June 2017 | CLOmedia.com
Defense Acquisition University 2017 Learning Organization of the Year
DAUâ€™s Jim Woolsey
Leaders of the LearningElite - DAU: Focused Flexibility - PwC: Building Leaders Nationwide: Learning Advantage - Vi: Living and Learning - Western Union: Eyes on the Future
LEARNING. LEADERSHIP. IMPACT. PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program The PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program is celebrating ten years at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education which has been ranked #3 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 rankings for graduate schools of education. This Executive Doctoral Program is designed to advance the profession of learning leaders. It prepares the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) and other senior-level human capital executives for success in their role as learning and talent development leaders. The program provides a rigorous academic environment where members build the skills necessary to ensure successful learning initiatives that will align with their organization’s strategy. To earn the Doctorate of Education conferred by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, students complete six course blocks comprising: Strategic Leadership, Workplace Learning, Business Acumen, Evidence-Based Decision Making, Technology for Work-Based Learning and the final dissertation block.
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Defining Elite Learning
or a long time, Defense Acquisition University was notoriety an organization the size of DAU would northe best learning organization you’d never heard of. mally get is a sign they’re not doing their job right. After No longer. With its ranking at the top of the 2017 list all, nobody takes notice when a government contract of the Chief Learning Officer LearningElite organizations, successfully stays within its spending parameters. People DAU is simply the best learning organization, period. do notice, however, when the opposite happens. DAU joins AT&T, General Mills, Accenture, QualSo what makes DAU the best? In part, it’s the scale of comm and Vanguard as the only learning organizations to what the university does. It serves a global workforce have achieved the ranking of No. 1. spread across the federal government and deep within the To be clear, DAU isn’t truly an unknown player. Since Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. In 2016, DAU delivwe established the LearningElite program in 2011 to rec- ered a staggering 6.9 million hours of development. ognize the best organizations for employee learning and It’s also due to DAU’s ability to thrive in a complex development, DAU has ranked at or near the top, placing environment, working with dozens of federal agencies on as high as No. 2 and never outside the top 10. a variety of significant issues from workforce development Its relative anonymity isn’t a result of diminutive size or and skill building to leadership development and perforstature either. DAU serves a population of 150,000 em- mance management. ployees, putting it on par with some of the largest Fortune That’s not to mention DAU’s ability to adapt in the 100 companies out there. face of a rapidly changing geopolitical environment. Nor is it for lack of recognition that DAU hasn’t be- When the North Koreans lob a volley of ballistic missiles come a household name. Over the past 15 years, the orga- into the Sea of Japan over the weekend, DAU workers are nization has racked up 65 individual and organizational back at work on Monday making sure leaders at the Misawards for excellence from the likes of Chief Learning Offi- sile Defense Agency continue to have the training they cer, the Association for Talent Development and the Bran- need to respond. don Hall Group among others. But what truly sets DAU apart is the team. Meet anyone from DAU and it’s immediately clear they’re the real deal. No matter their level in the organization, from the university president on down, they share a common set of values and a deep understanding and passion for their mission. DAU has succeeded in creating that thing that is so difficult for many to build: a genuine and sustainable culture of learning. Best in the broader sense is consistency, curiosity and a voracious need to learn and improve. That’s what sets DAU apart and defines every elite learning organization Despite that sustained record of success, DAU has featured in this issue whether they are No. 1 or No. 61. managed to fly under the radar. In fact, unless you work Each has met the critical benchmarks in leadership for a federal contractor or military supplier, it’s entirely commitment, strategy, execution, learning impact and possible you’ve never heard of this year’s top-ranked orga- business performance results. But each also retains a hunnization for learning and development before today. ger and focus on continuous improvement and the restless That’s in part due to the nature of the work DAU does. spirit needed to keep improving. The 150,000-strong acquisition workforce at the U.S. DeIn the end, that’s what makes DAU and the other orgapartment of Defense rarely makes headlines or earns a nizations in this issue the best at what they do. CLO mention in the newspaper. Day in, day out, they tirelessly acquire the tools and technology the nation’s military needs to carry out its mission, undertaking tasks as simple and inexpensive as stocking the office supply room with pens and pencils, and complicated endeavors like overseeing multibillion dollar, multiyear contracts for sophisti- Mike Prokopeak cated jets and massive naval ships. Editor in Chief Some would even argue that the kind of front-page mikep@CLOmedia.com
Achievement is just one step along the way for the best organizations in learning and development.
4 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
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JUNE 2017 | VOLUME 16, ISSUE 5 PRESIDENT John R. Taggart jrtag@CLOmedia.com VICE PRESIDENT, CFO, COO Kevin A. Simpson ksimpson@CLOmedia.com VICE PRESIDENT, GROUP PUBLISHER Clifford Capone ccapone@CLOmedia.com VICE PRESIDENT, EDITOR IN CHIEF Mike Prokopeak mikep@CLOmedia.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Rick Bell rbell@CLOmedia.com GROUP EDITOR/ASSOCIATE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Kellye Whitney kwhitney@CLOmedia.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Frank Kalman fkalman@CLOmedia.com ASSOCIATE EDITORS Andie Burjek aburjek@CLOmedia.com
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DIGITAL COORDINATOR Mannat Mahtani mmahtani@CLOmedia.com LIST MANAGER Mike Rovello firstname.lastname@example.org BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION MANAGER Melanie Lee mlee@CLOmedia.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rick Bell Josh Bersin Andie Burjek Dave Defilippo Lauren Dixon Michael E. Echols Sarah Fister Gale Bravetta Hassell Frank Kalman Sarah Kimmel Mia Mancini Patricia Overland Jack J. Phillips Patti P. Phillips Camaron Santos Evan Sinar Ian Stewart Gregg Thompson Rich Wellins Randall P. White Kellye Whitney
CHIEF LEARNING OFFICER EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Cushing Anderson, Program Director, Learning Ser vices, IDC Frank J. Anderson Jr., ( Ret.) President, Defense Acquisition Universit y Cedric Coco, EVP, Chief People Of ficer, Brookdale Senior Living Inc. Lisa Doyle, Vice President, Learning and Development, Lowe’s Cos. Inc. Tamar Elkeles, Chief Talent Executive, Atlantic Bridge Capital Thomas Evans, ( Ret.) Chief Learning Of ficer, PricewaterhouseCoopers Ted Henson, Senior Strategist, Oracle Gerry Hudson-Martin, Director, Corporate Learning Strategies, Business Architects Kimo Kippen, Chief Learning Of ficer, Hilton Worldwide Rob Lauber, Vice President, Chief Learning Of ficer, McDonald’s Corp. Maj. Gen. Erwin F. Lessel, ( Ret.) U.S. Air Force, Director, Deloit te Consulting Justin Lombardo, ( Ret.) Chief Learning Of ficer, Baptist Health Adri Maisonet-Morales, Vice President, Enterprise Learning and Development, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Alan Malinchak, CEO, Éclat Transitions LLC and STRATactical LLC Lee Maxey, CEO, MindMax Jeanne C. Meister, Author and Independent Learning Consultant 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 Annette Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Of ficer, Farmers Insurance David Vance, Executive Director, Center for Talent Repor ting Kevin D. Wilde, Executive Leadership Fellow, Carlson School of Management, Universit y of Minnesota Chief Learning Officer (ISSN 1935-8148) is published monthly, except bi-monthly in January/February and November/December by MediaTec Publishing Inc., 111 E. Wacker Dr., Suite 1200, 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 12 issues. All countries outside the US and Canada must be prepaid in US funds with an additional $33 postage surcharge. Single price copy is $29.95 Chief Learning Officer and CLOmedia.com are the trademarks of MediaTec Publishing Inc. Copyright © 2016, MediaTec Publishing Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of material published in Chief Learning Officer is forbidden without permission. Printed by: Quad/Graphics, Sussex, WI
Best of the Best Many of this year’s LearningElite organizations customize to make the most of their learning investments.
60 Case Study A Seamless Transition Sarah Fister Gale Emerson Electric is helping new leaders focus and improve productivity in the first crucial days on the job.
62 Business Intelligence Leadership Skill Gap Truths Evan Sinar and Rich Wellins Five skills link prominently to bottom-line returns like net profits and return on assets. ON THE COVER: PHOTO BY WILL BYINGTON
8 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
18 19 26
10 BUSINESS IMPACT
Sarah Kimmel Best practices are good. But the top LearningElite organizations believe in customizing their learning investments.
Michael E. Echols Between Recruiting and Development
12 BEST PRACTICES
LearningElite List The final ranking of this year’s 61 top companies for L&D.
Josh Bersin How Do You Define Digital Learning?
The Top Ten
Editorial Staff These companies show why they’re at the top of the learning heap.
Jack & Patti Philips Show Them the Money
16 ON THE FRONT LINE
David DeFilippo Be a First Line Manager
When a Manager Shouldn’t Coach
66 IN CONCLUSION
Patricia Overland Whether leaders are focused on their own development or they’re determined to help others to grow, coaching should be thoughtfully and carefully applied — or not done at all.
Answer the Call for Authentic Leadership Randall P. White The best way to answer the call for authentic leadership is to redefine the term. Refocus it on how accurately individuals understand themselves, perceive situations and assess their environment.
Gregg Thompson 7 Ways to Create a Coaching Culture
Resources 4 Editor’s Letter
Defining Elite Learning
65 Advertisers’ Index
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Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Between Recruiting and Development These two silos are the reason there is a war for talent • BY MICHAEL E. ECHOLS
T Michael E. Echols is principal and founder of Human Capital LLC and author of “Your Future Is Calling.” To comment, email editor@ CLOmedia.com.
he U.S. government scanned job posting sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder and identified more than 43,000 job titles companies are seeking to fill. As of Jan. 10, 2017, the Department of Labor reported 5.5 million job openings in the U.S. economy. As a learning leader you might be asking: “So what? I’m in charge of training not recruiting.” Well, let’s examine that “so what.” The challenge for your organization is to have the skills it needs to successfully compete in the global market, to provide the products and services your customers want. There are only two ways for your organization to acquire those skills. To use a manufacturing metaphor, you can buy them or build them. These represent the two action options in talent management, recruit or develop. Because the talent issue has become so critical to performance for our companies, most medium to large enterprises have specialized talent departments. One of the functions is learning and development, the other is recruiting and retention. Paradoxically, I have never
The war for talent is won with resources. With recruiting falling short, development is the only game in town. met an executive with a title combining the two, like: “recruiting and development” or “development and retention.” It’s nonsensical, really. Consider, the Gallup Organization has hundreds of thousands of data points on the importance of providing employees with the opportunity to learn and grow as one of the most important factors impacting their retention. But I would be willing to wager that retention is not one of the key performance indicators discussed in the learning organization’s performance review. Worse, this fragmentation of critical talent strategy is only one part of the puzzle. Of greater importance in the face of proliferating job titles and massive numbers of unfilled positions is the issue of what organizations are really trying to accomplish with their talent strate10 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
gies. I would argue the real objective is not described by commonly used verbs like: to hire, to recruit, to develop, to train, to retain. These “to do” verbs are dictated by job scope precisely because of the complexity of the environment our organizations operate in today. These verbs are actually a reductionist attempt to manage that complexity. They are actually a means to an end, not ends in and of themselves. The real objective is to have the talent required today and tomorrow. With that objective in mind, let’s return to the 43,000 job titles and 5.5 million open positions. The job titles and related position descriptions define a talent demand function. Some subset of this vast job posting pool is what you and your organization’s competitors are looking for in the labor market. On the other hand, the 5.5 million unfilled positions reflect the supply side of this talent market supply-demand equation. All of this brings us back to the original question: “So what?” From a broad strategic perspective, viewing talent and skills in the context of sufficient supply to have what’s needed for today and tomorrow, we return to the buy or build, recruit or develop part of the talent equation. What the aforementioned U.S. Department of Labor data tells us is that the fragmentation of skills (43,000) and the massive scope of unfilled positions (5.5 million) are not being adequately fulfilled by recruiters’ actions. There is only one other option available, to develop the talent and skills required in an organization’s existing workforce. One implication of the “so what” question, one your learning and development organization might want to discuss with senior management, is that the big data we examined here is ultimately about resource allocation. It is clear from the supply-demand discussion that recruitment is not a right now or even a wholly right solution. And with 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, it’s even less likely to be a complete solution for tomorrow, particularly as a means to obtain the talent and skills organizations need. In the end, this is about your budget. Data shows that more resources are required to win the war for talent. With recruiting falling short, development is the only game in town. The key will be to connect the dots between recruiting and development, and the resulting dotted line is the answer to the original “so what” question. CLO
How Do You Define Digital Learning?
Hint: It’s not the tools. It’s about integrating them into the work environment • BY JOSH BERSIN
E Josh Bersin is founder of Bersin, known as Bersin by Deloitte, and a principal with Deloitte Consulting. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia. com.
verything at work is digital: recruiting, performance management, onboarding, wellness programs and of course learning. As we look at the work required to build an effective digital learning environment at work, it’s turning out to be much harder than we thought. Over the past 15 years we’ve dealt with e-learning, blended learning, social learning, 70-20-10, MOOCs, video learning and microlearning. Now we have artificial intelligence and cognitive tools making learning more intelligent and prescriptive than ever. Is digital learning all of this stuff? Think about it from the employees’ perspective. “Meet the Modern Learner,” research we released in November 2014, shows that employees have about 20 minutes a week to learn, and even that time is often interrupted. That stat is a bit old, but a client told me recently “even TED talks are now too long for our people; they don’t have eight minutes at a time to learn.” Digital learning means bringing this together in a format that fits today’s digital world of work. All great learning organizations should deliver learning solutions through simulations, collaboration, meeting other people and learning from experts. So, digital learning is not all digital, but it should take advantage of digital tools in an integrated way. Essentially, embed “just enough learning” into your digital work environment, and offer employees access to: • An easy-to-use portal that recommends content and shows what other employees use to learn in their business function. Vendors like Degreed, EdCast and Pathgather provide these capabilities.
