trust and community gained during the first three stages of your transformational journey. The key to developing a high-performing organization is creating an environment that values both relationships and results. Great relationships with poor financial performance won’t result in a long-lasting organization. Likewise, an organization that gets great results but has a lot of infighting and gossip will also be short lived. Why? Because without good relationWhen the leader extends trust first, it encourages a ships the high performers will leave, which will affect direct report to behave in a trustworthy manner. As the bottom line. Both relationships and results are time goes by, trust grows between the two whenever ei- necessary for a thriving, high-performing organizather side offers support, keeps their word, expresses ap- tional culture. preciation or exhibits other trusting behaviors that lead One of the primary mistakes leaders make today is to goal accomplishment. This may not be the same as spending time and energy trying to improve things at advice you would have received when the organizational level before ensuring they have adecommand-and-control leadership was the rule. Back quately addressed their own credibility at the self, onethen, it was frowned upon for leaders to get too close to on-one and team leadership levels. Mastering one their people. Managers were told if they became friends sphere of influence at a time helps you develop the skills, with their direct reports it would get in the way of perspective and experience you need to be a fully realdecision-making. Today we know that’s just not true. ized servant leader. CLO

None of us is as smart as all of us.

18 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

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The Economic Virtue of Teaching Diversity You don’t have to travel the world to learn diversity’s value • BY LEE MAXEY

A Lee Maxey is CEO of MindMax, a marketing and enrollment management services company. He can be reached at

fter traveling the United States in the early 1800s, French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville noted, among other things, that cooperation and association are not easy virtues to learn, but embracing both makes possible freedom and democracy. If today Tocqueville toured an American university or corporation with a diversity and inclusion program, I believe he would see freedom and democracy at work. U.S. companies and institutions of higher education that embrace diversity lead our nation away from the divisions that sometimes parade as patriotism. The definition of diversity isn’t as clear to some people as others, though. I recently visited a New England college with my daughter. When leaving the campus, she said, “I saw a lot of Black Lives Matter posters, but I didn’t see a person of color the whole time we were there.” Measuring diversity by race alone would be a mistake in the opinion of Wendy Lewis, global chief diversity officer for McDonald’s Corp. According to Lewis, who is responsible for diversity and inclusion across all the restaurant chain’s businesses, there’s no place where there isn’t diversity. “Diversity is inclusion; that’s what we say here. Diversity can be complex — sometimes the differences are obvious, sometimes hidden,” Lewis said. “In any population there will be differences. Consider marital status, age, religion, a disability or a person’s motivations for work itself. If we have any hope about a better future for businesses and our families, we have to be inclusive.” Be wary though of relying on metrics alone to ensure the creation and propagation of a culture of diversity. It’s overly simplistic to think because your employee population consistently employs “X” percentage of a certain group an organization is open to diversity. “I think one of the best ways to foster diversity is understanding how intrinsic motivations help employees relate to others who may have different needs,” said Sean Murphy, a Columbia University-trained social psychology practitioner and founder of Inside8, which provides tests for understanding personal motivations. “When employer and coworker understand what’s motivating someone on the team, they can appreciate how differences elevate a company’s and employee’s performance,” Murphy said. Some organizations intrinsically know that embracing diversity is the right thing to do. But others misunderstand or even feel threatened by what they

20 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

don’t know. Convincing these organizations and their employees, at least initially, may require an effort that defines in economic or professional terms how diversity programs can advance everyone’s fortunes.

D&I (and the cooperation and understanding they both spur) lead to success. “There’s a notion in business and academia that what gets measured gets done. But we need to disaggregate the data and look at how diversity and inclusion help us,” said Kevin McDonald, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the University of Missouri System, who came to Columbia in the wake of the 2015 protests to change the culture around issues of race. In fact, the best companies and schools practice what Lewis and McDonald preach: Diversity and inclusion (and the cooperation and understanding they both spur) lead to success. Businesses, especially multinationals, want students who can work in interdisciplinary groups with team members from many different countries. McDonald says the university’s curriculum is now intentional in showing how diversity plays a role in the academic discipline and career aspirations of students. A student might be studying engineering. But they’ll also have the chance to apply that learning in a real-world setting through an internship that puts a student into a setting unlike his or her experience. McDonald contrasted this with a story in which he recalled his role at a previous institution when an employer declined to hire some of the university’s students. “I asked the employer what was wrong,” said McDonald. “And he said, ‘It isn’t that your students aren’t gifted, they are; they just don’t have the multicultural competencies or the interdisciplinary experiences we need to be successful.’ ” If academic leaders and corporate executives promote diversity and show how we’re all better for it, then we’ll see the virtue of this spread and begin living the best of what we all believe America to be. CLO


SNHU is more than 1 university: it’s a global network of 100,000 students and alumni ready to put their skills to work. From mass hires to 1-on-1 talent acquisition, we’re dedicated to helping organizations like yours reach their recruitment goals.

Learn more at

FEWER MENTORS, BIGGER PROBLEMS An unintentional outcome of the #MeToo movement is a greater hesitancy among men to mentor women. This could have dramatic negative effects for women and companies — but learning leaders can help. BY AVE RIO

22 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


2018 survey from the LeanIn Foundation and SurveyMonkey found that nearly half of male managers felt uncomfortable participating in a common work activity with a woman, such as mentoring, working alone or socializing together. Specifically, the number of male managers who felt uncomfortable mentoring women went from 5 percent to 16 percent in late 2017 after the #MeToo movement went viral. That means about 1 in 6 male managers would hesitate to mentor a woman. This hesitation and fear pose problems for women and for the success of companies. Organizations that fail to properly address this unintentional backlash of the #MeToo movement may be in trouble. Learning leaders can help to create an inclusive environment where employees feel safe to talk about the complexities of the #MeToo movement and any concerns stemming from it.

Self-Imposed Fear Amri Johnson, former global head of diversity and inclusion at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said people are grappling with the notion of mentoring and meritocracy and questioning whether they are comfortable being a sponsor. “They were grappling with that before the whole #MeToo movement came to a head as it has in the past year or so,” he said. “At this point, men who had a certain amount of hesitance around mentorship or sponsorship — it’s probably reinforced it.” Johnson said he hasn’t heard men articulate that they are not interested in mentoring, but some

men have expressed that they don’t always feel comfortable because they don’t know what the response will be. “There have been some statements about men not feeling comfortable hugging women in the same way because they don’t know what the impact will be of something that they historically felt was benign,” he said. “But what does it mean if someone takes it the wrong way or if someone is out to sabotage someone? I think that’s rarely the case, but I imagine most men are not going to talk about it if they are uncomfortable.” He noted that men who have long been committed to mentorship and gender representation haven’t changed notably. Personally, the #MeToo movement hasn’t changed Johnson’s own interactions with his women mentees in terms of his mentoring and advice, but he said he’s more cautious in certain situations. “I probably think for a minute when I have less of a history with someone,” he said. “I gauge their openness to something like a hug versus a handshake.” When a mentor wants to contribute to someone’s growth, Johnson said the last thing the mentor should be thinking about is themselves. “And most people, if they’re thinking about themselves most of the time, they might be more concerned about #MeToo than [the growth of ] that person, but if you genuinely care and you’re committed to developing your people, your concern is more about them than it is about yourself,” he said. Johnson said that doesn’t mean people can’t feel a sense of self-protection, because a damaging story can wreck a career. “But if you’re concerned about it, you have some other work to do beyond your mentoring relationship,” he said. “The reality is Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


that a lot of men have exhibited certain behaviors that they are not proud of, and they are not sure if they would resurface and who would resurface them.” But Johnson said there is a larger problem than men in power fearing they will be exposed or accused of misconduct — and that’s retaining valuable women. “A lot of our efforts to attract and retain women in leadership and in more senior roles in particular — they can be compromised, but quietly,” he said.

and how to engage with others to get things done. “One of my mentors describes this as having leadership grace — how to confront without being confrontational, how to disagree without being disagreeable,” she said. “Mentors provide women with a decoder ring to understand the unwritten rules of organizations.”

A Different Point of View

Casey Foss, executive director of marketing at West Monroe Partners, a multinational management and An Organizational Reality technology consulting firm, works in an industry with a Rosina Racioppi, president and CEO of Women disproportionate number of male executives. However, Unlimited, a consulting firm specializing in helping she was able to benefit greatly from her male mentors. women in the workplace through mentoring, educa“Early in my career, I consistently looked toward tion and networking, said the #MeToo movement has women to mentor me because they had walked in my brought more attention to the challenges in creating shoes,” she said. “But as I grew in my career, specifically parity in organizations. in the consulting space, heads of marketing across firms She said companies that focus on developing and were men and executive team members were men.” advancing women start Foss realized she needby holding managers aced guidance from people countable for providing with different life experiopportunity and feedback ences than her. “It was a to women. According to clear choice for me to Racioppi, the male manhand pick and choose agers she works with often male mentors who I question how they can thought would push me effectively develop the differently,” she said. women on their team and “The men I’ve sought out — Casey Foss, executive director of how they can best provide are uniquely valuable — marketing, West Monroe Partners support to women. they’re free from some of “One repercussion of the patriarchal constraints the #MeToo movement is that it has created apprehen- that I face, and they naturally think very expansively sion and a barrier of concern for some men,” she said. about career matters and situations.” “As a result, it is even more important for companies Foss said her male mentors have applied that exto support their managers and understand how to ef- pansive thinking to her. “They help me see beyond the fectively provide feedback and guidance.” expectations I subconsciously place on myself, given all She said women often don’t receive the same feed- of the other roles I play in life — whether it be mother, back and career guidance as men. During the past 25 wife, daughter,” she said. “However, I also have made years, she has seen that men are often not comfortable it authentic to who I am, and I haven’t lost sight of that providing women with the feedback needed to sup- along the way. I’m making career choices supported by port their development. “We also see that male man- male mentors and guided but not driven by them.” agers often provide more transactional feedback — Racioppi agreed that it is important for women to feedback about work done — but do not provide gain insight into how male leaders view issues and feedback on how to prepare for future opportunities.” challenges. “Not that one is right or wrong, but rather Over time, Racioppi said this results in women not that they expand their perspective,” she said. “This is being well-prepared for advancement. Knowing this is especially critical for women at the midcareer stage as an organizational reality, she said developing relation- they are preparing for roles that are less defined.” ships within the organization is vital. She said there is a Just as organizations need to understand how to misguided belief that parity will be achieved through create environments where women can be effective, meritocracy. “We know that this is not enough,” she Racioppi said women must understand how to develsaid. “Mentoring is crucial because it helps women un- op effective relationships with their male colleagues. derstand the rules of engagement in organizations.” Male mentors help women gain this insight, she said. She said women often begin their careers with the On the other hand, as the number of women false belief that their work will be enough. Mentors continues to increase in organizations, Racioppi said help women learn how to navigate the organization male leaders need to gain comfort and expertise in

“If men opt out of mentoring women, we never get past the #MeToo movement. It only gets worse.”