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World-class external content FIGURE 1: EVOLUTION OF L&D for technical or professional From Content-centric to topics. Vendors like Lynda. Continuous and com, Skillsoft, Grovo, Udacity, Experience-centric Udemy, NovoEd, SkillShare 2001 E-Learning & Blended and others offer this. Rich catalog online • Options to advance their career university via a nanodegree course in a Instructional design new topic or field. Vendors like Kirkpatrick Udacity and edX offer this. E-learning simulations, • Ways to publish their own convirtual classroom tent — blogs, videos and more LMS as e-learning — to share with peers. platform • Books, reference materials, research and analysis to help 2005 Talent Management employees stay current. Books Learning paths role-based 24x7, O’Reilly, Bersin by Deloitte [Editor’s note: Author is Career curricula social learning founder of Bersin], and others Blended learning offer this. Is there an LMS in the picture? LMS as talent platform Of course. No matter how you 2010 Continuous Learning stitch this together you should have Video takes off a learning system of record. But the self-authored content LMS is no longer the center of 70-20-10 content learning; it has become a “learning experience record store.” Content management Our new research, “High-Imtaxonomy pact Learning Organizations, 2017,” LMS as experience shows the learning profession is in platform the middle of a minor crisis; em2016 Continuous Embedded ployees give L&D a net promoter Microlearning video, score of minus-15, not highly recembedded ommended. This likely is because Job relevant career the digital workplace appeared faster relevant than expected, and it’s taking time Curation, social, to build the next-generation soluanalytics driven tions employees expect. LMS is invisible Build your digital learning (Where is the LMS?) strategy now. Consider hiring a 2020 Digital Learning consultant or building a small Employee-directed team and establish what is a modintelligent ern, compelling digital experience machine-driven for that group. You’ll be able to Digital learning learn a lot, and position yourself experience for the explosive digital learning opportunities ahead. CLO •
Show Them the Money
Many business metrics are already profitable • BY JACK J. PHILLIPS AND PATTI P. PHILLIPS
Jack J. Phillips is the chairman, and Patti P. Phillips is president and CEO of the ROI Institute. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com.
how me the money. Monetize this. Turn it into dollars. Executives often use these expressions when presented with data where the value is unclear. Converting data to money is one way executives can understand problems and opportunities more clearly. If it’s a problem, such as excessive customer complaints, the annual cost of complaints will get their attention. If it’s an opportunity, such as an investment in job engagement, team building or improved communications, the monetary value will help make the investment decision. This is not a new concept. The phrase “show me the money” was popularized in the 1996 movie “Jerry McGuire” — and represents the title of a book we published 10 years ago — but the concept has been evolving for many years. The issue becomes important when budgets are under scrutiny or when funds are scarce. According to “The Promising State of Human Capital Analytics,” a 2016 report from the Institute for Corporate Productivity, ROI Institute and the Center for Talent Reporting, converting data to monetary value is also one of the five types of human capital analytics projects. [Editor’s note: The authors founded the ROI Institute.] Let’s look at some examples. Show the value of employee engagement is a common request. To understand the value, engagement could link to other measures or impacts that can be converted to money easily. The key is to link the “hard to value” measure, like engagement, to a measure that is easy to value, like retention.
Converting data to money is one way executives can understand problems and opportunities more clearly. Typically, job engagement has been linked to gross productivity, or revenue per employee, sales, quality, safety, retention and customer satisfaction. The challenge is to find the mathematical relationship that represents both a significant correlation and causation. When this is accomplished and operationalized, it shows 14 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
the value of investing in improvements in this measure. This is often beyond the scope of L&D, but usually involves the human capital analytics team. Executives sometimes ask how to convert leadership development, coaching or team building into money. To do this, examine the impact of those processes. We’re not monetizing leadership development; we’re monetizing the impact of using leadership competencies. The impact could be any type of measure such as productivity, sales, errors, accidents or turnover that can be converted to money. If it’s an important measure, such as customer satisfaction, absenteeism or retention, it probably already has been converted to money. Then, it’s a matter of finding the individuals who developed the value; start by locating where the measure is captured. If the measure is customer complaints, the customer care department will have the value. If it’s absenteeism, it’s probably in the payroll department. The point is, there is a group or an individual who captures the data, and they may have already addressed the issue. If employee turnover is a problem or opportunity, executives will need a credible value for it. Calculating the cost is not difficult; tabulate the costs associated with having an employee leave and be replaced. Unfortunately, it takes resources to develop a credible value, often causing us to look for other ways to obtain the monetary value. Employee turnover is a classic research topic, and it’s easy to find turnover costs in literature. For instance, one might use a database such as eric.ed.gov. About 80 percent of measures that matter have been converted to money. And of the roughly 20 percent of measures remaining, approximately 10 percent have probably been converted by other organizations with a credible value. Another 5 percent of measures can be converted to money if the organization is willing to allocate the resources to do it. The remaining 5 percent are concepts that probably cannot be converted to money credibly with a reasonable amount of resources. These are the intangibles. Leadership development, management development, team building or other soft skills, can be pushed to the impact level and converted to money for an ROI calculation. If this conversion is beyond the scope of what you want to do, you have a choice. You can leave it as an intangible or suggest that resources be allocated to convert it to money. CLO
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ON THE FRONT LINE
Be a First Line Manager
Understanding team management first hand can have lasting career impact • BY DAVE DeFILIPPO
O Dave DeFilippo is the chief learning officer for Suffolk Construction. To comment, email editor@ CLOmedia.com.
ne of the most valuable early career experiences I had was as a first line manager. I’d completed this job rotation in a highly operational environment where results were reported and evaluated at the close of every day. Gaining this familiarity with managing people and output was instructive for two reasons. First, first line managers have a significant amount of leverage on performance. Next, a litmus test for learning solutions is their relevance for and usability by this important group. It’s a lesson I haven’t forgotten. According to “The Leadership Pipeline Model” by Stephen Drotter, Ram Charan and James Noel, I was evolving from being an individual contributor to a team leader, and my progress was measured by team performance. During my transition to this role, my soon-to-be former manager gave me advice that did not make sense to me at the time, but has proven invaluable over the course of my career: “Make your people successful and everything else will come together.” I strongly recommend that learning specialists in the early to midstages of their career spend time in a first line management role outside of human resources. It’s a great opportunity to supervise employees who interact with clients, to use the processes and tools HR provides, and it can inform your approach to designing and implementing learning solutions. While I graduated from that role more than 25 years ago, I regularly draw from those experiences in my current role as a chief learning officer. Working with and managing those closest to a firm’s clients is an invaluable reality check about the challenges employees who are responsible for client service and issue resolution face daily. I can think of no better experience for a manager than mediating an escalated issue that a company representative has to resolve, and then simultaneously providing feedback and coaching to ensure that individual is better prepared for the next time as the direct supervisor. Stepping into a situation where you as a team leader are in charge and ultimately accountable, but may not have the same depth of subject matter expertise as those you manage, is also an important early career experience. Being able to complete high quality work through others and transitioning from the doer to the coach role sets the stage to ascend to the next levels of management. It also builds the consultative skills and hands-on experience needed to add more value as a learning leader.
16 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Experiencing HR’s solutions and processes as a first line manager is also a great way to assess their usability and practicality. Using the performance management, payroll change or benefits procedures while also focusing on operational throughput is a great way to gauge the utility of these practices.
Only by developing skills in those around me could I progress to my next role or career step. For example, as a first line manager back in the days of paper-based performance management, the standard, handwritten form we used was bright orange so when it was time for an annual review employees jokingly referred to this as “agent orange time” due to the negative association with the process that was reinforced by the form’s color. To mitigate this response, I quickly learned to show and discuss employee results on a separate white form that I would then staple to the official form. In our current era of sophisticated talent platforms, this experience is akin to configuring the system to focus on the user experience functionally and aesthetically. With the advice from my long-ago manager top of mind, I remember that liberating moment when I realized that the true measure of being a first line manager was my team’s achievement, not my own. Only by developing and building skills in those around me could I progress to the next role or step in my career. Translating this notion to our learning leader work ensures that we enable individual and organizational performance, development and growth through our consultation, processes and tools; it often simplifies rather than overcomplicates these practices. By experiencing and seeing our organizations through the first line manager’s eyes, we can add more value as learning leaders because we can confidently attest to the fact that we have been on the front lines. CLO
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There’s the Best, and There’s the Rest Whether they’re building new learning initiatives from scratch or implementing development solutions for different business units, many of this year’s LearningElite organizations customize to make the most of their learning investments. BY SARAH KIMMEL
very year the LearningElite program helps us to identify the best new learning and development trends and best practices from top learning organizations. Several years ago, the top organizations were focused on using workforce analytics. They were assessing the impact of their learning and development programs and identifying areas where learning investments would produce the greatest impact on performance. Last year saw a push toward career pathing and integrating learning efforts to bolster the succession pipeline. Other trends continue to show up year after year. As we review LearningElite applications, we seek to identify these key themes. Then we use them to tell the story of organizational learning in our annual “LearningElite Best Practices and Benchmarking Report.” Completing the LearningElite application is a tremendous undertaking. The questions we ask require weeks — if not months — of preparation. Some organizations begin preparing next year’s application soon after the awards gala. For the top five LearningElite organizations, their involvement doesn’t end with the application. Each top five organization participates in a capstone presentation to determine their final rank. Three weeks after they’re notified of their status, their learning and development team — and any C-suite members they choose to involve — presents on a theme to me, Chief Learning Officer’s editor-in-chief and Research and Advisory Group team members. One of the most pronounced trends this year was customization, and capstone presentations explored the concept of perfect fit. While many organizations purchase off-
18 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
the-shelf solutions, just as often they need something to address their unique needs. The solution might be customized to fit the work culture or address the scale or geographic distribution of the workforce. We wanted to know more about how and why customized solutions are popular among LearningElite organizations. Our capstone rubric asked organizations to present on customized solutions, specifically how each organization used customization related to the five dimensions of the LearningElite model: learning strategy, leadership commitment, learning execution, learning impact and business performance results. Many of the following success stories showcase how our LearningElite organizations use customization to suit their needs. Every work culture is different, but one running theme is that an organization needs a solution that will fit seamlessly with how it does things. From building new learning initiatives from the ground up to implementing custom development solutions for different business units, each of this year’s LearningElite organizations is seeking a perfect fit between their learning initiatives and their organizational needs to maximize the impact of their learning investments. Congratulations to this year’s top LearningElite organization: Defense Acquisition University. Since the beginning of the LearningElite program in 2011 DAU has always placed in the top 10, and this year the organization joins Accenture, Qualcomm and Vanguard in the Winner’s Circle. The scope and scale of DAU’s learning and development initiatives are unprecedented; the organization takes the idea of “perfect fit” to heart. CLO
2017 Best of the best: Accepting their award for being No. 1 overall in this year’s field of the LearningElite are Defense Acquisition University team members William Parker, director of the foundational learning directorate, Jim Woolsey, DAU president, Lois Harper, dean of Capital and Northeast regions, and Chris Hardy, director of strategic planning and learning analytics.
DAU provided its entire workforce with a comprehensive learning ecosystem. The program produced 181,970 grads, 12.3 million hours of training, 673,000 continuous learning grads, and 160,000 community members with 45 million page views.
Nationwide associates are the final filter for 23.5 million emails weekly not screened out by tooling. The Protect the Network: Phishing Education program uses experiential learning, sending test emails on content and attachments. Users who take the bait receive immediate feedback and resources. Company Size: 34,019
Vi’s one-year Breakthrough Leadership Program blends classroom, online virtual learning, study groups and assessments to attract, retain and improve high potential leaders’ effectiveness. VI estimates it will realize a standardized return on investment for a total value of $123,520 per participant. Company Size: 2,946
Western Union Co.
In 2016, Western Union transformed its legacy performance management system. The new approach, GPS, Guide, Perform, Succeed, includes revised goal-setting characterized by employee-led quarterly discussions, removal of performance ratings and reduced documentation.
Company Size: 10,000
Company Size: 45,000
Location: Eastern Europe
Tata Consultancy Services
ASCENT-“The Foundation for your Leadership Journey” is TCS’ blended learning program for first-time managers to effectively deliver business results. Associates participate in case studies, role-playing and team-activities in the four-day experiential workshop. Company Size: 353,843
AT&T redesigned its driver instruction to better equip those operating its 81,000 vehicles by replacing traditional classroom learning with scenario-based driving simulations. Since the training redesign, accidents among program participants have decreased by 52 percent.
Siemens Healthineers delivered a single education solution, VES, for all health care customers and employees, setting the groundwork for the future of the health care education industry. VES delivered more than $500 million in cost savings, creating system efficiencies and increasing performance.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
Company Size: 49,000
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ integrated talent management strategy, the PwC Leadership Development Experience, envisions a unique leadership path for every staff member. LDE delivers formal learning, experiences and real-time development to advance technical capabilities and leadership skills.
Company Size: 158,000
Defense Acquisition University
Company Size: 270,000
Mountain America Credit Union
Mountain America Credit Union’s Career Advancement Program is built on a learning technology platform that recommends articles, videos, books and courses tied to various job competencies daily, via email. A social component allows users to recommend items to others with common interests.
Company Size: 1,671
Deloitte’s Communication Excellence program is designed to strengthen business communication skills in the workforce. The program has been scaled over time to decrease per-professional training costs, resulting in an 80 percent cost reduction as the headcount has increased by 400 percent.
Company Size: 79,861
Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Enterprise Holdings Inc. In 2016, Enterprise’s car sales division redesigned its Account Executive First-Year Road Map. After two weeks of training, AEs participate in a sales boot camp to practice skills. Since its implementation, the number of AEs selling 10 or more vehicles in their first six months has tripled. Company Size: 97,000
Janssen Pharmaceutical developed a new value-based selling model and delivered it through instructor-led training, coaching and personalized microlearning gamification. This resulted in a state of continuous learning, a No. 1 rated cardiovascular drug, and a 29.6 percent increase in new market share. Company Size: 4,835
Company Size: 29,388
KPMG launched the Audit New Hire Forum, an integrated web portal featuring a range of learning resources. New hires returned an average of 16 times per person. Resource usage increased 1,600 percent over the previous year, and social interactions increased 10,000 percent. Company Size: 36,264
In 2016, BCBSNC facilitated 4,270 hours of learning through its enterprise learning and development facilitators program with an ROI of $444,700. The Blue University Resource Guide gives quarterly course recommendations based on current organizational or industry topics and employee development. Company Size: 47,850
IHG’s fourth annual Crowne Plaza Performance Series learning event drew 300 general managers, sales directors and owners representing 94 percent of its Americas hotels. Hotels attending saw a 2.9 percent post-event increase in revenue per available room year over year. Company Size: 116,000
Mindtree provides digital transformation and technology services from conception to execution. With the L&D team’s help, engineers’ average time to billability decreased by 78 days and saved Mindtree $2,322 per learner, delivering an ROI of 42 percent. Company Size: 16,219
CareSource University’s Leader Transition Coaching program provides six months of coaching to new and newly promoted leaders. Program goals include acclimation to the CareSource culture and helping with the challenges new leaders face. To date, the program has identified an ROI of 448 percent. Company Size: 3,299
G4S’ Custom Protection Officer Certification Program consists of a tenured group of more than 10,000 officers across the U.S., who account for 98 percent of all client retention. This 48-hour classroom instructor-led program is conducted weekly by G4S certified trainers. Company Size: 46,970
Best Midsized Company: FDIC Corporate University
In addition to promoting on-the-job manager and employee learning, New York Life’s In-Force Service and Operations Manager Support Program has directly driven improvements in employee motivation, employee productivity and customer satisfaction, and decreased average call handle time. Company Size: 20,000
Health Plan Institute, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan Institute, Kaiser Permanente completely overhauled its new employee onboarding program to consistently leverage content, ensure content is available for mobile devices, and drive consistent manager involvement and support. A successful pilot launch means the program will roll out to all employees in 2017.