24 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

leading and developing people who don’t look like them — and mentoring women is a good way to gain this understanding.

Johnson said many leaders don’t know how to have difficult conversations. “When they get a little tense and difficult and the public opinion is as it has been around race and gender, it’s very difficult and very few organizaIf Men Opt Out tions are up to the task or have the skill,” he said. Racioppi said it is understandable in this time of Johnson said having better internal conversations heightened conversation that some men may have in companies could help mitigate the challenge that concerns, but it is important to remind men that if companies face by men who aren’t willing to say anythey approach these relationships with respect and thing. “The organizations that are ahead of it are in a openness, there is nothing to cause apprehension. good space to do something extraordinary — but I “In our programs, we talk with the women as well don’t think that is the majority,” he said. as mentors to have a discussion about the ground rules Johnson said when “diversity” is talked about, it is that will guide their relationships,” she said. “We have mostly discussed on a representational level rather than found it helpful to create a framework of how we will encompassing the complexity of the issue. “It needs to work together.” She encourages women and their be about how to have conversations around managing mentors to discuss how they like to receive feedback tensions and complexities around differences in a meanand how they will handle issues that arise. ingful way,” he said. “A lot of it is just being vulnerable Foss said if men are doing the right thing in men- — and a lot of folks do not like vulnerability.” toring relationships — not He said learning leadsexually harassing or using ers can help company power for personal gain leaders take steps to have — they can stay above open communication the fray and be successful. about men’s anxieties and “My fear is that men use the intricacies of the issue. the #MeToo movement as “Start with vulnerability, an excuse to opt out verthen have people build the sus a reason to opt in and skills around perspective empower women, elevate taking and build the skills — Rosina Racioppi, president and CEO, around one’s capacity to women and treat them as Women Unlimited equals,” she said. “If men listen in a way that’s not opt out of mentoring listening for what you women, we never get past the #MeToo movement. It want to hear or listening to become defensive — but only gets worse.” She added that it’s incumbent on com- listening enough to take it in.” panies to make sure the environment is right and that He said those conversations can cause tension and be the relationships feel safe, comfortable and authentic. emotionally challenging, but that’s where having an efFurther, Racioppi said if there are fewer male men- fective facilitator can help. “Someone who teaches those tors, men will have less insight into the issues and chal- skills to people at high levels can diffuse some of that lenges women are experiencing in the workplace. At tension and allow people to have a conversation that the end of a mentoring program at Women Unlimit- produces a result where folks feel comfortable being ed, Racioppi said one senior male leader from a finan- who they are and saying what’s on their minds,” he said. cial services company shared the following: “I am cerJohnson added that organizations need to do evtain that the women on my team experience similar erything they can to keep dialogue open and not challenges. Either they are trying to tell me, and I am place blame. not hearing them, or they are not comfortable telling “Sometimes when you have a #MeToo [situation], me. Either way, it is a problem for me as a leader.” people want to push it to the side and not think that it’s impacting business strategy and results, but those little Learning Leaders Can Help things underneath that might not be very apparent Johnson said the biggest problem regarding the could be barriers to the highest levels of performance of #MeToo movement is that few people are comfortable your organization,” he said. “Those in the learning talking about the complexities of the movement pub- space are experts at discovering where those tensions are licly and openly. “If there was a conversation about it and then figuring out who can provide us with the conopenly, it would be different than if we just have it in tent and skills needed to work through it.” CLO the background and women are negatively affected by it over time, and thus their organizations are affected Ave Rio is a writer based in Portland, Oregon. She can by it as well,” he said. be reached at

“Mentors provide women with a decoder ring to understand the unwritten rules of organizations.”

Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •




RAYTHEON IMPROVES COMPLIANCE WITH U.S. EXPORT/IMPORT REGULATIONS AND BOOSTS GLOBAL SALES WITH COMPREHENSIVE LEARNING SOLUTION Raytheon Co.’s Global Trade organization partnered with Raytheon Professional Services to design, implement and operate an enterprise-wide learning program, leading to a reduction in violations of U.S. export/import (EX/IM) regulations by over 90 percent, and enabling further international business growth. By Agatha Bordonaro THE CHALLENGE: To ensure compliance with all U.S. regulations pertaining to the export and import of defense products and grow its international sales, Raytheon needed to develop a rigorous learning program, training three employee groups with distinctly different needs.

and further increase international sales growth, it knew it needed to develop and deploy a more effective training solution for all employees. That’s when it turned to Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) for help. Together, Global Trade and RPS identified five key goals for this new learning program:

The U.S. government carefully regulates the export and import of defense products. All sales of these items to international customers require U.S. government approval. The U.S. State Department places conditions on each sale to ensure these assets do not fall into the wrong hands. The U.S. government can also prohibit a company from selling its defense products internationally if its violations are particularly egregious. So, for Raytheon, EX/IM compliance is of paramount importance, not only for achieving the company’s mission and protecting its reputation, but also for improving its bottom line.

1. Define a curriculum to address both U.S. government laws and regulations and Raytheon’s own policies, procedures and tools.

“Non-compliance can negatively impact the success of Raytheon’s business, driving up our costs, slowing our responsiveness, preventing us from doing business internationally and meeting our business goals,” explained Sol Brody, vice president, legal operations. Every Raytheon employee has a responsibility to support EX/IM compliance. With all of today’s IT and communication resources, the employee must understand how to protect technical information associated with export-controlled products. Therefore, the company needs a learning program that trains every employee to perform his or her specific EX/IM responsibilities and maintain compliance. In 2015, when Raytheon’s Global Trade organization was looking to improve the company’s EX/IM compliance

2. Provide learning for three different employee groups: all Raytheon employees, Global Trade professionals and employees whose roles include EX/IM–related responsibilities. To ensure the learning would be relevant for and resonate with each audience, the solution would need to address why EX/IM compliance is important, what is required of the employee in his or her specific role and how the individual can ensure compliance. 3. Define the learning requirements for each of the three employee populations. This included developing a comprehensive approach that addressed each group’s needs and providing the right training to every employee, based on their EX/IM responsibilities. 4. Design a career development program specifically for EX/IM professionals. RPS felt it was important to offer these individuals opportunities and resources to grow their careers at Raytheon. Until then, the majority of the EX/IM training curriculum was sourced externally. By investing in and developing its talent internally, Raytheon would not only improve EX/IM compliance but also reap greater employee retention.

Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) uses a strategic, Understanding First approach to address critical challenges for clients across industries and markets. We develop and implement training solutions to improve workforce performance and business results. Our award-winning solutions include: curriculum design, content development and delivery, technology services, training administration and learning strategy design. Leveraging decades of expertise and innovation, RPS provides tailored learning and performance improvement solutions in more than 146 countries and 34 languages.


LEARNING IN PR A C T I C E AWA R D S PO T L I G H T 5. Identify performance metrics, collect them and act upon the results to improve the training program going forward.

hands-on workshops and enabled individuals to excel in performing their EX/IM responsibilities. “Each layer builds on top of the previous layers,” Brody said.

THE SOLUTION: RPS developed a blended, multilayered approach to address the five key learning goals.To ensure the learning was relevant to the three predetermined audiences, RPS took a layered approach that blended different learning modalities.

To meet the “train everyone” goal, RPS deployed and housed the learning on Raytheon’s LMS, and also established the EX/IM Hub portal as the go-to spot for all compliance-related resources.

The first layer, awareness training, was deployed to all Raytheon employees. It consisted mainly of online courses that addressed the main issue of why EX/ IM compliance is important. The awareness training also touched briefly on what employees should do in specific situations, such as when hosting visitors in Raytheon facilities. The next layer, called the knowledge layer, also comprised mostly online courses and tackled what the regulations require, what Raytheon’s approach to compliance is and what each person in a specific EX/ IM role must know and be able to do. The capability layer came next. This layer explained how individuals could accomplish their EX/IM responsibilities on a granular level. The capability layer provided micro-learning that was made easy to access for future, repeated reference. The final layer in the solution was the performance layer, which consisted primarily of instructor-led,





Raytheon also created a comprehensive communications strategy to support the program. First, periodic communications came from the top, with Raytheon’s senior leadership team reinforcing the link between EX/IM compliance and business success. Further, each business unit would participate in “EX/IM Engage” for one day each year, with presentations reinforcing the importance of compliance and necessity for diligence. RPS also collaborated extensively with Raytheon’s Global Trade organization to develop and implement a learning and career development program specifically for EX/IM professionals. The teams established a competency model for each role. They then linked the competencies to the appropriate topics within the learning curriculum, flagging any gaps in learning to identify what additional development was needed. The resulting program has 12 major areas, 58 modules and 482 distinct topics. RPS also established experiential learning for better support of specific competencies, as well as special programs for certain groups of employees. Finally, RPS homed in on important performance metrics by taking into account such factors as Raytheon’s patterns and trends with regard to EX/IM. RPS also linked these business performance metrics with learning-specific metrics to show correlation. An analysis of these data would allow Raytheon and RPS to improve on the program going forward. THE RESULTS Since the new learning solution was rolled out in 2015, Raytheon has reduced compliance violations and grown international sales each year. An external compliance audit conducted by KPMG in 2017 noted that it had made substantial progress. Further, Raytheon now has a much stronger working relationship with the Defense Directorate of Trade Controls (DDTC) within the State Department.