Company Size: 180,000
During the past year, Sidley Austin offered more than 1,200 educational programs to its lawyers, staff, alumni and clients. Of these, over 93 percent were both developed and delivered by Sidley personnel, reflecting the firm’s deep commitment to learning both within and beyond the organization. Company Size: 3,724
Automobile Club of Southern California’s expanded learning and development programs resulted in more than 330,000 learners completing courses in a variety of modalities. This included facilitating more than 2,500 live instructor-led classes in five time zones, with classes that ran five days a week, 22 hours a day. Company Size: 13,197
Sears reengineered its enterprise compliance training program. Previously, the company delivered 9.14 million compliance courses. Through intelligent targeting using people and business data, each employee now receives a personalized compliance learning plan specific to their job responsibilities. Company Size: 150,000
In 2015, Genentech launched its New Manager Onboarding Roadmap. Before managers spent one-day in the classroom learning their role. NeMO uses an online interactive roadmap to guide that journey, along with text notifications to provide reminders about key managerial activities.
Sears Holdings Corp.
Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA)
New York Life Insurance Co.
20 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Best Small Company: Mountain America Federal Credit Union
G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.
Business Performance Results: Siemens Healthineers
Learning Execution: Tata Consultancy Services
Location: Western Europe
Leadership Commitment: AT&T Inc.
InterContinental Hotels Group
Learning Strategy: Deloitte
BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina
In addition to the ranked LearningElite awards, Chief Learning Officer’s editors want to recognize the following organizations for special achievement:
Learning Impact: Janssen Pharmaceutical
In 2016, Emory University implemented two new programs within its leadership development suite. Emerging Leaders at Emory targets high potential midlevel leaders, while the Aspiring Leaders Program focuses on high potential front-line employees.
EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARDS
Company Size: 15,266
Memorial Health System
Memorial Health System’s goal is to have 80 percent of its RNs with a bachelor’s degree by 2020. The company partnered with Benedictine University and completed 19 cohorts pursing the RN to BSN degree. The University of Illinois-Chicago also offers nursing education classes on MHS’ campus.
Company Size: 7,200
GREAT PEOPLE make us a
Congratulations to all learning professionals across Nationwide! We are honored to have been ranked a Top 5 LearningElite company! Learning is critical to our mission of delivering exceptional member value and is at the core of our high-performing culture. As we celebrate this recognition, we are proud to offer our congratulations to our outstanding learning professionals. You truly help make Nationwide a great place to work! Learn more: nationwide.com
Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ÂŠ 2017 Nationwide CPO-1004AO (04/17)
Aon Aon created new leader training to enable new and newly promoted managers to better understand the Aon way of leading. Managers overwhelmingly find the workshop a worthwhile investment in career development. The 681 percent ROI far exceeds an external benchmark of 266.52 percent.
Company Size: 71,376
In 2016, State Farm rolled out AutoAnswers to better support auto policy underwriters and call center representatives. A cross-functional team of more than 100 people across 12 different business units contributed to program development. AutoAnswers poduced a 62 second decrease in call handle time. Company Size: 162,000
Berkshire Health Systems spearheaded conversion of its paper-based payroll to an electronic time-and-attendance system. This required considerable change management strategies and training for all 4,000 employees. Berkshire used a variety of instructional methodologies including online and classroom learning. Company Size: 4,000
FDIC Corporate University supports the FDIC Chairman’s Workforce Development Initiative. The annual Succession Planning Review program assesses managers’ and executives’ developmental needs and creates a plan to enhance their skills. Company Size: 6,886
In 2016 Hewlett Packard Enterprise revamped its onboarding program for software executives. The integrated evaluation approach demonstrated a very high effectiveness. One of the success metrics was the decline in voluntary attrition from 10.9 to 8.6 percent, and a hiring cost savings of nearly $1.5 million. Company Size: 240,000
The Vanguard Group
Company Size: 13,986 Location: U.S.
Company Size: 33,000 Location: U.S.
Accenture employees can now pursue one of more than 60 internal certifications, an increase of 10 from last year. More than 100,000 employees participate in certification programs annually. To augment its certification program, Accenture launched a strategy certification program with business school INSEAD.
Company Size: 373,000 Location: Ireland
22 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
AT&T’s Transformation Learning Series measures enrollments, completions and talent availability for emerging jobs. After completing each track, participants can take a comprehensive assessment to receive certification. In 2015, there were 47,174 certifications awarded. Company Size: 243,000 Location: U.S.
In 2016, the Buckman learning team successfully implemented two sales workshops in Europe and South Africa that targeted a critical business challenge involving chemical trials. The company needed to address skills gaps in trial project management in those regions. Company Size: 1,745
NIIT’s blended learning leadership program Art of Leadership is designed for middle managers. Its 163 managers have completed the first phase of the program with a majority demonstrating measurable behavioral changes per regular 360-degree surveys. Company Size: 2,337
In 2016, MTM Training revamped its new hire orientation. It no longer covers policies or procedures on day one, focusing instead on culture, customers, mission and workplace values. By replacing paperwork and policies with cultural submersion, employees have a higher level of belief in the culture. Company Size: 1,500
Professionals at MetLife created a highly interactive redesign for MetLife’s corporate website. This design was chosen over a vendor’s design, which would have cost $300,000 and would have taken six months to implement. The in-house design took five weeks to complete at a cost of $90,000. Company Size: 66,000
Deckers Outdoor Corp.
Deckers developed a tailored curriculum to provide greater support for its front-line leaders. The program focuses on improving effectiveness and produced a demonstrable shift in employee proficiency ratings, with more balanced ratings than ever before.
Company Size: 3,262
In 2016, OptumRx redesigned customer service new hire training. The new curriculum is a situational, scenario-based onboarding program with seven specific stages. The design produced a 12 percent improvement in customer experience after-call survey scores, and a 22 percent reduction in new employee turnover.
Company Size: 29,000
Buckman Laboratories International Inc.
USAA’s L&D team partnered with Property & Casualty Insurance and Underwriting to develop a new cohesive property course. The course features modules to improve employees’ ability to find information and become certified using mock calls. The course generated $2.8 million in extra revenue.
Company Size: 6,734
United Services Automobile Association
Bridgepoint Education’s learning team partnered with business leaders to implement Stop Listen Collaborate, a customer-service program to enhance the quality of student advising through a consistent conversation framework. A 30-day post-implementation survey showed that the program was very well received.
Vanguard University developed a team-based curriculum that uses drill-based workshops, sales coach feedback and enrichment sessions, a live simulated sales final, and a parallel leader learning experience. As of October 2015, Vanguard accrued $30 billion in assets over their target goal.
Company Size: 800
Bridgepoint Education Inc.
37 In 2015, Qualcomm’s Learning Center provided comprehensive change management support for the organization’s strategic realignment plan to improve execution, enhance financial performance and drive profitable growth. The realignment created business units and eliminated approximately $1.4 billion in spending.
In less than 3 years, the Kubota Tractor Corp. has built a fully functional corporate university with full leadership support. Kubota University has grown into a department of 21 with a budget of $4 million, and released more than 1,500 titles. KU provides learning for employees, customers and dealers.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
FDIC Corporate University
Kubota Tractor Corp.
Berkshire Health Systems Inc.
Location: Western Europe
State Farm Mutual Insurance Co.
Company Size: 8,500
Bright Horizons Family Solutions
Bright Horizons’ internal executive coaching program provides access to formal, tailored executive coaching for select employees identified through the succession planning process. Certified coaches engage in a three to nine month coaching engagement. Early results indicate a 500 percent ROI.
Company Size: 27,500
International Paper Senior leadership turned mass retirements into an opportunity to redesign its manufacturing learning strategy. A vision for future operators and mechanics produced standardized enterprise recruitment, selection, onboarding, training, and the Global Manufacturing Training Initiative certification process. Company Size: 55,000
TELUS International’s expanded Global Learning Excellence organization grew from 50 to 733 team members, continuing its strategy to align learning delivery globally. TELUS delivered Trainers’ Development Workshops, certifying facilitators to lead the program. In 2016, TELUS trained 300 facilitators globally. Company Size: 25,000
Texas Health Resources created a culture of safety for its patients and workforce by becoming a High Reliability Organization. In 2016, Texas Health Resources University trained more than 20,000 employees, physicians and volunteers in HRO principles and error proofing tools. Company Size: 23,000
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy developed and delivered webinar training to more than 3,000 VA contracting and program management personnel within days of a Supreme Court ruling. VAAA developed the webinar in real time as the policy document was being developed. Company Size: 40,000
DaVita’s STAR program streamlined training time for new clinical teammates. Since its implementation, the program has expanded nationwide from 12 states. The STAR program streamlined training for new clinical teammates from 12.7 to 9 weeks at a savings of $600,000. Company Size: 67,992
Ingalls Shipbuilding successfully hardwired key strategic initiatives with leadership development and talent management programs by building accountability and evaluation systems to provide touchpoints and feedback. Its 2016 diversity and inclusion workstreams spurred commitments from the entire leadership team. Company Size: 35,000
In 2016, PJ Lhuillier had 64 Cebuana Lhuillier Alternative System Community Learning Centers in different regions of the Philippines. They provide academic, livelihood, spiritual and social education to former out-of-school youths and adults in elementary and secondary levels. Company Size: 7,205
Beachbody L&D’s technology initiative, Wave 1, used a blended learning approach to improve overall online experiences. The first month after training showed significant learning proficiency. The first week post training saw a 75 percent reduction in the number of hypercare questions from agents. Company Size: 3,300
Sberbank Corporate University launched its Risk Culture initiative with 100 percent of managers participating in risk-management programs that include gamification and microlearning. Completion of the online risk management program is triple that of a traditional MOOC course.
Company Size: 330,000
USDA Virtual University established programs to build the leadership pipeline, involving more than 50 percent of executives in mentoring, and offering a no-cost 360-degree assessment to managers, supervisors and executives. More than 60 percent of participant graduates have moved into executive roles.
24 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Company Size: 87,000
In 2016, Axis Bank launched ACElerate, Axis Capability Enhancement, an integrated performance management and capability development system. High performers can access additional learning opportunities in behavioral capability building programs and exclusive certification programs from Coursera. Company Size: 50,130
AAMCO’s market-based pricing initiative trains CSMs and franchise owners to perform their own regional market research. They determine price ranges to make pricing adjustments on a regular basis. This increased customer awareness built up team member product knowledge and increased bottom-line profits. Company Size: 3,100
Mariner Finance’s learning and development team deconstructed and rebuilt its new hire program. The program introduced new recordings and a simulation-based curriculum with complex branching and innovative mapping. Since the program was introduced, time-to-proficiency has decreased by 80 percent. Company Size: 2,000
Each year BKD professionals participate in updated technical training, prerecorded, learning-centered presentations delivered virtually, during which an SME/proctor facilitates client-specific discussions. The company uses technology to augment this learning via polls and chats, ensuring consistent messages for all local offices. Company Size: 2,572
Enbridge’s employee orientation program was completely redesigned in 2016 to be highly interactive, engaging and almost entirely activity based. Course satisfaction ratings doubled compared to the previous iteration of the program, accelerating new joiner engagement and increasing performance levels. Company Size: 5,986
Beachbody (Customer Service)
Beachbody Customer Service extended the nesting period for new agents with Transition Nesting. This gave agents two weeks of transactions to achieve 90 percent in quality certification with an additional week of monitoring if necessary. The increase from five days to three weeks led to quicker speed to proficiency. Company Size: 3,300
In 2016, Kimberly-Clark delivered a global strategy and governance model for L&D. Using this model, they delivered targeted programs in team leader development, exceeding the goal by 1,200 participants and setting clear behavioral expectations for team leaders globally. Company Size: 43,000
Siemens (Learning Campus)
Siemens’ Learning Campus partnered with the Building Technologies division to transform its sales organization across the U.S. and Canada. This initiative created a new way to approach the customer for 1,000 sales managers and reps. Based on feedback, other Siemens divisions are considering the approach.
AAMCO Transmissions Inc.
Location: Eastern Europe
USDA Virtual University
Sberbank Corporate University
Location: Asia Pacific
Beachbody (Learning and Development)
Company Size: 16,000
PJ Lhuillier Inc.
In 2016, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores provided classroom learning to more than 400 retail managers, restaurant managers and tire care managers through Love’s University. Learning developed business acumen, increased knowledge of soft-skills, hands-on learning in a retail environment and team building.
Dept. of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores
Texas Health Resources
Company Size: 351,000
Location: Western Europe
Paycor’s sales learning team deployed five unique new hire programs, an LMS, a learning app, a video rehearsal platform and a new HQ communication strategy to improve first-year retention for sales executives. Retention increased 23 percent for year one associates. The annual benefit is more than $5 million in revenue.
Company Size: 1,500
Building leaders at all levels
#PwCProud to be developing future leaders who are not only successful in their careers, but making a difference in the communities around them.
ÂŠ 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved.
Defense Acquisition University: Focused on Flexibility
Defense Acquisition University continually reinvents itself and embraces new technologies to serve its customers well. BY ANDIE BURJEK
he seventh time’s the charm for the Defense Acquisition University. DAU has been recognized in the Top 10 of the Learning Elite program for the past several years thanks to its consistency, excellence and demonstration of learning impact. The corporate learning arm for the United States Department of Defense is constantly willing to reevaluate and revamp its strategy. Many successful organizations fail to reinvent themselves, said Chris Hardy, director of strategic planning and learning analytics at DAU. But this learning organization doesn’t have the luxury of resting on its laurels. The knowledge it instills in its learners is of utmost importance, as it prepares the defense acquisition workforce to provide America’s warriors with the best weapons and equipment. More than 150,000 professionals in the acquisition workforce rely on the courses DAU provides to get certified in their fields and to stay educated throughout their careers. The most urgent challenge facing DAU was improving business results, Hardy said. The organization’s key metric was customer value. Although this consideration is always important to any learning organization, it was especially important for DAU last year because of the major changes in Congress that come with any presidential election, said Jim Woolsey, president of DAU. “In the government, every four years our organization announces that it’s changing,” he said. “Learning organizations have to make sure they’re still serving the right people the right way as those changes happen.” One way DAU sought to improve customer value is by customizing the learning process. Everyone wants more customization, said Woolsey. For DAU, this meant providing accessible, on-the-job content. Even after getting certified, learners can quickly find useful material again via DAU.mil, the organization’s one-stop learning resource, and DAU tracks this usage with Google Analytics. “In addition to providing in-person services, making sure peo-
26 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
“All organizations change over time, and learning organizations have to make sure they’re still serving the right people the right way as those changes happen.” — Jim Woolsey, president, DAU
PHOTOS BY WILL BYINGTON
From left: Defense Acquisition University’s Chris Hardy, Lois Harper, Jim Woolsey and William Parker.
ple can get what they need online at the time they need it is an important way to provide that customization,” said Woolsey. “And we’re moving to be more aggressive in that area.” Just as proactive technology use allowed DAU to reach learners on the job more readily, it has also allowed them to make impactful decisions using learning analytics. It surveys students right after they’ve completed a course and 60 days after, too. “By getting that data on all our different courses, we can look specifically at our lower performing courses and ask the right questions,” Hardy explained. “Do we have a population issue? Are the right people coming? Is it the right time in their career? Maybe the content needs updating. Maybe it does not match the job skills. Focusing on impact metrics has changed the discussion on what needs to be improved.” Smart use of learning analytics helped make a solid impact this past year for a specific segment of learners and ultimately for the Pentagon. DAU looked at the lowest course scores and conducted a deep-dive, exploring students’ demographics, job titles and the content provided in those courses. DAU discovered that due to existing certification mandates, students in the financial management career specialty were required to take a highly technical course they did not actually need on the job. “This analysis helped change the requirement and allowed for re-allocation of resources to other training,” Hardy said.