“That’s really important,” noted Brody, “since DDTC is the office that approves authorizations for export of export-controlled products and services” — thereby positively affecting Raytheon’s ability to grow international sales.


Closing the skills gap in early career professionals How employee communication, expressiveness and self-knowing contribute to business goals. By: Tim Harnett According to the latest LinkedIn global trends report, a rising focus on soft skills is one of the biggest trends affecting the workplace.1 At the same time, there’s a gap between the skills employers need and those employees have.2 How to reconcile this? Drew Jacobs, director of learning for Ariel, advocates for a holistic approach to development through presence training — essentially, developing the ability to connect authentically with the hearts and minds of others. Presence encapsulates how you show up and the impression that you leave, and can be developed through a prescribed model. Developing presence helps people express and share their ideas in an impactful way. Jacobs believes it’s crucial to start building this skill at the beginning of your career. “Individuals need to show up in a genuine way and communicate from an authentic place to understand what they stand for,” she says. “Ideally, this should be nurtured early in an employee’s career, to avoid creating bad habits that will hinder success later.”

Turning this soft skill into a priority When people think of presence, they might picture dramatic, charismatic characters. But Jacobs argues presence is more than just being captivating. “We all have presence but use it in different ways — even if we’re unaware of it,” Jacobs says. “You don’t have to be larger than life to make a powerful impression on others. But you do have to have an awareness of the impact you have both in and out of the room.” How can people develop these skills? Jacobs says the first step is recognizing the need for improved communication: “It’s important to acknowledge that communication skills are just as crucial as technical skills. Too often, soft skills are placed in 1 LinkedIn 2019 Global Talent Trends Report. 2 PayScale (2017). These five soft skills will get you hired.

the ‘nice to have’ bucket, when really, soft skills help get work done and improve the bottom line just as much as tactical talent.” “When something goes wrong at work, people tend to immediately look to the work itself to find the issue. In reality, it usually boils down to people not showing up in the right way or not conveying a message clearly. Organizations lose opportunities because people just don’t know how to communicate appropriately.”

The PRES model

P out: Able to build relationships R eaching through empathy, listening and authentic

resent: Able to be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.


Able to express feelings and E xpressive: emotions appropriately using words, voice, body and face to deliver one congruent message.

Able to accept yourself, to S elf-knowing: be authentic, to reflect your values in your decisions and actions.

Want to improve work quality? Start with relationships “Not having genuine relationships with others leads to true challenges at work,” Jacobs says. A lack of honest connections can prevent creative ideas from being heard. Taking relationships from transactional to more natural builds trust, leads to robust collaboration and brings more depth to the quality of work. These relationships are especially critical for early career professionals, creating


bonds that nurture employee engagement and potentially smooth work processes.

Communication is essential in today’s world Presence training can increase awareness of proper cross-cultural communication. “We’re connecting with people cross-culturally more than ever,” Jacobs says. “People need to be both authentic and respectful in their communications — that’s essential for today’s globally connected world. Employees should always be aware of their audience and the impression they want to leave on people.” And we can leave an impression in an instant. Humans judge others in a split second, even if they don’t know it. That may sound daunting, but Jacobs says, “What you can control is how you show up and connect with others. But people need to take these skills seriously first. Organizations should recognize that soft skills demand as much of their attention as technical ones, if not more. Without presence

and self-awareness, your employees might communicate without being understood, which causes work processes to stumble.”

Why you need to invest now Presence is a critical managerial skill, which is why high potentials should develop theirs early. “Often we promote people with great tactical skills, and then they struggle because they don’t have the tools to effectively lead teams,” Jacobs says. “Leaders need presence to engage, manage relationships and communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise way.” Organizations that develop presence in early career employees will build a stronger position for the future, with a well-rounded talent pipeline of leaders who can effectively communicate their vision for what lies ahead. To learn more about how Ariel can improve presence among your entry-level employees, visit

Ariel develops powerful and authentic communication skills to drive better performance for leaders and their teams. Our integrated suite of curriculum is delivered via classroom, virtual classroom and digital platform to provide flexibility in learning. Whether you need to develop your next generation of leaders, connect global teams or keep your workforce engaged and motivated, we can tackle your most pressing business challenges to ensure that your teams write, speak, lead and sell with impact and emotional intelligence. Visit to learn more.


Learning to Play by Ear How former jazz musician Cameron Hedrick is playing a new tune as Citi’s future-focused CLO.



iti CLO Cameron Hedrick didn’t always dream of becoming a corporate executive. Hedrick began his career as a music composition major at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. While studying, he joined a jazz combo and spent two years after graduation playing gigs across the country. It was the early 1990s and his combo stayed busy, in large part due to their manager who was a successful municipal bond trader who also happened to be a jazz enthusiast. “He just loved jazz, and he took care of us,” said Hedrick. “Before gigs he used to teach us about money management and bonds.” It was a fun life, but Hedrick eventually realized that he needed a more stable job, so his manager recommended him to a colleague at Fidelity Investments. “I spoke with a very senior fund manager at Fidelity,” Hedrick said. “I didn’t have the skills for any of the roles in his department, but he connected me with another colleague who took a chance on me.”

How to Pass Your Series 7 At Fidelity, Hedrick was hired as a customer service rep where he had to pass a Series 6 or Series 7 certification exam to trade mutual funds over the phone. At the time, turnover in that department was about 70 percent because most of the reps failed their exams. “Much to my surprise, I did well on the exam, so they asked me to teach the new hires,” he said. Hedrick realized they could significantly improve pass rates if they changed their approach to hiring and training these reps. So, in addition to teaching the class, he worked with management to rethink the recruiting and screening process to be more selective about who they hired, then he analyzed and selected the right vendor to reframe the curriculum and implement practice exams that the reps had to pass before taking the real exams. “Within a year, we went from a 30 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

70 percent first-attempt fail rate to more than 90 percent passing,” he said. Hedrick’s results quickly caught the attention of leadership and he was put into a high-potential program where he moved up the ranks, eventually taking the role of sales director responsible for performance support solutions in Boston. He spent a total of seven years at Fidelity in various leadership roles.

“The single greatest competitive advantage we can gain is figuring out how to harness our knowledge.” — Cameron Hedrick, CLO, Citi Hedrick left Fidelity in 2000 to join a start-up tech company called d-Tech with dreams of becoming a successful tech entrepreneur. The d-Tech leadership team grew the employee, partnership and revenue base substantially over three years. Acknowledging there were strategic differences with the majority owner, Hedrick and a partner decided to split off and form a new company. Eventually, Hedrick realized he didn’t have the risk tolerance for another start-up experience, so he took some time off to evaluate his next career move. Within a few months, he was offered a role at Citi to create and implement a sales training program, and he jumped at the chance. “That was 15 years ago, and I never looked back.”

The Future of Learning Over the next decade, Hedrick moved from sales training, to senior vice president of talent, to a leader in HR — first for the U.S. consumer side of the organization and later for the global commercial side. It was an exciting journey, he said. Over the years,


Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


Profile he learned the intricacies of HR in a financial services ing environment. To be competitive in the future, the environment. During the financial crisis he was as- company needs to evolve the way knowledge is accusigned to a restructuring team collectively tasked with mulated and shared across the organization, Hedrick laying off thousands of employees. “It was an extraordi- said. “When I took this role, one of our biggest oppornary but sad time,” he said, noting that his area of focus tunities was to help our learners find all of the great was to restructure L&D in the Europe, the Middle East material we already had.” There were few communities and Africa region. of practice and it was very difficult to find subject matBut today Citi is thriving ter experts, share lessons learned or link their own trainagain, and when Hedrick ing to their career development goals. “In a world was appointed CLO in where competitive advantages are less and less durable, 2016, he set in motion long- we have to take full advantage of our collective knowlterm plans to transform edge within the firm — it’s one of the few assets that are Citi’s learning organization unique to Citi and hard to replicate,” he said. to accommodate the future of work. Degreed and Workday —Kevin Engholm, head of It’s the perfect time for Changing the culture and language of learning at learning for ICG, Citi someone like Hedrick to Citi helped to lay a foundation for change, but the true take on this leadership role, differentiator comes with technology. Following the fisaid Kevin Engholm, head of learning for Institution- nancial crisis, Citi underinvested in new learning techal Client’s Group, early career, ICG and enterprise nology, so one of Hedrick’s primary goals as CLO is to infrastructure operations and technology. “Cameron deploy companywide technology-enabled learning opis very future-focused,” he said. tions to support the company’s 204,000 employees. He’s also an avid learner and his enthusiasm for “Technology is fundamental to learning in a digital learning and the potential impact it will have on the age, and Cameron is a relentless champion of this transbusiness is infectious, Engholm said. “He’s great to formation,” Berger said. engage with because he’s always working on big quesAt the heart of this effort was the rollout of Degreed tions that shape our business and industry.” in April 2018, the cloud-based learning platform that Hedrick is informed by both his interest in learn- provides learners with access to thousands of pieces of ing theory and the business, and he looks at those training content and tools that let them track their progquestions through both lenses. Engholm attributes ress and certify their skills. Hedrick sees Degreed as this to Hedrick’s time leading HR for the commercial more than just a simple technology play. He believes the side of the bank, which helped shape who he became platform will create an environment where employees as a leader. “He understands the role that learning see continuous learning as integral to their roles and see plays in supporting the business and people with P&L clear links between their own talent development and responsibility,” Engholm said. “That is often missing measurable business outcomes. in learning leaders.” Hedrick’s business savvy has shifted how the L&D team talks about learning and how they measure the impact of their efforts. “Every time he gets up in a town hall meeting, he starts by talking about how what we do at Citi learning impacts the business, and how we help people and companies do better in the world,” said Eric Berger, global head of leadership and performance solutions. “It helps him connect learning back to the business.” That connectivity is core to Hedrick’s long-term goal of creating a more transparent and Cameron Hedrick, chief learning officer at Citi, views connectivity as central to his long-term goal of collaborative knowledge-shar- creating a more transparent and collaborative knowledge-sharing environment.