DAU pulled that data and briefed the Pentagon, which then made a policy change so that segment of the workforce did not need to take the course to complete certification. This saved travel costs and learners’ time. Some 8,000 people were affected. On a macro level, DAU’s learning strategy also has gotten strong results. One senior business leader from a major defense program on which DAU has consulted cited a 20 percent increase in savings due to the learning organization’s targeted training. Within DAU’s own workforce, 89 percent of learners found on-the-job value in their courses. Only 11 percent said they’d never use the content, compared to the industry standard of 40 percent. But the self-evaluating and self-improving DAU chooses to look at that 11 percent and consider what it can fix. Moving forward, DAU plans to continue mixing classroom and on-the-job learning and using analytics to tighten up any gaps in training effectiveness. “How we’re measuring and where we think we’re going are very consistent and aligned with where we see the future,” Hardy said. “For our key performance measure, we want to know what’s most valuable to our customers. Are they using it? Is it making a job impact? We think that’s where the whole [L&D] community is also moving.” CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Nod Your Head if You Think PwC Has Elite Learning Goals
A commitment to personalized learning and a sense of fun has helped employees at the professional services network see themselves in a whole new way. BY RICK BELL
obbleheads, those small plastic figurines with giant noggins that sway to and fro at the slightest touch, typically emulate celebrities and pro athletes. Move over, Usher; step aside, William and Kate; not so fast, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Those big-headed icons are nodding in a new direction thanks to PwC’s innovative program recognizing top performers’ willingness to learn with bobbleheads in their image. It’s just one facet of the London-based multinational professional services company’s Team Based Learning program’s recognition of a job well done. The program firmly aligns with PwC’s overall commitment to employees being its greatest asset. In the U.S. alone, PwC in 2016 invested $287 million and 3.2 million hours in learning, which averages out to about $6,000 per employee. Its Leadership Development Experience program envisions a unique leadership path for everyone joining PwC by delivering formal learning, experiences and coaching to advance their staff’s technical capabilities and leadership skills. “We empower learners to drive their own development, thus supporting and enhancing our culture and differentiating PwC’s talent promise,” said PwC Chief Learning Officer Katrina Salem. The Team Based Learning, or TBL, program was created to boost business strategy and avoid being a box to check as a daily chore. It was initially embedded with the Tax Leadership Team. Gradually rolling it out in five waves over a two-year period, which allowed for real-time adjustments, best practice sharing,
28 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
“The mantra, ‘We build leaders who build the future’ speaks volumes about our senior leadership’s engagement with employee development.” — Katrina Salem, CLO, PwC
Jonathan Amy of PwC.
identifying leading and lagging success indicators and comparing outcomes for teams that completed the training versus teams in later waves. One creative sustainment best practice was post-training over three to nine months with predefined goals: keep team-based learning top of mind; apply during the busy season; hold people accountable; reward and recognize through storytelling; host focus groups; and complete a corresponding survey. That’s where the bobbleheads came in. PwC’s Atlanta market recognized individuals “caught doing good with TBL,” and produced the playful statues for two of their TBL Champions. Such creativity and commitment to build and maintain leadership engages PwC’s employees. “The mantra,
‘We build leaders who build the future’ speaks volumes about our senior leadership’s engagement with employee development,” said Salem, a 29-year PwC veteran who also is a tax partner serving clients in manufacturing, telecommunications and technology. “In our quest to become the best developers of talent, we have invested millions of dollars and thousands of personnel hours in developing and delivering worldclass learning and overhauling our talent management framework to create the learning development experience.” PwC also has developed one of the industry’s most sophisticated learning portals. That development is critical to PwC’s top five strategic business priorities, said Jonathan Amy, PwC’s chief learning architect. The five priorities are: focus relentlessly on the market; drive profitable revenue growth; gain a people-driven advantage; transform to lead; and invest in the network. “We need authentic, inclusive, whole leaders at all levels who can inspire and lead their clients, teams and others through change successfully,” said Amy, who joined PwC in 1989 and now is responsible for leading a team that develops the learning blueprint to address performance. “Our learning strategy is rooted in both a customized and personalized development journey for each PwC professional.” Salem said PwC plans to advance its learning and development by emphasizing personalized learning and investing millions of dollars in its PwC Professional program. She also pointed to lessons learned from Blockbuster Video’s fate and the agility needed to stay ahead of the learning ecosystem. “We must study the factors impacting our environment to assess potential risks and become more agile in response to disrupters,” she said. “By evaluating and defining the learning ecosystem for PwC, we will enhance our opportunity to bring the highest value to our people and clients.” Such ambitious goals would leave any learning leader — or bobblehead — nodding their head in approval. CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Nationwide’s Learning Advantage
The global insurance firm ensures its employees are developed properly thanks to a comprehensive suite of resources and a keen focus on precision. BY FR ANK K ALMAN
n 1926, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation sold its first insurance policy, starting a business that would grow into one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world. Ninety-one years later, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has roughly 33,000 employees and more than $158 billion in statutory assets — an achievement that has garnered the Columbus, Ohio-based firm high praise. Fortune magazine named it one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” for 2017. But if there’s anything more impressive than Nationwide’s rise from a small mutual auto insurer to an industry juggernaut, it’s the company’s current learning and development function. Tasked with developing thousands of employees annually, in a business environment consistently haunted by change and uncertainty, Nationwide’s learning strategy is a model for comprehension and precision. Not only does its learning and development strategy align with the firm’s wider business objectives, it has configured a measurement framework that makes it clear to executives that the company’s return on investment for learning is deeply in the black. All of this is done while ensuring that the strategy offers employees an individualized learning experience. “We work in an organization that values learning, and that starts with our CEO and our board,” said Jason Gallourakis, the company’s vice president of talent development. The core of Nationwide’s learning strategy is comprised of four
30 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
“We work in an organization that values learning, and that starts with our CEO and our board.” — Jason Gallourakis, vice president of talent development, Nationwide
parts. Learning at the company must be personalized, or relevant to the leader’s role, needs and goals; engaging, or interactive, enjoyable, motivating and empowering; accessible, or easy to find and intuitive to use; and it must be impactful. Learning must enhance individual and business performance and effectiveness, all while increasing value for customers. Two learning initiatives exemplify why Nationwide is a top LearningElite organization. The first is the company’s 2016 strategic priority to deploy a simplified companywide collaboration platform to help employees work more efficiently. Dubbed Workplace Productivity, the initiative’s goal was to enhance collaboration and productivity by providing the most current version of Microsoft Office365 and developing employees’ collaboration skills. To accomplish this goal, Nationwide’s learning team developed a personalized strategy that provided employees with resources to self-identify what materials would be most valuable to them. It also developed a blended learning model to strengthen employees’ self-reliance when learning the new suite of Microsoft applications. The learning team made the experience engaging by including various learning delivery methods, such as bitesized videos and virtual, instructor-led training, and developing an Office365 “At a Glance” Learning Guide to help employees navigate the entire process. All told, the company was able to decrease calls to Microsoft’s IT help desk to .047 Diane August and Lisa Miller of Nationwide. per employee — far below Microsoft’s reported industry average of 1.3 calls per employee. The project saved Nationwide $376,000. leaders showed that participants have a 21 percent lower Another initiative that exemplifies the strength of Na- turnover rate compared to nonparticipants. tionwide’s learning function is its Leadership Matters proOverall, the company determined that over a two-year gram. Launched in 2013, the program is designed to in- period, the combined program costs for all participants was crease employee engagement and productivity by developing nearly half of the millions in savings it earned by reducing strong leaders. It takes two approaches: one for brand new leader turnover. This resulted in a return on investment of leaders, another for current or existing leaders. about 137 percent — the type of figure that helps the learnIn 2015, the company added two learning modules — ing function maintain credibility and buy-in from the comteam effectiveness and change — to anchor the program. pany’s executive team. “We’ve seen some fantastic results,” Gallourakis said. In par“When times are tough learning is not the first thing cut ticular, the program has improved both leader productivity because they know that learning is an investment that brings and turnover. The Leadership Matters program for current value,” Gallourakis said. “Because of that, we’re at the table, leaders showed that participants have an 18 percent lower we get to do the work that we love, and we know that we’re turnover rate than nonparticipants; its program for new making a difference.” CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
At Vi, Business is All About Living and Learning
High levels of engagement and the widely held belief that learning and development is every leaders’ responsibility are at the heart of learning success at Vi. BY BR AVETTA HASSELL
or Chicago-based senior living facilities company Vi, its brand reputation is wholly dependent on delivering exceptional service and quality care, which starts with having well-trained and engaged employees. “Our employees care for our residents, and we believe it’s equally important we care for our employees in the form of rewarding careers and professional development opportunities,” said Judy Whitcomb, Vi’s senior vice president of HR, learning and organizational development. Therefore, learning strategy plays a crucial role in the business strategy. Learning efforts are directly linked to business outcomes, and Whitcomb said they support successful short- and long-term change and organizational performance. A vibrant change management and communications plan helps drive awareness about learning and development efforts, as does the learning organization’s structure and relationships with functions across the company. Because learning and development plays a direct, vital role in determining business outcomes, Vi has rolled out programs targeting areas like driving customer satisfaction, delivering quality care and supporting strategic business initiatives. Further, to ensure Vi meets quality and service standards, its learning and organizational development department invests in professional certification programs in food, beverage and hospitality management and operations. Among Vi’s learning and development programming is its signature Breakthrough Leadership Program, or BLP, which launched in 2015. The program was created to promote retention of high potential leaders and increase their knowledge, capabilities and effectiveness. “Retention of top talent is what drives our organization’s performance,” Whitcomb explained. “We also know that strong leaders engage their employees and foster an environment that drives employee discretionary effort.”
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“Our employees care for our residents … it’s equally important we care for our employees in the form of rewarding careers and professional development opportunities.” — Judy Whitcomb, senior vice president of HR, learning and organizational development, Vi
From left: Jill Denman, Judy Whitcomb and John Moxley of Vi.
The one-year program includes classroom, virtual and online learning accompanied by assessments before, during and after the program. BLP relies on company leaders, former program participants, as well as external partners like DePaul University faculty to help deliver content. Central themes for BLP include: building results and accountability, employee and personal development, and increasing participant communication and interpersonal influence. Whitcomb said participants have realized strong gains in cognitive and behavioral metrics. For instance, in a one-year period, she said program participants realized a 37 percent increase in knowledge. Given the magnitude of observed performance increases, she estimates Vi will realize a standardized return on investment for an employee’s performance of $123,520 based on an average participant salary of $105,000. Further, Vi’s retention of BLP participants has been high — 90 percent of its first cohort, and 95 percent of its second cohort are still with the company. Vi measures learning and development impact using department metrics like career progression through internal transfers and promotions, successful achievement of professional certifications and employee survey results. The learning function also examines business outcomes including resident satisfaction, operational performance and revenue. Based on these metrics, Whitcomb said learning and development investments continue to pay off. Vi’s 2016 resident satisfaction survey reported that 96 percent of Vi’s resi-
dents said they would recommend Vi as a place to live. In early 2017, all 10 of Vi’s skilled nursing facilities achieved a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services five-star rating. In partnership with Vi’s Resident Care Leadership team, the learning and development organization implemented a comprehensive training initiative to enhance the resident experience in the company’s Memory Support units. The initiative’s goal — development kicked off in 2015 — is to use evidence-based practices to create a “person-centered” philosophy and approach to caring for and interacting with residents who have cognitive impairment. “An off-the-shelf program alone would not provide our employees the depth of immersion in memory care we expected,” Whitcomb said. The program, which aligns with the Alzheimer’s Association’s guidelines on training content, provides ongoing training for the care of residents receiving memory support; it includes custom online learning modules to reinforce key concepts. Whitcomb said high levels of leader engagement in learning and the widely held belief that learning and development is every leaders’ responsibility are at the heart of her team’s success. “Whether it’s developing and delivering a class, leading a virtual learning session or leading a discussion with Vi’s Management Development Program participants, Vi’s leaders underscore the importance of learning and development in the organization with their explicit engagement.” CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Western Union Keeps a Keen Eye on the Future
For the financial services company to succeed, it has to ensure employees and leaders learn outside of the classroom and constantly evolve to achieve better business outcomes. BY L AUREN DIXON
he financial industry faces constant challenges, including a volatile market, changing regulatory environments and intense competition. With all of that disruption happening, “learning how to change and evolve and adapt and be agile is critical,” said Joshua Craver, global head of talent management and learning at Western Union, a company that specializes in money transfers. To promote that agility, the company’s learning organization WU University keeps WUWAY, a framework and vision for Western Union’s future, top of mind. Further, it aligns with Workforce 2020, the company’s long-term corporate strategy, which looks forward to tomorrow’s diverse and adept talent pool as one that can navigate the challenges it faces. Change is one of those challenges, and Craver said WU University learning offerings actively support companywide change management efforts. WU University began in 2010 as a virtual program. Two years later, talent management and learning departments at the company combined, allowing for greater use of talent data to drive smart learning solutions. In 2014, the brick-and-mortar version of WU University became a reality at Western Union’s headquarters in Denver. The learning team champions Workforce 2020 and WUWAY,
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“Learning will be more critical than ever in driving our vision toward the future.” — Joshua Craver, global head of talent management and learning, Western Union
Anil Santhapuri and Shannon Sisler of Western Union.