“He understands that to bring great ideas to scale you have to get more people involved.”

32 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

Profile to understand what they actually do and how we can replicate it,” Hedrick said.

Leadership Is a Group Effort

Hedrick wants to be able to use captured data to quantify why a person excels at a certain role.

Additional technologies that Hedrick sees as change makers for learning are adaptive learning technologies, which use artificial intelligence algorithms to recommend content that will help learners build on their skills and provide training in small chunks so they can avoid content they already know or don’t need. “The user experience is more challenging and efficient, which adds greater economic value,” Hedrick said. By the end of 2019, Citi will have rolled out Workday, which provides a centralized repository for recruiting, onboarding, performance management and talent development data. Workday’s data capabilities create a more transparent and connected environment where Citi employees can easily access peers and experts to find new ways to solve problems and identify experts for specific projects or teams. These platforms are helping to break down the walls between departments and making knowledge and SMEs more easily accessible, Berger said. “It supports our ultimate goal of more easily finding and developing the right people for the right roles.” Over the long term, Hedrick wants to be able to use the data captured in Workday and Degreed to identify high performers and to quantify what makes a person excel in a specific role. His team is currently running a pilot project using business performance data and real-time insights to identify and profile Citi’s best managers. “We want to ascertain who they are and what practices they employ daily so we distribute those practices broadly across the organization,” Hedrick said. That requires detailed interviews with managers and their teams to achieve a granular level of understanding about what makes them so good. “We are trying to move beyond the theoretical,

These changes are possible thanks to Hedrick’s leadership style, which is more collaborative than authoritarian, Engholm said. “He always starts every meeting with ‘Do we have this’ rather than coming at it as if he has all the answers,” By positioning himself as a catalyst for innovation rather than an all-knowing leader, Hedrick creates a balanced environment where leaders across HR, learning and the business units feel encouraged to share ideas and point to best practices that already exist. “He understands that to bring great ideas to scale you have to get more people involved,” Engholm said. He fosters this connectivity in many ways. One is with the launch of Citi Learning 2021, a cross-functional working group focused on the future of work and learning. Additionally, along with his team, Hedrick frequently brings together top HR leaders from across the company to talk about learning challenges and best practices. “It has had a great influence on the culture of HR,” Berger said. “It’s helped us create transparency and a culture where insights on what we do well and what we can do better are easily shared.” “It has created a new communication practice that HR partners didn’t have in the past,” said Ariel Regatky, Citi’s head of talent, learning and culture for Latin America and global head of talent for international franchise management. The offsites led to monthly meetings where HR leaders meet regularly to discuss education trends, technology solutions, and to win buy-in for new initiatives. “There was a big appetite for improving the learning experience at Citi, and he brought that.” Hedrick also makes a point of engaging with business unit leaders to talk about their priorities and challenges and how learning could address them. “He’s inspirational in the way he articulates his vision, but he’s also very empathetic, which I value most,” Regatky said. Regatky recalled a time that he and Hedrick visited a team in Mexico City, where the local team gave a presentation but struggled with their English. When the presentation ended, Hedrick thanked the team for their efforts and willingness to do the presentation in English, then he apologized for not speaking more Spanish. “He is very humble, and he puts the responsibility on himself rather than blaming others,” Regatky said. “That’s what makes him a great leader for this moment in time.” These leadership qualities combined with his inherent love of learning helped Hedrick find his way from smoky jazz clubs to HR leadership, and he’s excited about what the future holds. CLO Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in Chicago. She can be reached at Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


DIVE IN When it comes to retention, experiential learning speaks for itself.



ccording to The Conference Board’s “The Business Value of Leadership Development” report, “One of the most influential internal engines to drive change is a leadership development program that sets out to nurture management talent that is entrepreneurial, enterprisewide and globally recruited.” Many agree with this sentiment and believe that for a company to seize competitive advantage for sustainability, it must invest in high-touch, face-to-face leadership development that is aligned with corporate strategy. Unfortunately, most current leadership development efforts are falling short when it comes to the “high-touch” aspect.

Impact Shortfall McKinsey & Co. estimated that leadership strength explained 80 percent of its sustainable performance. The Center for Creative Leadership reported that if done correctly, leadership development creates competitive advantage by driving strategy execution, navigating change, improving financial performance and retaining talent. Because of this noted impact, Deloitte previously reported that 85 percent of human resources leaders rate leadership pipeline as the top priority of companies. Willis Towers Watson and Development Dimensions International have published similar reports. Additionally, The Conference Board’s “C-Suite Challenge 2018” listed developing next-generation leaders as the No. 5 CEO issue last year, between No. 4 — new global competitors and No. 6 —cybersecurity. And Chief Learning Officer’s Business Intelligence Board reported that 94 percent of companies plan to maintain or increase their investment in leadership development in order to grow their succession pipeline, retain their high-potential employees and foster innovation and creative thinking. Done effectively, leadership development can have a positive impact on the business (sales, customer satisfaction, operational efficiency), ultimately leading to a beneficial ROI. For one-third of the companies that invest in their talent, this amount translates to more than $4,000 per employee annually.

34 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


In short, organizations have spent billions of dollars on leadership development. However, though there is a consensus on the importance of the effort, there is also a consensus that today’s offerings are inadequate. There is disappointing evidence of books, lectures and conferences having any sustainable impact. In the words of The Wall Street Journal, “So much training, so little to show for it.” Few organizations have enough talented leaders in place and the current leadership development efforts are not paying off. McKinsey noted that companies are failing to develop the leaders they need, with 57 percent reporting that they are not confident that their training has impact. DDI supported this when it said only 40 percent of leaders report that their leadership quality is high, and only 15 percent have a strong leadership bench. Fortune really hit the message home when they said that only 1 in 10 CEOs believe their leadership development initiatives have a clear business impact. Deloitte’s “High-Impact Leadership” report shows that these result in a widening capability gap for building great leaders, with weak cross-industry leadership pipelines. Why are CLOs getting such a failing grade with leadership development? Leadership coach and author Marshall Goldsmith said, “Many of our leadership programs are based on the faulty assumption that if we show people what to do, they can automatically do it.” However, there is a difference between knowing what good leadership looks like and being able to do it. It is not listening to a “sage on stage,” where participants retain 5 to 10 percent of the information, according to National Training Laboratories. These lectures, which consist of reading a series of PowerPoint slides, are not an effective way to learn. Yet we keep doing this at conferences and in our classrooms. Even with low efficacy, we do not innovate beyond this traditional teaching method. (Note: “innovating” from an overhead projector to a PowerPoint presentation is not changing the delivery method, it is only changing the technology that puts the bullets on the screen for students to read and copy down.)

The Simulation Solution Harvard Business Review’s October 2016 article, “As Work Changes, Leadership Development Has to Keep Up” said that companies “must deliver engaging, experiential learning opportunities that are rich with high-fidelity simulations and real-life applications.” In the airline industry, simulations are an effective way for pilots to learn from virtual experiences that would be costly and difficult or dangerous to provide in the real world. For businesses, leaders also need to prepare and 36 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

practice so they can learn from their mistakes in a lifelike setting. These experiential learning methods have a much higher retention of 80 to 90 percent, according to National Training Laboratories.

It is all about preparation and practice before performance. Just like effective flight simulations, companies need to invest in experience-based learning to improve learning retention. This hands-on learning challenges, immerses and engages participants intellectually with their peers in a safe environment. Here, participants practice critical analysis, problem-solving and decision-making. It is all about preparation and practice before performance. If you are evaluating your programs based on the 4-level Kirkpatrick Model, experiential learning’s participant engagement not only leads to high level 1 participant evaluations (reaction), but the increased retention and behavior change at one’s job have a huge impact on level 2, 3 and 4 evaluations as well (learning, behavior and results, respectively). As participants apply their changed behavior back on the job, CEOs will begin to believe again in your leadership development program outcomes. The current low survey ratings will flip. This will be a lagging indicator that you as a learning leader are building effective leaders to achieve desirable business results.

Business Simulation In Harvard Business Review’s “Games Can Make You a Better Strategist,” published in September 2015, the authors noted that games immerse you in a hands-on environment with instant feedback. As you analyze a situation with critical thinking to make effective risk-taking decisions while executing your cross-function business, you learn through quarterly reports on your business outcomes: consequences or successes. How will you solve your challenges? Participants can experience quarterly performance in minutes, as well as several years of execution in two to four days. They develop new skills in a safe environment that is high fidelity because it mirrors real-world, competitive situations similar to the context of their organization’s strategy. While the simulation experience engages participants’ attention through mental and social challenges, many companies stop there and fail to gain the full benefit of this experiential learning. To reach the true potential of the experience, you need a professional

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facilitator who debriefs what happened in the simulation, how team leaders interacted and what applicable takeaways apply that reach across their company. This deeper analysis provides insight for leaders to reflect on and decide what behavior modifications they need to make in their real-life circumstances. This is the sweet spot — why a business simulation’s learning potential is far greater than any other training room learning method.