along with GPS — or Guide, Perform, Succeed — Western Union’s new performance management system. GPS uses empowerment conversations and feedback to allow leaders to see how the company is doing from the employees’ perspectives. Leaders also hold monthly development conversations as part of the Leadership in Action program, further enabling the culture around GPS. But leadership involvement goes much further than that. Western Union’s learning strategy is effective because all workers participate, starting with leadership. Leaders are some of the first to go through major learning initiatives, making them champions for the programs. And because
leaders are held accountable for learning, the rest of the company understands the gravity of the investment, as well. Further, learning isn’t over once the proverbial classroom bell rings; most programs are long-term. “We believe that to get a return on investment from learning, you have to put people into a model and process and framework that allows them to apply the learning and to have time to do that,” Craver said. Tying learning programs to business outcomes helps to ensure Western Union learning initiatives are successful, as it shows the ROI for learning dollars spent and convinces business leaders to invest more. For example, 2016 data show that learning programs on sales effectiveness saved the company more than $100,000 and increased profits by $2 million. Also, IT security training saw an ROI of 405 percent. Further, the GPS program improved engagement — a metric many businesses tend to struggle with. In October 2016, only 23 percent of Western Union staff were actively disengaged, down from 32 percent the year prior. WU University has no plans to slow down. “Learning will be more critical than ever in driving our vision toward the future,” said Craver. He said his team will continue to focus on constantly improving learning effectiveness and efficiency, as well as using data to run the learning function like a business. The group plans to focus on areas such as strengths-based coaching, strengthening the company’s task management process and improving design thinking and self-directed learning. Craver’s team also will help Western Union staff develop their network learning skills, or, their ability to learn from others in the organization rather than through formal courses at WU University. Learning at Western Union emphasizes the value of knowledge gained outside of the classroom. “When you talk about LearningElite, and you talk about what LearningElite organizations do, they create a learning organization and a culture where learning is happening. And it’s not just happening through the HR training function,” Craver explained. “Learning is happening within the organization through interactions with managers and employees and peers. When you walk around Western Union offices, you can see that it’s a learning culture.” CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Adaptability and Tech at Siemens Healthineers
For Siemens Healthineers, giving the user control of their environment is essential for a successful learning solution. BY CAMARON SANTOS
n response to the continuous evolution of technology, learner behavior and the health care industry, global health care company Siemens Healthineers developed Virtual Education Solutions, or VES, to ensure it remained several steps ahead of the competition. VES came to fruition in 2009 when William Magagna, vice president of VES, proposed a new vision for health care education with a virtual infrastructure focused on the learner. Essentially, it allowed them to control their learning experience. The idea started with a simple platform that could be adapted to technology and instructional design models to meet learners’ evolving needs and behavioral changes driven by the virtual space. In 2011, VES launched PEP, which stands for personalized education plan, to create a global platform for health care customers around education, clinical excellence and performance growth. But soon after, Magagna said it was apparent the solution would not provide lifelong sustainability. “The individual way in which that learner was gathering the knowledge, the technology in which they deploy and the social space in which they leverage to do that was changing, and it was out-running the ability of traditional training organizations,” Magagna said. With the rise of social media, increased adoption of handheld devices and the upstart of virtual enterprises like Facebook, Twitter and Uber, Magagna said it was apparent that how the health care customer interacted, connected, learned and communicated virtually was constantly evolving. Traditional learning models such as train the trainer or blended learning would not be able to fulfill customers’ lifelong needs. So VES worked to fill a gap in the market: the need for
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“In the virtual space, to be the trusted partner, your learning organization must become the enabler for others … that starts with putting the customer in control.” — William Magagna, vice president of Virtual Education Solutions, Siemens Healthineers
From left: Tom Hyde, Susan Ebien-Pesa, Melissa Standard, Tonya Smyth, Shannon Bellafiore, William Magagna of Siemens Healthineers.
health care customers to be in control of their virtual experience, to gain access to education, connect with others and find information easily, at the point of need, from any device. This idea became a watershed moment for the program. “A lot of organizations are struggling because they are still in a web 1.0 strategy. At VES, we saw this paradigm shift happening years ago and developed a longterm strategy to evolve our team, technology and solutions into a global web 3.0 experience,” Magagna said. “Our customers have overwhelmingly responded.” Over the next five years, VES grew the Healthcare Integrated Learning Solution, or HILS. In 2015, VES launched PEPconnect, a “smarter connection of people to knowledge for health care.” A technologically advanced, virtual competency-based education and performance support solution, PEPconnect focused on increasing each individual user’s knowledge, skills and abilities. In conjunction with the traditional business, VES has been successful leveraging the PEPconnect experience in partnerships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s PEPFAR (U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief ) initiative in support of the fight against HIV on the African continent, as well as multiple universities globally, embedding solutions and content within
their curriculums for future health care professionals. According to Magagna, this success is directly attributed to “our people, infrastructure, processes and our ability to evolve — moving beyond an education platform to a virtual experience where the learner can … join, connect, share and grow in a way that is personalized to them.” Through next generation solutions and services VES aims to enable health care professionals to achieve their educational and performance goals while improving their future clinical, financial and operational outcomes. VES continues to evolve its infrastructure with advances in human performance, social profiles, new business and revenue generation models, social learning, collective intelligence, and by creating commercial virtual products. In 2017, Siemens Healthineers launched the Virtual Social Enterprise to help advance its vision around virtual education. It will leverage network knowledge and learning through social adaption for users to join, connect, share and grow via collective intelligence or “wisdom of the crowd” within a smart distributed system, or the internet. “In the virtual space, to be the trusted partner, your learning organization must become the enabler for others, and for VES, that starts with putting the customer in control,” Magagna said. CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Learning at TCS Centers on Tech Transformation
To continuously reskill and upskill employees in digital technologies, Tata Consultancy Services leans heavily on input from its global customer base. BY CAMARON SANTOS
ata Consultancy Services aims to deliver real results to global businesses. The IT services, consulting and business solutions organization based in Mumbai, India, has more than 378,000 employees and operates in more than 55 countries, and learning is one of the organization’s core values. Founded in 1968, TCS’ customer-centric business model and its philosophy around building new capabilities has made the company a partner of choice for transformative initiatives among its customers. By making strategic investments across multiple dimensions ahead of time, TCS ensures its employees are well equipped to capture opportunities related to the digital revolution. The mission for TCS’ talent development team is to enable certainty for employees by providing anytime anywhere learning opportunities — videos, e-learning, gaming, simulations and focused instructor-led training. All of which is created to help employees realize their potential and deliver on the organizational promise of what leaders call “experience certainty” for customers. Vice President and Global Head of Talent Development Damodar Padhi said the fast pace of organizational growth, the speed of technological change and global spread of associates are some of the key factors changing learning at TCS. Sharing is another of the company’s core values, and to execute on that value means deliver-
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“Our learning program definition is based on inputs from our customers. … We try to stay ahead … by future skilling our employees and building real skills.” — Damodar Padhi, vice president and global head of talent development, Tata Consultancy Services
ing digital learning at an accelerated pace on a global scale. That requires providing access, content, delivery and infrastructure. Padhi said staying ahead of the curve in terms of learning execution is what drives the company’s innovation and creativity. “Our learning program definition is based on inputs from our customers who operate in the digital economy,” he explained. “We try to stay ahead of the time and ahead of learners’ needs by future-skilling our employees and building real skills. This focus on technology excellence is strengthened by an equal focus on building the required domain skills and competencies.” The talent development team designs and delivers learning programs to enhance the organization’s human capital across technology, domain, soft skills, language and leadership areas. The team works closely with business units to monitor trends, design competency development programs and execute them. According to Padhi, what makes the learning program top-notch is how it leverages a digital framework to create an interactive and collaborative learning environment. When organizations talk about anytime, anywhere learning, many refer only to online learning. That is not enough. “We have a much more comprehensive learning-by-doing approach with a robust assessment framework to make sure the employees actually learn,” he said. In addition to virtual labs to help employees practice what they learn, employees learn through iQlassrooms — TCS’ virtual, classroom-like learning program — social networks, and content via videos, games and simulations. TCS’ cohesive approach toward learning strategy implementation has enabled access to learning on a global scale, moving away from physical learning spaces to permit anytime, anywhere and any-device Novonil Bhattacharya of Tata Consultancy Services. learning. The company also built a content environment to aid fast-changing technology training requirements. This approach keeps tinue to take even further steps to escalate learning by doing. content appealing and relevant, and a digital learning Most learning programs are a little one-sided, and we want platform enables collaborative upskilling. to work toward creating activity-based learning so that learnWhile 90 percent of learning is already done through a ing retention continues to increase.” digital experience, Padhi said in the years to come, digital Integrating different learning approaches through digital learning will intensify further. TCS will focus on creating a learning platforms has helped TCS upskill associates across learning experience where everyone is inspired to learn in- technology, domain and leadership areas while keeping stead of being pushed or forced to. “We are looking to make speed, scale and spread in mind; this ensures that trainees hit the learning platforms more interactive so that we can con- the ground running. CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
AT&T: Continuously Dialing Up the Learning Evolution
AT&T’s corporate strategy is focused on making learning as effortless as possible. Technology helps to weave development into most areas of employees’ daily work lives. BY MIA MANCINI
T&T Inc. focuses on aligning the company around a common culture, strategy and priorities. To that end, the American multinational telecommunications conglomerate understands the impact that learning investments have on success. “AT&T’s learning program shatters the traditional model of learning,” said John Palmer, senior vice president and CLO at AT&T. “We are at the table with the leaders of each of our business units, customizing our curricula for what it needs most.” Palmer oversees AT&T University, or TU, along with talent acquisition. TU is the company’s primary workforce learning and development vehicle. CEO Randall Stephenson and the HR function launched it along with the company’s flagship training program, Leading with Distinction, making TU an epicenter for continuous learning. “TU is our chairman’s platform for developing a diverse leadership team, delivering strategic business training, and aligning, engaging and energizing our workforce to drive innovation,” Palmer said. Through TU, employees have completed about 2.5 million webbased transformation courses, and they earn profile badges upon completing required coursework. In 2016, all Leading with Distinction programs had net promoter scores higher than 90 percent. 40 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
“We are at the table with the leaders of each of our business units, customizing our curricula for what it needs most.” — John Palmer, senior vice president and chief learning officer, AT&T
The leadership team emphasizes continuous learning, and the company’s learning organization works directly with senior leaders to set the agenda and build the Leading with Distinction curricula. The program provides managers and front-line employees with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the technology industry. Its virtual component, the Leading with Distinction Virtual Leadership Summit, helps ensure that employees are aligned with the company strategy. “Involvement by leadership is critical in the success of training and development and reskilling efforts,” Palmer said. AT&T invests $250 million a year in internal training programs — providing about 20 million hours of training a year — and more than $30 million annually on tuition assistance. It works. Last year, the company filled more than 40 percent of 40,000 open jobs with internal candidates. Further, those who completed reskilling training were four times as likely to make a career advancing move. For example, internal applicants in the technology and operations group who completed reskilling training were more than twice as likely to be hired for a management job. Technology offers a host of new learning opportunities as well. The John Palmer of AT&T. company has pioneered groundbreaking learning platforms and tools like interactive broadcast video, classrooms of the future, MOOCs and social learning platforms. “We’re a technology company, so it’s natural that we weave technology into every aspect of our L&D operations,” Palmer said. “We are working with external partners to create additional training opportunities leading to certifications in specialized fields like big data, computer science and data science.” For instance, nanodegree programs help employees earn self-paced, fast-track technical credentials in areas like mobile development and data analytics. Some 20,000 learners worldwide, including 2,000 AT&T employees, have enrolled in them, and nearly 450 employees have earned a credential. The company is also focused on improving the employee learning experience by investing in other tech-centric concepts like virtual reality. Keeping up with new technology ensures internal and external training is designed to be completed quickly, while also being flexible, affordable and mobile-ready.
The effectiveness of AT&T’s learning strategy is rooted in the dynamic nature of its curriculum. It’s not a static approach, but one that evolves each year based on the company’s overall strategic direction. In 2015, the learning strategy focused on AT&T’s evolution to a software-defined, internet-based communications network. In 2016, the learning strategy addressed video’s role in the future of AT&T’s wireline and wireless networks. In 2017, AT&T’s corporate strategy will focus on creating a premier entertainment company, one that makes learning as effortless as possible. Recent innovations in its learning tools are in line with the company’s future plans. For instance, AT&T’s Interactive Virtual Learning platform offers a lifelike learning experience through live instruction. “Among our priorities for this year is more mobile, virtual, on-demand training, which allows our workforce the flexibility to be lifelong learners,” Palmer said. CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Mountain America Credit Union: Peak Learning
Learning and development is a priority at Mountain America because leaders recognize their impact on employee and company success. BY MIA MANCINI
o alter Mountain America Credit Union’s commitment to workforce learning and development would be to sacrifice its future. This philosophy has guided the federally chartered credit union’s long-term goal to have the most qualified and well-prepared employees. Suzanne Oliver, chief learning officer and senior vice president of talent and member development, or TMD, at Mountain America, has been promoting learning and development for more than 25 years. Her team is viewed as a strategic partner, one that consults with business leaders to understand their learning needs. She has a seat at the table for strategic planning efforts to ensure those development needs are heard. “This leads to better results and positive impacts on employees,” Oliver said. Mountain America’s learning strategy is effective because it includes stakeholders from the very beginning of the process. During strategic planning, Oliver works with her senior leader peers to define learning function goals and to collect information about strategic team goals. These stakeholders complete a form on important results that must be accomplished, critical areas for improvement and their ideal partnership with the TMD team. “This approach results in a more effective partnership and a better understanding of overall L&D needs,” Oliver said. Senior executives provide the learning function with a high level of support, giving regular program updates and ensuring they are accessible to employees at learning events. For instance, they meet
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“Our goal for 2017 is for all employees to have a well-planned and achievable IDP [individual development plan].” — Suzanne Oliver, senior vice president and CLO of talent member development, Mountain America Credit Union
“Employee knowledge is key to the success and growth of Mountain America,” she explained. To ensure their efforts continue to contribute to enterprisewide success, the TMD team regularly evaluates learning programs by testing, surveying and employing focus groups. For instance, post-training job performance for new financial service representatives is measured by comparing performance to existing financial service representatives. In 2016, at 90 days post-training, trainees were exceeding the established credit union rescued loan volume goal by 3 percent and Mountain America’s goal by 20.4 percent. This equaled more than $360 million in savings. Also in 2016, 34 percent of all tellers hired were trained virtually through e-learning courses, webinars, job shadowing, videos and superviMarshall Paepke, Suzanne Oliver, Sterling Nielsen of Mountain America Credit Union. sor coaching. A retention rate of 75 percent for this new employees over lunch during MACU 101, the compa- group of primarily part-time tellers exceeded Mountain ny’s new employee orientation. Senior leaders also share their America’s goal by 8 percent. history and experiences in MACU’s leadership classes, inFront-line employees are not the only ones who receive cluding challenges and lessons learned. “Our senior leaders developmental attention. Oliver said leadership developare generous with their time and very willing to participate ment is also a priority for 2017. Currently, the company’s because they recognize the value of this investment and what leadership development roadmap provides leaders with it means to the employees,” Oliver said. guidance as they work through development opportuniLearning at the company goes beyond in-person sup- ties. Roadmaps also assist managers as they create employee port as well. Mountain America offers a variety of learning individual development plans, or IDPs. “Our goal for options. The online Knowledge Center offers credit infor- 2017 is for all employees to have a well-planned and mation and company operational procedures. TMD mem- achievable IDP,” Oliver said. Mountain America’s Leaderbers on the Knowledge Management and Learning Tech- ship Academy provides tools to help leaders excel in curnology team hold regularly scheduled meetings to ensure rent roles, while its Mastering Leadership Program adcontent is current. vances high potential leaders. Mountain America University delivers development opEmployee development will remain a priority for 2017. tions, including virtual teller training, webinars and the Ca- “The team will collaborate with key stakeholders to identify reer Advancement Program. CAP uses an employee reward the most vital roles in their areas and determine the skills and recognition program called Applause to award points crucial to success in these jobs,” Oliver said. New career redeemable for prizes for learning achievement. Oliver said pathway plans will connect to IDPs to build skills and the program allows leaders to share their progress with their knowledge in an employee’s current role and prepare them teams and encourage commitment to goal fulfillment. for future careers. CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Deloitte: Putting Learning Skin in the Game
With a supportive, development-centric culture and highly invested leaders, Deloitte can put some real teeth behind the idea of learning application on the job. BY KELLYE WHITNEY
magine the following scenario: A partner attends a program on relationship mastery called The Art of The Story. Afterward, he begins to rethink his approach to the oral part of Deloitte’s RFP process. Typically, it’s data driven. When presenting to clients, slides help to prove the firm’s past work. But after completing the program this partner saw an opportunity. He used storytelling in place of slides, and he and his team subsequently won a five-year contract for $45 million. “You can’t get very many stories that you can tie to a development experience,” said Nicole Roy-Tobin, managing director of strategy and innovation for talent development at Deloitte. “That is a perfect example of one that exemplifies how when you take learning, it’s designed well, and you apply those concepts — and in this case he also brings his team on that journey with him — and it really made a difference.” Not compelling? How about this tale of profitable learning program redesign for the company’s business technology ana-
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“We don’t have to drag people to our development programs.” — Nicole Roy-Tobin, managing director of strategy and innovation for talent development, Deloitte
From left: Jessica Lopez, Graham Johnston, Horit Bhattacharya, Leslie Knowlton, Neda Schlictman, Terry Bickham, Lisa Nichols, Jeff Orlando.