T Model The Center for Creative Leadership describes two types of leadership development called the T Model, and a business simulation uniquely addresses both. Horizontal leadership development focuses on learning new knowledge, skills and abilities from an expert or experience. The “inter” top line represents a participant breaking out of their silo to take a systemic and holistic business perspective in areas such as business acumen, change management, ethics, global and innovation. Harvard Business Review’s “As Work Changes, Leadership Development Has to Keep Up” clarified that participant content should focus on “envisioning the future, taking risks, leading change, driving collaboration and leveraging the abundance of data.” This content can be configurable to a company’s designated competency requirements and/or critical business performance drivers. Vertical leadership development, on the other hand, transforms the individual through advanced thinking capability to be more complex, systemic, strategic and interdependent. The “intra” vertical line is learning about oneself and then going deep. Essentially, the horizontal is “fill the cup” and the vertical is “grow the cup size.” By a “learn by do” approach with a business simulation, the participant first learns horizontally through rich content. They then learn vertically by increasing self-awareness through assessment and peer interaction. If you take this model and apply it to a common corporate model of leading organizations, leading teams, leading self, the horizontal is “leading organizations” and the vertical is “leading self.”

— John Gillis Jr.

38 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

Sustaining Development For learning to reach its business value impact, you need compelling learning transfer and application back on the job. Not only do participants practice concepts during the business simulation, they also have an experience to share with coaches in ongoing development. Consider the following questions a coach might discuss with a participant: Problem-solving: How did you make evidence-​ based decisions under time pressure, even when information is ambiguous once analyzed? Results orientation: What financial metrics did you prioritize to assess performance achievement? Innovation: How did your team balance innovation with execution efficiency? Teamwork: What inclusive communication process enabled the team to collaborate effectively? Self-awareness: As you adjusted behavior to adapt to the situation, did your peers trust your authenticity? The benefit of structured coaching is tailoring the learning to an individual for self-discovery. They review their assessment results for insight, their action plan for behavior change and their goals for action. Along the way, there will be obstacles to discuss and workarounds to determine in order to succeed. There is accountability for applying their learning at their job to achieve personal growth, even when faced with rigid resistance to change. A good leadership development program has system reinforcement to track, measure and lock in this desired behavior change. Part of effective coaching is assessment. There are many high-quality assessments in the market today; the challenge is alignment of the assessment criteria to the rest of the leadership development process: content, simulation, learning objectives and job description. Once aligned, the insights from the assessment build self-awareness to drive effective behavioral change.

Learn, Experience, Apply It is the classic “learn, experience, apply” model. Gain knowledge through configurable and customizable content, practice this new learning with adjusted behaviors in a safe environment and then take that experience to change your actions at your job. You are connecting knowledge with application! After all, learning without application is worthless, and the lack of application is why many executives rate their programs as ineffective — because they don’t see the behavior change post-program. As Ben Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” CLO John Gillis Jr. manages partner development with LeadershipX. He can be reached at


Dear Chief Learning Officer, Training is not the problem! For far too long, we have lived in a world of training insanity. Managers who do not reinforce and support training are the very people who say at the end of the year when performance is lacking, “We need more training!” Learning and development departments do incredible work and I know I don’t need to share that with you. What I would like to share is that the number one thing that will elevate performance and the value of training and learning services is the ability of managers to reinforce through the art and delivery of coaching. I own a company called Progress Coaching and for over 20 years we’ve been helping managers become coaching partners to training and learning departments. A manager who coaches takes the ball and truly owns it when it’s passed to them by the learning and development department. Coaching as a movement in the industry continues to grow as does the reluctance for managers to do so. The reason managers say they do not or cannot coach is lack of time. The real reason is they don’t know what to say or do. The answer to this challenge is not simply training on its own, but a dual solution we call Coaching Bridges.

A Coaching Bridge is a specific solution that bridges training and learning to the desired performance by positioning managers to know exactly what to do and say from a coaching perspective in a cohesive and collaborative manner related to your training and learning objectives.


How to Reinforce Training & Learning with Coaching May 24, 12:00 p.m. cst

This webcast will teach a unique strategy called mapping that we use to specifically position managers to successfully coach in congruence with your training and learning. You can register here: tinyurl. com/coachingbridge I hope you can join us. Our webcasts are 100% educational and we do no selling whatsoever during the course of content delivery. If you cannot attend, send me an email I will send you the recording (Tim@ Thanks, Tim Hagen Chief Coaching Officer

(262) 377-5655

40 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

HEALTHY LEARNING: Modernizing Health Care’s L&D The push to digital learning has come slowly in health care. Providence St. Joseph Health is one organization that is shifting its L&D model. BY NICOLE BUNSELMEYER


ealth care’s foundational employee training lies in old-school brick-and-mortar academics, but the challenges facing the industry — including large technology rollouts, staff attraction and retention, compliance training and the influx of millennials to the health care workforce — mean learning and development departments have to figure out how to go digital to accommodate employees and the patients they serve. This requires health care L&D departments to build out their learning technology suites carefully and find the delicate balance between employee needs and what the organization expects in order to serve patients and the community. “It’s a definite challenge for us,” said Darci Hall, interim chief learning officer of multistate health care provider Providence St. Joseph Health. “We must figure out how to baby-step our older generation of learners, who are accustomed to ILT and only ILT, into possibly doing things in a digital space. So we say, OK, we’ll do an in-person event for, say, leadership training, but then you’re going to have virtual sessions that support it throughout the year.”

Photo Courtesy of Providence St. Joseph Health

Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


A blended learning strategy can be a great first way for those in the tradition-mired health care industry to implement a digital approach while respecting the needs of their older employees and younger learners, as well as the needs of the organization. “We want to mirror the way our caregivers consume [learning] outside of Providence, but in the type of environment we have, there are challenges in the transition to digital,” said Hall, whose employee base numbers more than 100,000 in seven Western states. “It’s critical, however, so we’re making it happen.” One of the many reasons the shift to digital learning is so important is the ever-present cost maintenance that all L&D departments face, not just in health care. Utilizing learning technologies can help. This is an area in which health care has traditionally progressed slowly, but looking to corporate models to bring digital learning closer to everyday work more quickly can be a great way to move a learning vision forward for a health care organization.

A Healthy Case for Going Digital In a traditional, regulation-heavy environment like health care, it can be difficult to implement the business case to overhaul an organization’s learning and development program. Here are some ways to pitch the idea. • Make it all about business and the almighty dollar. • Get top leadership to say “yes” to transformation. Convince them not of the soft benefits of the training but that you can save the organization money. • Watch your employees at work and see where they are with regard to transformation so you’ll know where it makes sense to start. You want to both honor where the organization is at today and push for evolution. • Keep it simple and focus on business outcomes, not learning outcomes. • Get in the mindset of the CEO, CFO and COO — how can you hook them? Look for a quick win or two to get your digital transformation vision rolling. Keep it simple to begin — consider starting with a small pilot, then iterate and operationalize from there.

— Nicole Bunselmeyer

Applying an Electronic Health Records System One large health care organization was faced with training more than 50,000 employees on a new electronic health record system — the largest such project in the organization’s history. The training team was faced with reducing the amount of time staff spent in the classroom. This would allow employees to continue providing routine care to patients without seeing a negative impact on staffing availability or revenue.

There is no single solution that will make health care’s L&D transformation happen overnight. The organization had the additional challenge of encompassing a large spectrum of roles, responsibilities and geographic locations in addition to generational differences. Because of the size and scope of the project, it was deemed a significant change-management initiative, not just a technology-adoption project. The learning team challenged itself to think differently and created a vision to focus on developing and delivering learning to support the transfer of knowledge, promote engagement, reinforce what is taught and create a dynamic, rapid learning environment. One overarching goal was to develop an understanding of learners’ needs and create a role-specific workflow with continuous support post-implementation. The program included role-based pathways and was delivered as blended learning to include classroom-led instructor training, competency assessment in the learning management system and an online MOOC environment. Electronic content was internally created and branded to support the role-based learning, including videos, interactive learning methods and quizzes. Bite-size content was also incorporated. Learner engagement was monitored daily as they attended instructor training; upon completion, access was granted to the live software environment. Results are still being evaluated, but the program reached all its intended recipients in a tight timeframe with positive learner feedback. The health care organization’s L&D department determined that the shift to digital opportunities, which accommodate varied learning challenges facing the organization, was a fundamental part of the solution.

The Tech Suite for Learning Providence’s Hall said there is no single solution that will make health care’s L&D transformation

42 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

happen overnight. It will require a mix of technologies that tackle different problems, put together in a logical fashion. “We’re going through right now the process of modernization and getting an inventory of what we have,” said Hall, whose digital learning program won four Brandon Hall Excellence awards in 2018. “Content, tools, LMSs, all of that stuff, and starting to figure out what kinds of technologies we need to support our future state vision of learning.” Those technologies can include collaborative learning, cohort-driven learning, time-sensitive online learning, adaptive learning, spatial learning and more. “We’re experimenting with how we can do one-minute learnings over a longer period of time rather than one four-hour training chunk in order to lead to adoption and habits that we want our caregivers to form, especially around the regulatory and compliance space,” Hall said. That is another challenge facing health care training leaders: how to reduce the required and mandatory learning hours its health care employees have to spend on training, when those “mandatory” hours actually contain optional information. Also, organizations such as Providence, which are spread across multiple states, are looking to standardize training to ensure high-performing, consistent learning. “With that reduction, we’re also looking to implement learning that is more performance-based and integrated into their work,” Hall said. One way is to utilize adaptive learning and have employees assessed and test out of certain sections they are already fluent with in order to reduce the time they are spending on training. If people are prompted with questions that result in different pathways, a 10-minute e-learning module could wind up being only two minutes for someone who really knows the content and who can answer the appropriate questions correctly. “This is really important to the health care space, as we’re required to provide hundreds of hours of required learning, and some of it is redundant to some employees,” Hall said.

Boosting Nurse Leadership Training Employees are engaged when they have better leadership. Providence St. Joseph Health was facing high turnover and difficulty attracting talent in 2017. More specifically, it needed to train nurse managers in a way that would be easily applicable on the job without taking them away from work for too long. Their solution: a blended learning experience that is changing the culture of learning at Providence St. Joseph. The program targeted the approximately 930 nurse managers working within the health care provider’s system. The goal was to enhance the leadership skills

of the nurse manager population to prepare them for higher-level roles. Providence St. Joseph aimed to promote the nurse manager role as a professional specialty, reduce the amount of turnover among caregivers and nurse managers, and improve caregiver engagement. It was imperative that nurse managers viewed the program as both valuable and relevant to their practice. The only way to achieve this was through close collaboration with nursing leaders, whose involvement was critical to the program’s success. Additionally, the delivery had to be flexible enough to meet the needs of the busy nurse managers. The program was designed as a five-month leadership development learning curriculum. The blended learning approach focused on enhancing leadership skills such as communication, goal setting, managing teams, coaching, resolving conflicts and leading change initiatives. It also covered self-care, financial acumen, development planning and recognizing unconscious bias. A pilot version was delivered from May through October 2017, and feedback from pilot participants, faculty and nursing leadership was used to inform the design of the scaled version.

Learner experience in digital wins over everything else. The pilot consisted of a five-month learning journey that wrapped an online experience around four in-person sessions. Over the course of the experience, nurse managers had opportunities to practice and reflect on critical leadership topics like unconscious bias, goal setting, coaching and conflict resolution. Nurse managers participated as part of a smaller cohort to connect and collaborate with colleagues in other hospitals. In addition to the peer support, nurse managers had check-ins with their managers. The four in-person events were wrapped with online content, peer discussions and missions that applied learning to the real job. Smaller peer groups were formed at the in-person events to foster networking and continued through online discussion forums. Providence St. Joseph Health used a multiphased assessment approach to track the ROI and impact of the program. This included evaluations to determine the immediate reaction to the program, pre- and post-surveys to assess the response to the learning, follow-up surveys to track growth, data to track turnover rates, and patient experience surveys to gauge the changes in the organization. HEALTHY LEARNING continued on page 52 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


Leadership Tr aits That

Tr anscend Gender Highly successful women leaders are able to balance empathy and inclusiveness with assertiveness, ambition and drive. Ideally, all leaders should strive to arm themselves with these traits. BY RICK KOONCE AND CAROL VALONE MITCHELL


hat does it take to be successful in business? A tough work ethic, being task-oriented, a willingness to put in long hours, dedication to one’s career, and having the right connections are a few characteristics that immediately come to mind. However, research shows that the small number of women who have risen to top positions in business often possess leadership traits quite different from those associated with successful men. Traditionally, in the business world, men have been given what social psychologists describe as broad “stylistic latitude” to operate as leaders using formal power, position and authority. Think of the post-World

War II U.S. corporation, where virtually all business executives were men. Corporations of that era were characterized by top-down, command-and-control organizational cultures, and lines of reporting authority strongly mirrored those of the military. It was the era of “the man in the gray flannel suit.” Women, when present in the workplace at all, were secretaries, typists and members of the night cleaning crew. Today, of course, command-and-control corporate cultures are in decline (and disrepute), workforces are increasingly diverse, and a growing number of women are entering the workforce every year. They also are scaling the corporate ladder in many corporations, though men still significantly outnumber women in leadership positions.

That said, when we think of leaders today, many images that come to mind remain distinctly male in nature. Our language is replete with phrases that reinforce the maleness of power and leadership. We speak of a company’s manpower requirements, the need of a leader to “command the troops” and to do battle with the business competition. A courageous leader is described as someone who “has balls.” An ethos of masculinity still permeates corporate organizational structures too. One speaks of the corporate “chain of command” and the “leadership line.” And business divisions sound eerily like the corporate equivalent of military units. Moreover, our society still evaluates men and women through different lenses. The male leader who acts decisively is described as no-nonsense, bold or visionary. A woman who demonstrates decisiveness, however, often endures perceptions that she is overly ambitious, brusque, imperious — and a bitch. Given this reality, women leaders today face dual challenges of being true to themselves and of navigating shifting gender expectations, social roles and evolving perceptions of what true leadership actually is. Through our research and experience, we’ve found that successful professional women do this by bridging the expectations we have of them as women and the expectations we have of them as leaders. They understand the “need” to balance assertiveness, ambition and drive with the display of certain other characteristics, including empathy, inclusiveness and a willingness to share power and the spotlight.

Fostering Inclusive Leadership Successful women leaders display confidence and an orientation toward results. At the same time, though, they engage others in their quests and see themselves as “first among equals” rather than the alpha dog. Successful female executives understand that success is usually the result of effective teamwork, borne of the efforts of many people working together to accomplish a common goal. Consequently, female leaders often downplay their personal contributions to the success of a team and focus more on the contributions of others. They also focus on including and engaging the voices of many as they facilitate discussions and drive collective decision-making. And while they can and do assert formal authority when necessary to “lead from the front of the room,” research shows they are more inclined to view leadership as a shared effort for which many people deserve credit. They appear to view confidence in the same light. When asked to describe their roles as leaders of teams, female leaders frequently talk less about their own contributions and leadership significance and more about the confidence they have in their team and organization. 46 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

During our research we spoke with the female CEO of a growing midsize company. She was the principal driver behind securing Wall Street backing for a major new business initiative her company decided to undertake. But when asked to describe the part she personally played in securing this backing, she spoke not of her role, but that of others. “We put together a plan we believed in so much that it was easy for us to go out there and market it,” she said. “To my team’s credit, we got the backing.” This CEO’s focus on inclusive leadership isn’t lost on the people she leads. One of her direct reports described her as a generous, self-effacing leader. “Our success was her success,” she said. “She didn’t need to personally claim credit. She took a holistic view and talked about ‘how our group did this.’ I think what makes her and other women bosses I’ve had great is their lack of ego.”

Sharing Power Executive women often express distaste for hierarchy and command-and-control organizational cultures. Consequently, they downplay hierarchy and their own formal positional power. They focus instead on distributing their authority to others and empowering direct reports, building tighter team engagement and alignment as a result.

Executive women often express distaste for hierarchy and command-and-control organizational cultures. Many female leaders share power with the intention of engaging and empowering their teams. However, Teri Kelly, president and CEO of W.L. Gore and Associates, sees distribution of power as a strategic business necessity, as well. When she emphasizes the need to maintain a culture of innovation in her company, she often asks leaders: “Are you willing to give up power to get results?” She takes the position that unless a leader (of any gender) displays trust and allows others to own and lead initiatives, an organization can’t successfully sustain a culture of innovation.

Sharing Credit Our research shows that just as female leaders often share power with others, they also share the credit for jobs well done. Take the case of one senior vice president of marketing for a major manufacturing firm who

had only been in her job eight months when an opportunity came along to take over a failing business unit. “I was dealing with a real mess,” she said. “The business was in trouble and losing money.” She wanted to take on the challenge of turning the unit’s operation around and saw it as a test of her leadership abilities. Of course, it also fed her ambition to get ahead in the organization, but she knew she couldn’t do it by herself. This woman eventually did turn the unit’s profitability around, but she didn’t claim credit all for herself. Instead, she pointed out to her boss and other stakeholders the major accomplishments of every person on her team. “Yes, I was the leader of the team, but I had a great group of people working on this,” she said. “We were fortunate in being able to turn it around, and it required hard work from all of us.”

had developed it for personal reasons and therefore was reluctant to turn over control to others. She also knew the company would not enter an agreement without the inventor’s approval. “I knew that if we talked with the inventor, helped him to understand what our company was about, and why we were the right partner, we’d be able to move discussions forward,” she said. So she flew across the country to meet personally with the inventor. She learned that he’d developed the drug to treat his son’s rare disease. She said to him, “This drug is your baby, and I want you to know that this would be our baby too. Unlike a very large company, we will treat this as our big product.” By putting herself in the shoes of the drug’s inventor, she won him over.

Engaging Team Members

Successful female leaders often take a holistic view to planning for the future. They see trends in vast amounts of data and recognize relationships and connections among seemingly unrelated facts. In her books “The Female Advantage” and “The Female Vision,” Helgesen contends that women have a broader, longer-term view compared with many men. Consequently, they may be uniquely suited at “getting on the balcony” — to use a term popularized by Ronald Heifetz, director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government — to see new problems and challenges coming before others do. Helgesen cites examples of women who saw the early signs of the 2008-09 financial crisis before others did, but they weren’t listened to because everyone was focusing on short-term profits.

Successful female leaders often take a holistic view to planning for the future.

Through research conducted by Talent Strategy Partners, we’ve found the most successful female executives take a highly collaborative approach to working with others. To this end, they engage direct reports with the goal of helping everyone feel like they are a true owner of projects, initiatives and enterprises. Female leaders also typically place a high priority on bringing a diverse range of views and perspectives to team discussions and group decision-making. They embrace an open and free-flowing communication style within teams that helps elicit optimal engagement from others and builds strong team consensus. By sharing power with others, collaborative female leaders create a “climate of alignment” to support optimal team engagement and results. Fostering what author Sally Helgesen describes as a “web of inclusion,” female leaders set the table for vigorous team decision-making and the robust vetting of alternative points of view. They also positively impact an organization’s culture by flattening hierarchies, building bridges across traditional functional silos, fostering trust, and creating informal as well as formal networks of collaboration and communication among people.