lysts? Post-redesign face-to-face time decreased from 13 to seven program days, and that time was supplemented with self-paced nanolearning and user-generated content. Business technology analysts were out of the market for two weeks instead of three, and that increased market time meant a revenue realization of some $4.6 million plus travel savings of roughly $250,000. That’s learning in practice at its best. Further, Roy-Tobin said program redesign is something done regularly. Not to save costs per se — though it’s a fabulous side effect — but because looking critically at a program that’s been in place for a few years to consider how technology can bring learning to life, and what is the best way to help drive performance, is the right thing to do. It’s also good for the business. Deloitte conducts learning impact surveys that continuously get high ratings from participants in terms of relevance, learning, impact and whether or not they’d recommend it to colleagues. Beyond that, Roy-Tobin said the truth is that people at Deloitte participate in learning willingly. “We don’t have to drag people to our development programs.” The most popular initiatives on soft skills and various aspects of leadership development often have waitlists. “We don’t have to fight for our dollars,” she explained. “I’m not suggesting that there’s an endless pot of gold by any stretch, but because our leaders are active in every stage of our budget planning process — which is a whole activity in alignment — they recognize the criticality of
our role in their achieving their business objectives.” Leaders actively participate in vision and strategy lab exercises, take time out from clients and their busy schedules to serve as facility, deans, facilitators, program sponsors and champions, even designers. They are involved in making decisions on what the talent development team invests in and what it doesn’t. Roy-Tobin described it as having a lot at stake. “Their willingness to sign off on our choices is not a rubber-stamp activity by any stretch of the imagination. They’re very embedded in the process with us,” she explained. “That is a testament to recognizing that talent development is an elite part of the organization.” To sustain the developmental momentum, Deloitte plans to invest more in strategic priority teams, a kind of R&D that considers how the company can stay ahead of the game. Results to date include an enhanced digital learning strategy with a three-year roadmap on what technology the company will tackle and when based on internal and external research. Analytics will also play a role in Deloitte’s learning future. For example, Roy-Tobin said data revealed that at the five- or six-year mark, engagement for some professionals takes a dip. The company used that information to pilot an approach reaching out to those professionals’ managers to offer tools, enabling an open conversation to avoid attrition or a dip in engagement, and reinvigorate commitment and engagement to keep performance high. CLO Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
industryinsights Best Practices in Experiential Learning By The National Conference Center
Experiential learning presents a unique growth opportunity for participants, as well as a tool that planners can use to achieve a specific outcome. Differentiated from traditional team-building, experiential learning uses a blended approach, integrating activities, exercises, adventure, quiet time and post-event coaching to create powerful programs of leadership development, strategic planning, mentoring and coaching, communication, feedback and observation, as well as enhancement of behavior styles. In partnership with The Browne Center for Innovative Learning, The National Conference Center operates a stateof-the-art challenge course to provide training and learning opportunities for their clients that follows these best practices:
Barrier-Free Learning Barrier-free learning is hands-on training in a lab-like setting versus the traditional meeting room or classroom. Your selected venue should deliver maximum flexibility and support to meet your specific needs. For example, The National Conference Center took away the barrier of the “white table” and created an entire workroom and lab for simulation/ scenario training for a major client to develop new skills.
Learning By Choice A ropes challenge course with skilled facilitators can deliver a motivational Challenge-by-Choice approach. Learning programs can be designed to meet a variety of customizable goals with a role for everyone—even if individuals choose not to physically participate.
Learning By Shared Experiences Creating shared experiences where everyone—from C-level executives to assistant managers—is involved collectively takes each participant out of their comfort zone and into a creative problem-solving task.
Learning By Silence Facilitators are allowing more time for conferees’ solo quests, reflection, meditation time and movements like yoga that can provide powerful reconnection with the natural
world—and the true inner self—opening new channels of connection and learning.
Learning By Doing Learners participate in curated experiences that are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis. Active engagement is achieved by posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative and constructing meaning.
Learning Through Application A number of post-program strategies can be arranged to help facilitate a continued learning process—including selfdirected debrief meetings; professional coaching sessions by phone or in-person; or follow-up, mini sessions. All approaches can be highly productive and fun, assisting participants in real-time learning application issues. The National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia has distinguished itself as a genuine pioneer in the learning and development industry for over 40 years. As one of the largest and most comprehensive conference centers in the nation, this multipurpose venue accommodates from 10 to 1,200 guests in flexible facilities designed for productive, distractionfree meetings, events and residential training sessions. The Browne Center has been providing innovative experiential learning programs since the early 1980s. It provides a wide range of programming, from comprehensive trainings to shorter oneday sessions. The Browne Center’s learning programs evolve to meet the needs of clients, and its diverse client base allows it to draw upon best practices from a variety of disciplines and remain sensitive to specific needs and outcomes. The six-acre National Challenge Course on The National Conference Center campus consists of five low elements plus many portable options, which are weight-bearing, problemsolving activities that can accommodate 15 or more people at any one time. Additionally, six high elements can be performed in small or large groups. All high elements are dynamic relays in which participants hold the rope for one another.
Just 45 minutes from Washington DC, The National Conference Center delivers warm hospitality within a dedicated conference environment devoted to learning and development. The 1.25+ million-squarefoot meeting facility houses versatile indoor and outdoor venues to host groups of 10 to 1,200 within 150 classrooms and 917 guestrooms. Productivity is supported by sophisticated technology, an expansive leadership development challenge course and Certified Meeting Professionals that take care of every detail so you and your team can focus solely on achieving goals.
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industryinsights From Required to Inspired New research into experimental HR practices offers impressive insights By Tim Harnett
The human resources function has held a traditionally transactional role, focusing on organizational training and compliance. However, today’s HR departments must do more to attract top talent, retain high performers and drive business value. HR professionals can accomplish these tasks through experimental HR practices — cuttingedge solutions to business challenges. Recent research from Emory Executive Education provides insights into experimental HR practices at the organizations of 394 survey respondents. The survey asked professionals about their organization’s HR practices, pain points and approaches to common problems. Applying a maturity curve to survey results yielded information on what organizations at the forefront of experimental HR practices do differently from the rest. One in seven organizations has an experimental approach Experimental HR relies on the scientific method to test scenarios, using experimental models to gain insights on how to improve efficiency and effectiveness where people, technology and process meet. This approach might include using pilot programs, control groups or measurement models. To create a maturity model, the survey divided organizational approaches to human resources into one of three avenues: transactional (focused on compliance), best-practice driven (following others’ footsteps) and experimental. Fifteen percent of survey respondents identified their organization’s approach as experimental. Experimental organizations actively pilot new programs and try out new ideas to see if they work. Testing new human resources initiatives isn’t limited to large, multinational organizations. Experimental HR practices are found at companies of all shapes and sizes. Experimental HR organizations have different strategic approaches to improving employee
engagement, retention and work culture. Such organizations seek to influence employee behavior, rather than making sure employees simply follow established rules. When establishing a new HR approach, experimental organizations are more likely than transactional or best practice driven organizations to take steps to ensure program success. Example steps include running a pilot program, researching potential conflicts and making program adjustments as needed. While only a third of transactional organizations will run a pilot program, nearly three-quarters of experimental organizations will. Experimental organizations are more likely to take other proactive steps as well (Figure 1). Roadblocks to experimental HR (and how to overcome them) Applying new insights to HR practices can be complex. The data suggest that organizations with different approaches face different challenges. Generally, experimental organizations report fewer challenges and roadblocks than either best practice driven or transactional organizations. FIGURE 1: Steps taken when implementing new HR initiatives (by approach) Run a pilot program to test potential solutions
Research potential conflicts
Make program adjustments to increase effectiveness
75.4% Best Practice Driven
Among all approaches, the top challenge is the lack of staff or resources needed to implement experimental HR initiatives. However, experimental HR organizations reported fewer roadblocks in all areas versus other approaches. For example, while four in 10 transactional organizations report resistance from their HR staff in trying new approaches, only a quarter of experimental organizations report the same problem (Figure 2). How can organizations overcome their challenges? Having measurement tools, goals and procedures in place at the start of a new initiative rollout has a tremendous impact on an organization’s ability to isolate the positive effects of an experimental HR process. For 66.7 percent of respondents at experimental HR organizations, they have the tools in place to assess the success or failure of their experimental offerings. This is nearly double the amount of transactional organizations who feel the same way (35.7 percent). Other ways to overcoming roadblocks include conducting training on scientific approaches to HR or providing the HR team with critical skills. While there will always be a place in the workforce for compliance-related HR, today’s HR function must do more to successfully attract top talent. By employing the latest best practices in analytics, metrics and behavioral science, organizations can transform their HR function from reactive to proactive. Experimental HR initiatives don’t require large budgets or special
FIGURE 2: Organizational roadblocks to experimental HR (by approach) 65.5%
Transactional Best Practice Driven Experimental 48.7% 40.4%
Resistance from staff to trying new approaches
Lack of senior leader buy-in
Lack of staffing/ resources
skills, just a willingness to think outside the box. Success starts with a commitment to implement a program with defined metrics in place that will isolate the impact of the program’s success and show how the program adds business value. Organizations looking to implement experimental HR processes can look to others’ past success and follow them until it’s time to lead. Visit www.Worksmarter.org for more information. To view the full results of Emory’s experimental HR research, visit http://worksmarter. org/HRWhitePaper.
From Required to Inspired How human resource practitioners support the business and create organizational value through experimental HR practices WorkSmarter.org
Emory Executive Education offers custom executive education programs and open enrollment short courses and certificates to elevate individual capabilities and organizational competencies. Our programs feature Goizueta Business School’s acclaimed faculty alongside our diverse network of practitioners who bring business theory and its practical application. We are globally regarded as a leader in executive education, providing rich experiences designed to provide leaders with the skills they need to work smarter. Business education has been an integral part of Emory University’s identity since 1919. That kind of longevity and significance does not come without a culture built around success and service. Emory University’s Goizueta Business School offers a unique, community-oriented environment paired with the academic prestige of a major research institution. Goizueta trains business leaders of today and tomorrow with an Undergraduate degree program, a Two-Year Full-Time MBA, a One-Year MBA, an Evening MBA, an Executive MBA (Weekend and Modular formats), a Doctoral degree and a portfolio of non-degree Emory Executive Education courses. Together, the Goizueta community strives to solve the world’s most pressing business problems. The school is named for the late Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. WorkSmarter.org
WHEN A MANAGER
SHOULDN’T COACH Whether leaders are focused on their own development and growth, or they’re determined to help others to grow, coaching should be thoughtfully and carefully applied — or not done at all.
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BY PATRICIA OVERL AND
dd coaching to my already busy schedule? I can’t! I don’t have time. I don’t know how, and no one is paying attention, anyway.” These are common responses from leaders when they’re asked — or told — to add coaching to their already overloaded plates. All over the world, leaders are using coaching to gain a competitive edge. But does coaching solve every problem one might encounter in the workplace? No. It’s not a panacea. Determining when coaching is a good investment can be challenging. Consider the following scenarios where managers shouldn’t coach: If they prefer command and control: If managers find direct reports coming to their
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office frequently with questions and requests, missing deadlines, prioritizing work in the wrong order, and being too paralyzed to make decisions, they shouldn’t coach. They may have created a fiefdom where they control everything. The challenge is, the manager is just one person and may not have enough bandwidth to be in control all of the time — and it becomes impossible to take a vacation. Consider Ben. Let’s say he’s a director at an automobile manufacturer. He leads a team of 10 people including smart young guns from the Ivy League as well as tested veterans. As part of a high potential program, Ben worked with an external coach for six months. During one frustrating meeting with his coach, he said, “Why can’t the people on my team just do their jobs?” He was fed up with the long hours he was putting in doing his subordinates’ work, not to mention the constant interruptions from his people asking him what to do and how to do it. “They can’t make decisions, they don’t do things the right way, and they keep missing deadlines,” he said. He had no idea he was a command and control leader who would rather do than delegate. He needed a coach. If they don’t value innovation: If a manager stifles creativity, loses talented people and slows the pace of change, they shouldn’t coach. Consider the following scenario. Barbara, a vice president of marketing for a financial organization, meets regularly with her boss and with HR. Turnover in her department is at an all-time high. Exit interviews suggest people are leaving because they don’t feel their ideas get fair consideration. She said she knows she has a reputation for shutting people down and stifling creativity but can’t quite see why that is. Barbara needs a coach. If they have a negative attitude about people: If a manager believes people are lazy or that all feedback should be reserved for the annual performance review, they shouldn’t coach. A supervisor gets some tough feedback after a staff meeting. We’ll call him Armando. His boss comments that he seems to consistently have two dismissive responses to his team’s ideas: “Been there, done that” or “What’s wrong with the way we’ve always done things?” Recently he wrote up an employee for laziness. Later, leaders learned the employee was suffering from an illness but was afraid to tell Armando what was going on. Armando doesn’t see any need to change his leadership style or his attitude. He needs a coach.
Command and control managers may not have enough bandwidth to be in control all of the time.