Using Empathy to Influence Others We often observe successful female leaders using empathy to influence others, ease tension, understand what others are feeling and build trust and rapport. We spoke with a female CEO of a biological sciences company who recalled a time when she convinced a smaller company to license its product (a drug) to her company. She discovered that the inventor of the drug

Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

Cultivate Influence by Reading Cues and Nuances of Organizational Culture One female coachee we worked with, the executive vice president of a major manufacturing company, was suddenly promoted into a new job that required her to supervise a business division with which she’d had no previous experience. Complicating matters, her predecessor had been booted from the job after only nine months after alienating a wide network of business stakeholders. As part of her coaching work, she took a full nine months to onboard herself into her new job. She went on an in-depth listening tour to fully understand her GENDER continued on page 52 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


Case Study



ast year, sales and service representatives from across Hyundai Motor dealerships had the opportunity to participate in a series of competitions to prove they knew more about each car and how to sell it than any of their peers. Over several months, thousands of reps from this $83 billion global automotive company competed in a series of “workarounds,” in which they presented a vehicle to a “customer,” explaining every feature and function starting with the hood and working back to the exhaust pipe. “We don’t just judge them on what they know but how they link the value of those features to a customer’s daily life,” said Jared Dowdy, senior manager of national sales training for Hyundai Motor America. The competitions laddered up from local, to regional, to national competitions with prize money awarded at each stage. Ultimately, the top two winners from each country — 136 reps in all — were invited to Hyundai headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, for a final global customer experience competition — the Hyundai Global CX Championship.

Raw Emotion Beats Boring Text The automotive industry has a long history of using workarounds to identify its highest performers. It’s a way to celebrate their sales strategy and reward them with recognition and cash prizes. This year’s national winners each took home $10,000. However, Hyundai sees these competitions as more than just a chance to glorify its best sales The Hyundai Global CX Championship in Seoul, South Korea. Photo courtesy of Bridge LT. reps. They provide the company with a compelling learning opportunity that you just can’t get in a classroom, Dowdy said. Every year all of the sales reps need to be trained on every unique feature in a new lineup of cars, and those features can quickly blur together. “At some point, it just becomes white noise,” he said. “But seeing their peers talk about the features differently than they would, and the raw emotion and passion they show for 48 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

SNAPSHOT Hyundai is using a sales competition to capture and share best practices with dealerships around the globe.

the product, can be an amazing learning experience.” Instead of rattling off a list of facts, they see how the best reps engage with customers and get them excited about how this car will change their lives. In 2018, Hyundai took this learning opportunity one step further by integrating virtual reality, artificial intelligence and custom apps into the global round, as well as adding a service competition to the program. “Sales and service are usually siloed in the automotive industry,” said Vlad Shishkaryov, CEO of Bridge Learning Technologies, the management consultancy that created the technology for the competition. Lack of communication between the two teams can cause customer service to suffer. “Integrating sales and service into the same competition and having them involved at the same time in some rounds is helping to break down those silos,” Shishkaryov said. Traditionally, competitors in the final competition would complete a series of written tests, then participate in role-playing scenarios that were judged by company leaders. This format presented some obvious challenges, explained Judy Carney, Bridge LT’s project manager. With competitors coming from all over the world, language translation created a potential for bias in judging. Even when live role-playing scenarios were eventually translated, they often lost the passion, detail and cultural elements that shaped the real-life presentation, forcing judges to assess a written version rather than the live event. It also made it harder to share those presentations as learning tools.

Leveling the Playing Field With Bridge LT’s help, Hyundai reformatted the competition to reflect real-life scenarios that sales and service reps would encounter, then used AI and apps to “level the playing field,” Carney said. In the first round, which was completed prior to arriving in Seoul, com-

petitors used the app to create video responses to 25 structured interview questions about the new vehicle models and various sales scenarios. They had no information about the questions prior to opening the app and had just a few minutes to read each question and complete their responses. The submissions were then uploaded, translated, transcribed and delivered to the judges to be assessed. The app is capable of translating responses in 20 different languages. “The translations meant every judge could review every competitor’s responses, and the best practices they captured could be shared with dealerships worldwide,” Shishkaryov said.

A Very Stern English Lady The next two rounds of the final competition took place at Hyundai Motor studio in Seoul. “It was like the Oscars for the car industry,” said Jason Hearn, a sales rep from South Carolina who made it to the finals. “We all felt very important.” Before entering the studio, the reps all had to surrender their phones and cameras to protect the secrecy of the event, which included a detailed model of a 2020 Hyundai. The competitors were then split into groups of sales and service reps where they were quizzed on the history of the brand and features in the vehicles, and discussed appropriate responses to different scenarios. The final round involved role-plays — the highest stress element of the contest. Each competitor was brought into a room with a vehicle and an actor acting out a predefined sales or service scenario. The competitors, who had no idea what was going to happen, had to respond on-the-fly as judges observed. “There were cameras everywhere,” said Hearn. “It was like the paparazzi were watching us.” All role-plays were uploaded to a server, which delivered instant translations that were made available for the judges to review in real time. “It didn’t matter where the judges were from, everyone could judge everyone,” Shishkaryov said. “It created a lot more transparency.” Using technology to capture the events transforms the competition into a learning opportunity for the whole company, Carney said. “Instead of just handing out awards and going home, we are able to put the experiences into a usable format that can be embedded into Hyundai’s learning process.” In Hearn’s scenario, he was told that a sales rep called in sick and he had to complete handover of a new car to an irate customer played by Carney, who Hearn described as “a very stern English lady.” “I was trying to push people into uncomfortable situations to test how they would perform,” Carney laughed. “So I said, ‘This is ridiculous!’ a lot.” In the scenario her new car hadn’t yet been washed, her second key was missing, and Carney was already late

to an appointment. As Carney berated him, Hearn used tools he learned in his previous life as a corrections officer to empathize with her situation and meet her needs. Using soothing tones, he reassured her that the car would be ready soon, offered her a loaner to attend her appointment, and said he’d wash the car himself. “She was still stern, but I solved the problem,” Hearn said. In the second scenario, he had to demonstrate the features on a new Hyundai electric car to a VIP guest, even though he’d never seen the car before and knew nothing about it. He noted that some competitors in this round gave up in frustration, but he was willing to wing it using what he knew about past hybrid models and identifying features as he spotted them. “These kinds of situations happen in real life,” he said. “You just have to go with it.”

More Than a Competition These are the kinds of best practices Dowdy is excited to show to the rest of his salespeople. “Being able to capture these moments and share them online is powerful,” he said. “Watching these role-plays will be a lot more impactful for them than reading about the features in a workbook.” Dowdy’s team is now in the process of curating the best videos from the app and the role-plays to share via the company’s online learning library. He believes this kind of real-life raw content is a valuable addition to the 21 full-time trainers who work with reps at 636 dealerships around the country. “They don’t have time to be everywhere,” he said. He also plans to use the app as a learning platform where reps can submit questions about sales scenarios or new products and get instant feedback from the coaches. “It’s all part of Hyundai’s commitment to continuous improvement,” Shishkaryov said. The sales reps are motivated to learn about the products and new sales strategies so they can compete in the workarounds, then their best practices can be shared with the rest of the company to foster a culture of continuous learning. “The sales reps love the opportunity to showcase what they do, and this gives them another incentive to create learning content that others can benefit from.” Dowdy said this example is a lesson that with the right technology and a little inspiration, learning leaders can find opportunities to capture best practices throughout the company — in coaching sessions, competitions and sales events. The key, added Shishkaryov, is to look for ways that technology can help companies create a more dynamic and inspiring learning experience. “The possibilities in this field are only limited by our imagination.” CLO Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in Chicago. She can be reached at Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


Business Intelligence

Social Learning: An Ongoing Experiment Social learning buy-in may require rethinking what is being measured to assess impact.


sychologist Albert Bandura’s social learning theory suggests that people learn from one another through observation, imitation and modeling. In a famous series of experiments to demonstrate his theory, Bandura studied children’s behavior after they watched a human adult model act aggressively toward a Bobo doll — a toy with a rounded bottom that returns to an upright position after it has been knocked down. The experiments showed that children who were exposed to the aggressive model were more likely to show aggressive behavior themselves. It’s a compelling theory, and many organizations incorporate social learning into their learning and development function, especially with the growing array of technologies available today to facilitate such learning. According to data from the Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board, 75 percent of surveyed L&D professionals have adopted — fully or to some extent — social learning technologies into their learning strategy (Figure 1). Among the most adopted technologies are secure instant messaging, discussion forums, video channels, online shared work spaces and internal blogs. The Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board is a group of 1,500 professionals in the L&D industry who have agreed to be surveyed by the Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group, the research and advisory arm of Chief Learning Officer magazine. Interestingly, the top motivators cited for using social learning technologies are more abstract than tangible. More than 60 percent of respondents said creating and supporting a culture of

50 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

learning in their organization was a driving factor (Figure 2). Forty-seven percent cited encouraging collaboration and 42 percent said increasing learner engagement was a motivator. Only 17 percent cited cutting costs related to other delivery methods, a more concrete outcome. The intangible nature of these top motivators makes them harder to quantify. Among the challenges survey respondents noted when implementing social learning technologies were difficulty measuring the impact of those technologies on the business, buy-in from leadership and worries about employees “wasting time” (Figure 3). These challenges may help explain why 25 percent of respondents’ organizations do not incorporate any social learning technologies into their learning strategy. However, perhaps a shift in business metric focus could provide more compelling evidence for gaining leadership buy-in for social learning. Currently, learning leaders are dedicating efforts toward measuring increased learner engagement and transactional data versus on-the-job application of knowledge gained through social learning, productivity metrics, knowledge retention and cost savings (Figure 4). The ability of social learning technologies to provide on-demand access to real-time discussion, training, support and expertise, as well as foster on-the-job learning through communities of practice, make them a valuable asset and well worth the effort to gain buy-in on their behalf. CLO Ashley St. John Is Chief Learning Officer’s managing editor. She can be reached at

Figures’ Source: Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board, N=500. All percentages rounded.