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If they have more than enough time and skills: If a manager has tons of free time, knows all the answers and thinks coaching others is a flavor-of-the-month methodology, they shouldn’t coach. Erin is a new manager in a high-tech sector that provides software solutions to some of the world’s biggest companies. Her technical skills have made her a rising star. She came in with management experience and is now managing her former peers. She is hesitant to stop doing the things that have made her successful in the past. She finds herself telling her direct reports what to do even when she feels they may have better ideas but aren’t speaking up. Recently she told her boss, “I’ve tried to encourage my people, but I end up in hour-long conversations and nothing gets done!” She needs a coach. These stories have one thing in common: In each situation, the use of coaching skills would have led to a better outcome. “Building a Coaching Culture with Managers and Leaders,” a research study completed earlier this year, examines the effects leaders who use coaching skills can have. The International Coach Federation and the Human Capital Institute found: “A strong coaching culture positively correlates with employee engagement and financial performance. Nearly two-thirds of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures rate their employees as being highly engaged, compared to only half from organizations without strong coaching cultures. In terms of financial impact, 51 percent of respondents from organizations with strong coaching cultures report their 2015 revenue to be above that of their industry peer group, compared to 38 percent from all other organizations.” “While we are in the early stages of building out a coaching culture, we are already seeing a positive impact on employee engagement, leadership development, improved teamwork, productivity and decision-making,” said Shana Erickson, vice president of leadership development and executive coach for Columbia Bank. Of course, there are times when coaching is not appropriate. It’s a rookie mistake to think coaching will work in every situation. There are also times when coaching as a standalone development intervention can backfire. Great leaders blend coaching with other leader behaviors to get the best results. Here are two key situations where leading with coaching is the wrong move. Someone doesn’t know what to do: When a manager doesn’t know how to get started or how to complete a task, coaching is not appropriate. When a person’s competence on specific tasks or goals is low, the best
approach is to offer specific direction. Once the manager shares exactly what needs to be done and by when, he or she should check for understanding. Start with, “These are the first three steps I would take.” End with, “Can you summarize what we’ve agreed to, so we are aligned?” Listen, and then course correct where needed. When context is missing: When a leader is moving toward coaching, or making other changes, it’s important to set the context for new behaviors rather than surprising the person with the change. Managers can signal a change by informing individuals they are going to try something new. “Great business results cannot be sustainable without skilled and engaged employees working as a team to reach common goals,” said Jean-Pierre Comte, president of Barilla Americas. “Building the organization is the first priority for a business leader, and coaching is one of the tools they need to do it.” To be successful at coaching, five must-haves need to be in place:
Environment: Before coaching, managers should let direct reports know they’ll be doing things a bit differently. Set the stage, get permission to coach and check in frequently to ensure this new way of leading is hitting the mark. Trust: Trust is a foundation for any coaching relationship. The manager’s role can be especially hard because they have both perceived and real power over direct reports. Getting people to talk openly and honestly about their needs, motivations and skill level takes patience, practice and trust. In “Coaching Skills: The Missing Link for Leaders” a 2016 study examining the correlations between leader coaching behaviors and the resulting trust, affect or emotion, and work intention of their followers, The Ken Blanchard Cos. found “individuals who perceive their managers as exhibiting coaching behaviors are more likely to trust their leaders.” Coaching is one way leaders can
If a manager stifles creativity, loses talented people and slows the pace of change, they shouldn’t coach.
COACHING continued on page 64
THERE ARE PEOPLE WE WANT TO INFLUENCE THAT WE DON’T CONTROL. This forces us to be good at consulting, which is about the relationships we build when we do not have direct control in order to get our expertise fully used by others. For the past 40 years, Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting® training has helped millions of people build partnerships, solve problems and impact organizations in powerful ways. The training coupled with our extended learning and coaching services, offered in-person, online or blended, is guaranteed to stick with participants to achieve the results they desire.
IN OUR FLAWLESS CONSULTING WORKSHOPS, YOU WILL LEARN: New ways to deal with resistance • Skills to shift how you are perceived New partnering behaviors • Personally powerful ways to be more authentic Visit designedlearning.com or call (866) 770-2227. We would love to have a conversation about how we can partner with you to achieve the results you desire.
Answer the Call for
Authentic Leadership The best way to answer the call for authentic leadership is to redefine the term. Refocus it on how accurately individuals understand themselves, perceive situations and assess their environment rather than on how individuals present themselves.
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BY R ANDALL P. WHITE
uthentic leadership proponents have elbowed their way to the self-help forefront over the past decade. The concept has become a popular point of entry for executives seeking personal improvement and competitive advantage. This can be good — or not. Authentic leadership can be quickly misunderstood. There is a danger in oversimplifying the concept — some assume it’s “just be yourself ” — which diminishes the need for development. When it’s understood as a means rather than an end,
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authenticity becomes more complex, more introspective and more of a continuous process around interpersonal development. The real authenticity mission for corporate education is to promote continuous development. That requires assessment, feedback, coaching, learning and practice — the kind of work that true learning organizations are already doing.
The Pitfalls of Buzzword-based Learning “Nobody is completely authentic,” said Kerry Cronan, a clinical psychologist and executive coach. “That’s a myth, that somehow we achieve authentic leadership. We all have hidden selves.” As director of the Brisbane, Australia-based consultancy Syntactics, Cronan works with organizations to help individuals become more effective contributors and improve work processes. He said authentic leadership is a misnomer. It should not be necessary to pair the two separate terms. Globally, some might see authentic leadership as an excuse to be the ultimate ugly American, proudly asserting truths about themselves and others in order to win at all costs. Populist movements in Britain, Europe and the United States have smashed pretense and political correctness by putting greater value on unvarnished personality than on traditionally polished professionalism, consummate diplomacy and statesmanship. This has given authenticity a bad name, suggesting brutal honesty is a sign of leadership. But in business, brutal honesty is a behavior that executive coaches have spent decades unteaching. “You get people thinking that the more forthright people are presumably being authentic, whereas I don’t think that is really authentic,” Cronan said. “That could be a commanding or a promising leadership, but it’s not authentic. Instead, he said a truly promising style of leadership is like an escape route that keeps people alert to the promise rather than to the reality, he explained. “And I don’t think we should be disingenuous with people and say, ‘that’s authentic.’ ” There is something quite American about formulaic leadership approaches, even though U.S.-centric leadership development has enjoyed a decade or two of international appeal in academic settings. Christelle Bitouzet is an 56 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
3 Steps to Develop Authentic Leaders Authentic leaders possess integrity and trustworthiness. They are also empowering role models. But how can we develop authenticity in leaders?
Challenge their assumptions. Motivation researcher Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset begins with the fixed mindset, which sees qualities like leadership as set in stone. The growth mindset, on the other hand, views such qualities as attributes that can be transformed through effort.
For some, leadership is about being special — being born to lead. This assumption can be limiting as can the idea of not being “cut out for leadership.” The issue centers around engaging with development; why would someone who believes they were born to lead, or that they aren’t the leadership type, commit themselves to leadership development? Developing men and women who will embrace the challenges and responsibilities that leadership entails starts with revealing, challenging and testing their most deeply held assumptions about themselves.
Challenge them to be present. British voice and acting coach Patsy Rodenburg often talks about three circles of energy. In the first circle, our attention and energy is directed to our own thoughts and inner monologue — reflection mode. The third circle is its mirror, where our focus and energy are directed outward — where we are on transmit. But we need to be in the second circle, the present, where our attention and energy create connections with others. When we’re present it is more difficult to be inauthentic; it forces us to reveal ourselves.
Challenge them together. Leadership development requires placing individuals in challenging, unfamiliar environments that trigger changes in how they see themselves, their organization and their role. Interaction and engagement with others is essential. By developing leaders together, we create a collective leadership where a shared sense of purpose and values provide the context for individuals to align their personal values and beliefs with the common goal. Feelings of authenticity in any relationship often arise not from being our actual selves, but from feeling we can be our best self. Creating authentic leaders who can be their best selves should be our goal.
— Ian Stewart is head of leadership and organizational practice at Kaplan Professional Education. To comment email editor@CLOmedia.com.
Learning and achieving Vanguard considers a culture of learning to be one of our greatest assets. Every day, we enable our crew— that’s what we call our employees—to reach their highest potential so we can help clients achieve their financial goals and dreams. We’re proud to join fellow LearningElite organizations in Chief Learning Officer magazine’s Winners’ Circle. We congratulate this year’s honorees, and we salute all those who create a culture of learning. Connect with us today to learn how Vanguard can help you reach your goals and dreams. vanguard.com
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affiliate professor at HEC Paris. There she teaches social responsibility and is one of the academic coordinators for the business school’s eMBA program, which owes much to American leadership theory. [Editor’s note: Author teaches at HEC Paris.] Her 145 students in two classes, many of whom have significant international business experience, will sometimes ask about authenticity as a topic, but not in the sense of a social movement. “They’re trying to figure out how they can lead better with a stronger vision, with a bit more passion and with more efficiency,” Bitouzet said. “They wrap this into the idea of being authentic without really referring to the authentic leadership theory. They don’t align the word with something strong in terms of academic design. They are looking for ways to align better with stakeholders’ reality and with their team’s needs.” In this case, the perception outside the U.S. is that authentic leadership is a shortcut around more complex, in-depth, self-development. Bitouzet said most leaders are willing to leave behind the idea that they can acquire or hone their leadership ability via a two-minute class, a set of quick recipes, or just by being themselves. “They want to develop their ability to be more inspiring, more trusted and a confidence generator. Even former Medtronic CEO and author Bill George, who helped popularize the term authentic leadership, said there is a right way and a wrong way to think of authenticity. In “The Truth About Authentic Leaders,” an article that appeared on the Harvard Business School’s website in July 2016, George differentiates between those who misunderstand authenticity with those who understand it as aspirational. “They don’t hide behind their flaws; instead, they seek to understand them. This lifelong developmental process is similar to what musicians and athletes go through in improving their capabilities.” The most commonly understood authentic leadership approach has a strengths-based component that can short-circuit the difficult work of learning and development, giving individuals who would be well-advised to improve on weaknesses and correct negative behaviors a pass to become well-rounded and more effective.
At their worst, authentic leadership programs can undo a true learning organization’s efforts by advancing leaders who may be abrasive and have narrow bands of interpersonal competency. At best, authentic leadership can help an organization interested in learning build a commitment to self-awareness and personal improvement.
When Authenticity is Authentic The best interview question to baseline authenticity might be, “Tell me about a time you tried something and failed, and tell me what you learned from it.” The question invites honesty and vulnerability. It asks the candidate to reveal a mistake, but more importantly it asks them to describe how they were able to grow from the experience. It speaks to the candidate’s ability to learn even through conflict or dire circumstances. From a developmental standpoint, this is the essence of authenticity and its importance to the organization. Further, authenticity is key to learning. It starts at home with introspection and a quest for continual growth. Leaders may exude these traits in their interactions, as they allow themselves to be open to outside input and accept what needs to be addressed. Equally, an authentic leader is aware and empathetic of their followers and colleagues. George’s ideal of an authentic leader has merit as it describes self-exploration, seeking feedback, understanding one’s purpose and adapting to be more effective. This is also another way to describe a versatile, agile leader. It takes authenticity to become a leader who has grown, who wants to be better and is striving to do this through continual development. Herminia Ibarra, a professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, offered a useful categorization for authenticity in human behavior. She differentiates “low self-monitor” and “high self-monitor” individuals. Low self-monitors may be very frank and truthful without understanding the consequences of their actions. A low self-monitor might be very authentic but not very effective in working with others.
Authenticity starts at home with introspection and a quest for continual growth. Equally, an authentic leader is aware and empathetic of their followers and colleagues.
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Leaders Deserve a Seamless Transition BY SARAH FISTER GALE
merson Electric Co. prides itself on its leadership culture. The $22 billion global manufacturer of electrical and electromechanical products headquartered in St. Louis built its culture around giving young leaders many opportunities to challenge themselves. Managers are encouraged to take on new roles to stretch their skills and expand their company knowledge. “Emerson likes to promote from within,” said Steve Pelch, Emerson’s executive vice president of organizational planning and development. “We value varied experiences, and it is common for senior management to hold five to 10 different roles during the course of their careers.” Moving leaders into assignments in different business units and geographies helps them build their confidence and their management style. It also can make them vulnerable at critical points in their careers, said Terrence Donahue, the company’s corporate director of learning. When he took over this role four years ago, the first thing he did was review the center’s portfolio of leadership training options. He noticed a glaring omission. Tracy Reiter found success earlier than anticipated in her new role thanks to a transition plan. While the company had a diverse selection of talent development and leadership training courses, there was nothing to help leaders in transition. Donahue said that put the leaders and the company at risk. “The first few months in a new leadership role can hold incredible potential but it can also be incredibly perilous.”
SNAPSHOT Emerson Electric’s Leadership in Transition program helps new leaders focus and improve productivity in those first crucial days on the job.
mance data from business units across the company and found that 22 percent of Emerson’s underperforming sites directly correlated to failed leadership transitions. That was enough to support development of new skill building into the leadership curriculum. Donahue had read Michael D. Watkins’ book “The First 90 Days,” which lays out strategies to help leaders conquer transition challenges, and get up to speed faster and smarter in new roles. He used that book as a framework, working with Watkins to develop a customized version called Successful Leadership Transitions. “This is not a workshop,” Donahue explained. “It is an operating system for how leaders can manage and lead going forward.” After running pilot sessions, Donahue’s team rolled out the program in February 2016. At the heart of this system is a one-day event, which all leaders at Emerson are encouraged to participate in either to prepare for a new position, or while in the first weeks of their transition. The event is built to give leaders time and space to define their short- and long-term goals for the new role, identify peers they need to connect with and establish a plan of action for the first few months. “Most leaders heading into a job transition have some advanced worries,” Pelch said. “This gives them a chance to plan their strategy and gain confidence.”
The First 90 Days
‘I Would Have Gotten There, Eventually’
When people move into new leadership positions they are often left to their own devices. As a result, they may flounder before finding their bearings. Most of the time they succeed, but without the right support, those first few months can be chaotic for leader and team. “If you approach transitions in a more thoughtful manner, you can accelerate learning while minimizing disruption,” Donahue said. To make his case, Donahue’s team analyzed perfor-
Participants start by identifying what type of leadership situation they are moving into based on the STARS options: start-up, turnaround, accelerated growth, realignment or sustainable success. “This step is important because each requires a different leadership approach,” Donahue said. Then they go through a variety of exercises that include mapping the skills and information they need to be successful in the role, identifying gaps and prioritiz-
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ing tasks and projects to help them secure early wins. Later in the day they build a business plan for their teams, and figure out which company stakeholders they need to connect with to find guidance and build plan support. After the program, participants are expected to go back to their managers to review their action plans for the coming 90 days. “Going through the program provides a lot of aha moments,” said Bret Larson, director of talent management and analytics, who completed it last year
and they needed a formal selection process to prioritize projects based on business need rather than the seniority of the person making the request. The team brainstormed a new process, then piloted the new system using the next 10 requests to come into the unit. It delivered immediate benefits. “The team feels like they have more control over their time, and we are seeing more predictive results.” It also helped them explain to a senior executive why making a change to the existing ERP system
“Going through the program provides a lot of aha moments. I would have gotten there eventually, but it probably would have taken weeks instead of days.” — Bret Larson, director of talent management, Emerson Electric when he moved into his current role. The most impactful part for him was creating a list of peers he needed to connect with and why. “I probably already knew it in the back of my head, but we actually scheduled those meetings as part of the program,” he said. “It was extremely helpful.” At the end of the day, he also had a formal 90-day action plan to help him focus on specific objectives, like reducing social recruiting spend without negatively affecting the company’s ability to recruit. “I would have gotten there eventually, but it probably would have taken weeks instead of days,” he said.
Solve Problems on Company Time Tracy Reiter had a similar experience. In late 2016 she transitioned from a position in Emerson’s corporate office to vice president of information technology for the InSinkErator business line, which required a move to Racine, Wisconsin. Her boss encouraged her to complete Successful Leadership Transitions as part of her transition plan. “Between the personal and professional transition this kind of training could easily get overlooked,” she said. But she made the time and she said it was worth it. The event gave her a chance to look beyond the dayto-day needs of the job to create a more focused strategy to navigate the transition. “It forced me to think though how I was going to apply my action plan and in what timeline.” Like Larson, she set up meetings with peer leaders and all of her team for the following week to get their perception on what the organization excels at and where it could improve. She said having those conversations revealed that her new team was getting bogged down in requests,
didn’t make sense because they were replacing it in six months. “It’s not about saying no to people,” she explained. “It’s about having conversations about what is the best use of our resources.” Reiter said she would have gotten to this process change eventually, but thanks to the program she had the time and clarity to make it a part of her transition plan and to deliver an early win that made her team happier and more productive. “It gave me the space to focus on what I needed to do first to be successful.” The course also indirectly helped her personal life. “Without that course I probably would have spent a lot of evenings and weekends mapping out my transition plan. It gave me a little more work-life balance.” The program is still new, and Emerson hasn’t measured its business impact yet, but anecdotally it is having a positive effect. Donahue said 135 people have completed it, and he anticipates 115-130 current or emerging leaders will attend in 2017. In addition to offering it at global headquarters, his team is including it as part of several global leadership development programs offered at Emerson locations in Asia and the EU. They are also using the company’s organizational review process to identify any employee at director level or higher who will be making a move into a new role to target for the program. “We are getting so many requests it is hard to keep up with demand.” Pelch said the program is a valuable addition to the leadership development culture at Emerson. “This program is about making those transitions happen seamlessly so our leaders can flourish,” he explained. “In the end, that value translates back to the business.” CLO Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in Chicago. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com. Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
The Truth About Leadership Skill Gaps Five skills — entrepreneurship, business savvy, driving execution, decision-making and leading change — link prominently to bottom-line returns like net profits and return on assets. BY EVAN SINAR AND RICH WELLINS
ew things in business ever stay the same for long. That includes leadership skills. Some skills — communication, coaching, execution — are always important and never go out of style. Others ebb and flow with the changes that define the increasingly complex environments in which leaders must operate. To help bring clarity to these skill shifts, Development Dimensions International in February of 2016 conducted a comprehensive analysis of assessment data from more than 15,000 leaders and candidates for five leadership levels from the front line to the C-suite. This dataset includes more than 300 organizations spanning more than 20 industries and 18 countries.
‘Money Skills’ Leaders Need The study, “High Resolution Leadership,” analyzed which competencies most closely associate with organizational growth and profit to find out whether organizations that invest in leadership development show better bottom-line financial performance than their competitors. Data includes assessment results from 1,028 senior executives from 33 large organizations — on average, 26 per company — and combined these skills domains into a composite index of leadership competence. There was a strong relationship to revenue growth over a six-year period. The study also conducted a profit analysis, focusing on net profit and return on assets, using assessment data from 2,077 senior-level executives from
FIGURE 1: LEADER SKILLS RANKED BY AVERAGE SKILL LEVEL, 2006 TO 2014
27% Shape organizational strategy
Enhance organizational talent
Build high-performance culture
Create alignment and accountability
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34% Drive product innovation
37% Drive profitability
Drive process innovation
Drive efficiency (execute process)
56 % Cultivate a customer-focused culture
59 % Building strategic partnerships and relationships
Figures’ source: Development Dimensions International Inc., 2016
FIGURE 2: BUSINESS CONTEXTS IN ORDER OF LEADERSHIP READINESS Highest ranking
Operational decision-making Customer focus Cultivating networks Leading change Driving execution Empowerment/delegation Establishing strategic direction Coaching and developing others
proving quality, building relationships and focusing on customers and efficiency. Navigating the ambiguity that comes with more strategic challenges, however, like building or reinventing brands, markets, organizations and cultures, represent the most serious, context-driven skill gaps.
Getting Leader Skills on Track
Gaps in critical leader skills can have serious consequences for organizations. Here are some steps organizations can take to close the gaps: Start early. Organizations need to start developing the five “money skills” at lower leadership levels to increase the chance the organization can reap the payoff that accompanies having moreskilled leaders. Assess context alongside skills. Assessment is the most accurate way to determine a leader’s skills, but learning leaders also need to assess the business context. When CLOs understand the specific challenges leaders face now and in the near future, they can better grasp the width of leadership skill gaps. Implement a one-two punch. The next logical step is to combine knowledge of the business context and leaders’ skills into targeted development that grows the specific leader capabilities the organization needs. That one-two punch of learning and application is a proven way to ensure leadership skill development drives leader transformation. Not having leaders with the right skills can cost an organization — in profitable growth, in the ability to respond to major shifts and changes, in readiness to meet the current and future business challenges. On the other hand, skilled, capable leaders can impact the bottom line and make an organization more nimble, responsive and prepared. The best part is, organizations have a choice about what kind of leaders they want. CLO
Building organization talent
Lowest ranking 2006
44 organizations, about 47 per company. Organizations with leaders scoring higher in business management and leadership of people showed significantly greater net profit and ROA. Five skills in particular — entrepreneurship, business savvy, driving execution, decision-making and leading change — link prominently to bottom-line returns, including net profits and ROA. These are the “money skills” that correlate with a healthy bottom line.
Readiness for Business Challenges The study also revealed the 10 most common business contexts that organizations encounter, then synthesized them into business drivers that capture the broad leadership challenges that have to be overcome to execute strategy. The assessment data revealed that, given the wide range of these business drivers, leader readiness varies considerably; it isn’t particularly strong in any area. There is a critical mass of leaders who can effectively build strategic partnerships, focus their organizations on customers and improve process efficiency. Further, leader readiness showed strength in allocating resources to support strategy and enhance quality. On the other hand, the assessment data showed disturbingly low levels of leader readiness in shaping strategy, building a high-performance culture and enhancing organizational talent. The five lowest-rated business drivers point to a lack of capability to improve talent and performance, make big organizational enhancements — such as mergers and integrations — and take businesses in a new direction. The data show that executives are best equipped to focus on “here and now” challenges, such as im-
Evan Sinar is chief scientist and vice president for the Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research at DDI. Rich Wellins is senior vice president at DDI. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com. Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
COACHING continued from page 53
AUTHENTIC continued from page 58
build trust. [Editor’s note: The author works for the Ken Blanchard Cos.] Intent: Coaching is essentially about supporting others’ development and growth. It’s a two-way dialogue where the manager is one half of the equation. It is important to begin by being very clear about objectives and goals. If a manager notices that coaching is going off track, they should examine their own motivations and beliefs. It can be powerful to say, “That didn’t go the way I intended” and start again, working to be more supportive and encouraging. Erickson said she has found these five factors to be critical to coaching success in leaders and in professional coaches. “Many leadership programs overlook the importance of self-leadership — a strong sense of self and awareness of values, intentions and motivations that establish the foundation of trust.” Action: Development is good. Development with focused action is better. The purpose behind great coaching is to influence some kind of change in mindset and behavior. Encourage others to take specific actions that are focused on achieving a desired outcome. This moves coaching beyond much disdained naval gazing to a strategy with real bottom-line impact. Accountability: Leaders who use coaching skills help others commit to behavior change. Even with the best of intentions, people get sidetracked, work gets reprioritized, and sometimes life just gets in the way. Using coaching to hold people accountable can help them overcome obstacles. “To be effective, business leaders have to be aware of their strengths and talents as well as their weaknesses and blind spots,” Comte said. “Feedback from direct managers, peers or direct reports definitely helps to build this self-awareness. However, an external coach brings unbiased perspective that is rich with learnings from different contexts.” Whether a leader is focused on his own development and growth or is determined to help others to grow, coaching is a methodology that should be thoughtfully and carefully applied. Leaders have a responsibility to achieve positive business outcomes. Developing others so they can contribute to those outcomes is a critical part of that responsibility, and it should not to be taken lightly. Coaching effectively supports long-term, sustained employee development. Leaders who have an opportunity to use their coaching skills shouldn’t dismiss their employees’ needs by saying no. Instead, consider the higher engagement levels, trusting relationships and financial health to be gained from a shift to a coaching culture — and say yes. CLO
A high self-monitor is very careful about the impact of what they say. Still, one should not assume they are going to be any more effective, because there is a danger of becoming a people pleaser, prone to avoiding conflict or playing a role and not being themselves. A high self-monitor who truly understands their strengths and weaknesses and is aware of a tendency to avoid conflict might try to actively confront conflict. This is authentic leadership — putting themselves in the breach by attempting something they don’t do very well, for the betterment of themselves, their team and their organization. The authentic leader is someone who has grown in self-awareness, who is trying to be a better, more effective leader and who tries in several different ways using several different strategies to be better at dealing with conflict.
Patricia Overland is a senior coach with The Ken Blanchard Cos. To comment email editor@CLOmedia.com. 64 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Reconcile Authentic Leadership with Reality In the aforementioned example, engaging authentically involves accepting the conflict and embracing the uncertainty of not knowing how to engage in conflict well, with self-awareness and vulnerability. Learning leaders can point to this as something most true learning organizations already do for leadership development. “In our human nature, we are continuously ambiva-
In business, brutal honesty is a behavior that executive coaches have spent decades unteaching. lent because we’re dealing with the ambiguous. We’re continuously on the seesaw of reactivity and trying to find out where our sense of balance is all the time. That to my mind is the reality of authenticity,” Cronan said. “Thereby we talk about our human vulnerability.” But, he said there is a problem in how we talk about vulnerability and how other cultures may experience that. Western societies often have a cultural consciousness to be wary about being hurt. Therefore, leaders tend to look on ambivalence as a threat. Whereas Eastern societies such as China, for example, understand crisis as both a threat and an opportunity; this doesn’t always fit with the success oriented American society. “But if we’re going to talk about authenticity then I believe accepting making ourselves vulnerable is the only way we can talk about it.”
While authentic leaders are often placed on a higher pedestal, they are continuously immersed in the process to become better leaders. Then, authenticity is both aspirational and imperfect. It can be framed by traits that include but are not limited to: • Not being afraid of the truth; authentic leaders seek it out and value honest feedback. • Being OK with being wrong; they learn from mistakes. • Being accessible; they don’t hide behind a lot of barriers. Perhaps the best way to answer the call for authentic leadership is to redefine the term and refocus it on how accurately individuals understand themselves, perceive situations and assess their environment rather than on how individuals present
themselves. The best thing about the popularity of authentic leadership is it puts greater emphasis on development and underscores the need for learning. Learning leaders can respond with curricula based on increased levels of self-awareness using assessments, feedback and coaching to foster development and growth. If a company is already a learning organization, it’s probably already turning out leaders who embrace authenticity. CLO
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Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
7 Ways to Create a Coaching Culture
The process requires a hardcore leadership investment • BY GREGG THOMPSON
Gregg Thompson is the author of “The Master Coach: Leading with Character, Building Connections, and Engaging in Extraordinary Conversations,” and president of Bluepoint Leadership Development. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com.
magine your organization with a culture of coaching, where every interaction is an opportunity to learn, gain insight and increase performance. Nothing compares to coaching when it comes to helping people perform at their best. Individuals become energized — or re-energized — about their work, take full ownership of their performance, find and rejuvenate long-lost talents, and make major shifts in their contribution levels. If a company is to be agile, responsive and able to keep pace with its fast-changing environment, people at every level need the tools, the confidence and the will to be coaches for their teams and throughout the organization. Equipping managers with coaching skills is an important first step. But there’s no reason to stop at the management level. Even the most well-meaning, committed managers barely have time to coach their team members. Extending the coaching role beyond the managerial level can lighten the burden on those who are already overwhelmed, and equip others to step up. As you start to make coaching everyone’s business, it won’t just be an activity that occurs in scheduled sessions but a culture that pervades organizational life. The magic of a coaching culture is that it is infectious. Any time someone is well coached, they become more coach-like themselves. Employees at all levels begin to accept ownership and accountability for their work and relationships. They require less daily and direct supervision from managers as they develop their skills and strive to reach their full potential. Building a coaching culture is straightforward, but it demands an investment and personal involvement from leadership. Here are the seven things leaders need to do: Strongly encourage every employee to invite another organization member to coach them. Anyone can coach anyone else. Some will not get invited, and their feelings may be hurt. These people should thank you. Since we need to earn the right to coach others, this is very valuable, if a bit painful, feedback. Dive into the process yourself. Invite someone in the organization to coach you, and insist that all senior leaders do the same. You will notice that “insist” is a bit stronger than “encourage.” Remind your team that anyone can coach anyone. A good coach is a good coach. Don’t waste time in the futile pursuit of “good matches” or “chemistry,” and yes, you can coach your boss.
66 Chief Learning Officer • June 2017 • www.CLOmedia.com
Ask people to take on only one coaching assignment at a time. This will ensure that each person will receive their coach’s full attention and will spread the coaching opportunities and load
The magic of a coaching culture is that it is infectious. throughout the organization. Note, this does not absolve leaders from being consistently coach-like with all their team members. Provide the following loose but important guidelines: Coaching pairs should meet in person or via telephone for 30-60 minutes every two to three weeks to keep the momentum going for four to six months. This is enough time to develop new performance standards and create new habits. At the end of every coaching engagement, encourage people to invite a different organization member to coach them. There is always another, higher level of performance possible and a good coach will not rest until it is found. Equip everyone in your organization with the skills, perspectives and approaches necessary to immediately coach at a high level. If you find the right program, this will only take one day, two at the most. Unfortunately, most coach training programs focus an inordinate amount of attention on interpersonal skills such as active listening and providing feedback rather than what it takes to really be a coach. Have your people participate in a highly experiential training program that introduces them to the potency of coaching, provides them opportunities to practice real coaching and receive direct feedback. You will also want to make sure they are fully equipped with the tools necessary to: • Ask questions that pierce through closely held assumptions and mental models. • Constructively confront unhelpful behaviors, practices and attitudes. • Affirm strengths even if rarely employed. • Share fresh perspectives no matter how radical. Stand back and watch. When coaching becomes everyone’s business, it can change the entire game. CLO
2017 Learning Elite: The final ranking of this year’s 61 top companies for L&D.