To some extent










Create and support a learning culture

Encourage collaboration and innovation


Increase learner engagement


Increase transfer of learning to the job




Create Connect communities of employees to practice experts in organization




Reach a Rapid information Enhance Connect broader exchange classroom or employees to audience in between virtual classroom peers/ organization employees learning solution mentors


Cut costs related to other delivery methods


51% 42%

Adoption by employees

Difficulty measuring impact on business


Time necessary to manage communities and forums

Buy-in from leadership about value of social learning



Worries about employees “wasting time”

Concerns about security


34% 27%




18% 11%

Increased Transactional data learner (page views, engagement comments)

Learner satisfaction

Enhancement of Increased On-the-job learning culture innovation and application of collaboration knowledge gained

Productivity metrics

Knowledge retention

Cost savings

Decreased error rate, less rework

Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •


HEALTHY LEARNING continued from page 43

GENDER continued from page 47

The results of the pilot were positive. Nurse managers gave the overall quality of in-person sessions a score of 4.75 out of 5. They rated the direct application of content to the job at 4.85, and when asked how strongly participants would recommend the content to other nurse managers, the result was 4.95 out of 5. Nurse managers’ comfort level with using leadership skills before the program averaged 2.75. After completing the program, this rose 1.15 points to an impressive 3.9 out of 5. Their overall knowledge of the covered topics rose, too. The nurse managers’ improvement in knowledge acquisition rose from a 2.75 average before the program to 4.25 after completion.

division’s business operations, to meet customers and to begin the process of articulating a new business strategy for her unit. But she only did this after gathering extensive input from a wide variety of stakeholders and developing a set of actionable insights. This woman took time to fully immerse herself in her new business role, connect with others, foster trust and build critical social capital with many people. Now three years into her job, she’s built an organization characterized by high levels of team morale, employee engagement and strategic departmental alignment.

Inspiration Outside Health Care There are other industries health care L&D leaders can look to for potential learning solutions, including retail. One large retailer set up a certification program that allows its stockers who want to become cashiers, or cashiers who want to become managers, to take courses at a kiosk in the store on their own time to achieve certification. When a slot opens up for promotion, they’re already certified. Health care can use the same model for medical assistants who either want to progress to more senior medical assistant roles or move into nursing or nutrition. While they still need formal training, such as through a community college or vocational program, increased accessibility to learning and clear learning paths are a great way to increase retention and make the career journey distinct. “Retail is a big one,” Hall said. “But we also look to professional services like the EYs and KPMGs of the world because of the compliance and regulatory limits those types of firms have to abide by with their licensure regulatory and compliance issues. But really any industry with a distributed environment can be a good corporate model for us in health care.” Learner experience in digital wins over everything else, Hall said. “Moving the dial even just a little bit is huge for our caregivers. Just a little difference is highly impactful, and we can measure it, then iterate and operationalize moving forward.” Health care organizations looking to move to a new state of readiness, retention and attraction with their learning, who want to create a daily habit of learning for their staff and move the organization forward, can look to digital steps to enact learning visions for the future that will help control costs, enact change management for the organization and satisfy learners. CLO Nicole Bunselmeyer is a senior business executive with Seattle-based corporate learning and development company Intrepid by VitalSource. She can be reached at 52 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

Displaying Self-Awareness Perhaps because they’ve often experienced exclusion by others, women who make it to the top of organizations have a keen sense for how others perceive them. The most successful women seem able to then to adjust their interactions or personal presentation to best connect with others. One senior vice president of a technology company explained it this way: “I’ve learned that I sometimes intimidate people with my enthusiasm and my ‘justgo-for-it’ attitude. So I pay particular attention to how people respond to me. If I determine I’m blowing them away, I dial it back so they don’t shut down and they can hear what I’m saying to them.”

Putting Others at Ease Ranking in importance with empathy, women who lead successfully have the ability to be nonintimidating and relateable despite their professional mastery, formal position and aggressive pursuit of goals. They make their work colleagues feel smart with them rather than intimidated by them. They assume people can keep up with them, and by doing so, they avoid any air of superiority. In essence, they work to make others comfortable. Women who are masterful at putting others at ease use humor, emotional intelligence and “interpersonal versatility” to work through conflicts and to create friendly, supportive situations among colleagues, and even rivals, in their workplace. One CEO we know says humor is her most important asset for successfully leading her organization. Another CEO focuses on making visiting executives feel like guests in her home. She makes sure there are refreshments and a comfortable space before launching into heavy-duty negotiations that can get tense and stall. One senior COO travels constantly, keeping tabs on overseas operations. “I’m the big boss when I arrive on the scene, so people naturally feel a bit uptight,” she said. “I am direct, but I always try to ‘massage’ things so people don’t clam up.” She cites a trip to her company’s operations in India where

problems had occurred. While there, she vigorously inquired about what had gone wrong and what was being done to fix things. However, she said, “I also acknowledged my employees’ embarrassment and regret that they hadn’t gotten the job done. I did that because I wanted them to know I understood how they felt. It was one of those situations that required me to exercise emotional intelligence.”

Critical Leadership Qualities for All While the leadership attributes we’ve identified are characteristic of the most successful female leaders in business today, we’d argue that they actually transcend gender and should be the focus of cultivation by male and female leaders alike. The reasons are clear: Business leaders today lead highly diverse multigenerational teams and workforces. The markets for their products are equally diverse. Developing empathy, intuition, strong relational skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence are thus critical leadership qualities for individuals to possess in exercising clear leadership vision and maximizing their influence


with direct reports, colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. Additionally, leaders today are faced with a plethora of adaptive leadership challenges — problems that haven’t been encountered before. Addressing such issues requires agile, adaptable and imaginative leaders who can exercise personal influence and impact through other people — often people unlike themselves. This is most effectively accomplished by executives who are visionary and inclusive, who can see business issues from a variety of perspectives, who foster wide-ranging dialogue as part of team decision-making, and who optimize trust and engagement of others by encouraging all voices around the table, regardless of gender, to speak and contribute. CLO

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The Workplace Self-Training Paradigm Some responsibility for L&D has shifted from employer to worker • DAVID BLAKE


David Blake is co-founder and executive chairman of Degreed and co-author of “The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed” with Kelly Palmer. He can be reached at editor@

uch has been made of the abbreviation of employment tenure, now averaging just four years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it’s true, the notion of a mortarboard-to-gold-watch career has been largely replaced by at-will employment, outsourcing and automation. Educating workers for lifelong careers has been disrupted by the searing pace of change. But there’s something else happening that tends to get short shrift in the discussion about this new career normal. Some responsibility for learning and development has shifted from corporations to workers. Traditionally, a graduate in an entry-level corporate job could expect a clear learning program and career path. Expertise was accumulated over years or decades as they moved up the ranks. Today, the shelf life of useful expertise is so short that even the best corporate L&D departments can’t reskill existing staff at the pace their organizations need. And with unemployment the lowest it’s been in decades, corporations can’t easily hire expertise from the outside, either. To cope with this double-whammy, some employers are moving away from the command-and-control training model of the past. Now, instead of exclusively organizing internal skills development, corporations are also encouraging employees to steer their own development. Airbnb, Intel and Mastercard, for example, equip staff with a diverse set of learning resources, career navigation tools and mentor networks, while New York Life and GitHub provide flexible budgets employees can spend on books, courses and learning tools of their choosing. Tim Munden, chief learning officer of Unilever, identified this in his “The Future of Work” podcast: “The individual is fundamentally responsible for driving their learning. You cannot force people to learn. They’ve got to be hungry, and [the job of employers] is to create a culture that encourages that curiosity and that hunger.” Mind you, this isn’t the first time that responsibilities have shifted from employers to workers. Previously, fixed-pension benefit guarantees became employee retirement contribution plans. Employer-sponsored health care became co-pay plans. Even responsibility for IT shifted with “bring your own device” policies. As a result, some workers found themselves unprepared and shorthanded, while others reaped the rewards of increased access and involvement. To mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of the new workplace self-training paradigm, employees

54 Chief Learning Officer • May 2019 •

need to stake a claim in their own expertise development. Here’s how you can help them do so. First, encourage them to think of reskilling as a game — one they now have more control over winning. Learning channels are more diverse and accessible than before, and new opportunities emerge quickly.

Education of workers for stable, lifelong careers has been disrupted by the searing pace of change. Next, help workers manage their skills with regular checkups to evaluate their current expertise against market conditions. Encourage them to study industry growth areas and marketplace job openings to learn where expertise is lacking and monitor corporate newsletters and town hall broadcasts for trends in the expertise that employers are seeking. You can then help them evaluate where they are falling behind or where attractive adjacencies to their existing skills exist. You also can help them plan out their skills development in incremental stages. A full-time degree isn’t the only way to progress. They can start slowly by consuming articles, books, podcasts and how-to videos on a daily or weekly basis. Advance to a short online course, seminar or boot camp every few months. Then round out their abilities with a stretch work assignment or a comprehensive certificate. Finally, work with employees to pinpoint opportunities to put their new skills into action. The L&D department can provide a system of record that identifies and validates skills that employees have developed on their own, allowing them to be top-of-mind among decision-makers when opportunities to use those skills arise. In this new expertise economy, skills are the currency of competition. Workers who take their own expertise development seriously today will be the big winners of the reskilling game in years to come. CLO

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