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March 2020 | ChiefLearningOfficer.com


Soni Basi Creating Leaders for Tomorrow - Expand Your Leadership Candidate Pool Effective Unconscious Bias Training - A+ for Apprenticeships - MBX Systems’ Book Club

Get Real.

The Future


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Disconnected Development


o as I say, not as I do. If you’re a parent, teacher or pretty much anyone in a position with a little bit of authority, it’s quite possible you’ve fallen back on that old chestnut when called to explain your actions. It’s far from ideal but I’m sympathetic to those who use it. It’s simply not possible to quickly and easily communicate the finer points of a situation. Sometimes words fail. It’s exhausting to have to minutely explain your reasons. And when you’re dealing with someone, let’s say for example your 8-year old son, who treats seeking out inconsistencies in your behavior like a full-time, salaried position with sweet benefits, it’s even more so. Sometimes the fuse gets a little short. While it may be understandable to use that argument, it doesn’t make it good. It looks like you’re taking short cuts. It risks painting you as a hypocrite. Which is why there’s a really big problem lying beneath the surface of a CLO’s work.

Failure to invest in your own development is a short-term gain with long-term pain.

of the most important things you can do. Taking time to learn restocks your intellectual store, bringing in fresh ideas and tossing out expired ones. It clears away the dust and ensures you’re staying on top of your game. Failure to invest in your own learning is a short-term gain with long-term pain. I’m reminded of that as our 2020 Chief Learning Officer events season kicks off. The Spring CLO Symposium, taking place April 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Florida, is a great opportunity to recharge the CLO batteries. You’ll hear ideas and insights from more than three dozen learning executives in keynotes, workshops, panel discussions and conversations. The event is a chance to reconnect with your purpose, restock the cabinet and learn from like-minded leaders in an intimate setting. Getting out of the office for three days isn’t always an option. For that, we have the CLO Breakfast Club, kicking off in April with stops in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and the Bay Area. The Breakfast Club is a morning­long event that puts you directly in the conversation about the future of talent development alongside like-minded peers from your local community. Both are great opportunities to develop your own skills and competencies. But any true leader knows the hallmark of successful work is having a successor in place to carry it forward. For CLOs, having a development plan also means developing a plan to grow the next generation of learning leaders. For that, we have an exciting new program launching this spring. The CLO Accelerator is a next-​ generation learning experience designed specifically with the needs of learning leaders in mind. Developed by a faculty of award-winning CLOs, this online self-paced development program focuses on some of the most important topics for learning executives including leadership challenges, influencing skills, strategy development, funding and infrastructure, learning technology and, of course, creating your own personalized career development plan. With those kinds of options, doing what you say is that much easier to do. CLO

Less than half of you take your own learning seriously. See the problem? Every day, you identify skill gaps in others, assess their strengths and weaknesses and give clear-eyed assessments of people’s potential to grow. You coach them to develop skills, cajole them to invest in their own learning and call them out when they fail to live up to potential. You strive to have open and honest conversations with others and deliver inconvenient, uncomfortable but necessary information that can set someone off on a new positive trajectory. But to be honest, you’re not being honest with yourself. Far too many CLOs fail to live up to their own standards. According to research we conducted on the future of the role, only 44 percent have implemented their own development plan. Just over a third have a mentor and less than 1 in 5 are using an executive coach. When it comes to their own development, CLOs are too often missing in action. They are like the cobbler’s children, walking around barefoot because all their time and energy was spent making shoes for everyone else. It’s an easy trap to fall into. Investing in your own de- Mike Prokopeak velopment is easy to ignore. It takes time and concerted Editor in Chief effort. It’s inconvenient and often expensive. It’s also one mikep@ChiefLearningOfficer.com 4 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

MARCH 2020 | VOLUME 19, ISSUE 2 PRESIDENT Kevin A. Simpson





Ashley Flora




Kevin Fields


Malaz Elsheikh

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Andie Burjek Elizabeth Loutfi

Alec O’Dell







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CHIEF LEARNING OFFICER EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Lisa Doyle, Vice President, Global Learning, Booz Allen Hamilton David DeFilippo, Principal, DeFilippo Leadership Inc. Tamar Elkeles, Chief Talent Executive, Atlantic Bridge Capital Gerry Hudson-Martin, Director, Corporate Learning Strategies, Business Architects Kimo Kippen, President, Aloha Learning Advisors Rob Lauber, Vice President, Chief Learning Officer, McDonald’s Corp. Maj. Gen. Erwin F. Lessel, (Ret.) U.S. Air Force, Director, Deloitte Consulting Justin Lombardo, (Ret.) Chief Learning Officer, Baptist Health Adri Maisonet-Morales, Vice President, Enterprise Learning and Development, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Alan Malinchak, CEO, Éclat Transitions LLC Lee Maxey, CEO, MindMax Bob Mosher, Senior Partner and Chief Learning Evangelist, APPLY Synergies Rebecca Ray, Executive Vice President, The Conference Board Allison Rossett, (Ret.) Professor of Educational Technology, San Diego State University Brenda Sugrue, Global Chief Learning Officer, EY Diana Thomas, CEO and Founder, Winning Results David Vance, Executive Director, Center for Talent Reporting Judy Whitcomb, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Learning and Organizational Development, Vi Kevin D. Wilde, Executive Leadership Fellow, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota James P. Woolsey, President, Defense Aquisition University

Chief Learning Officer (ISSN 1935-8148) is published monthly, except bi-monthly in January/February and July/August by Human Capital Media, 150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 550, Chicago IL 60601. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Chief Learning Officer, P.O. Box 8712 Lowell, MA 01853. Subscriptions are free to qualified professionals within the US and Canada. Digital free subscriptions are available worldwide. Nonqualified paid subscriptions are available at the subscription price of $199 for 10 issues. All countries outside the US and Canada must be prepaid in US funds with an additional $33 postage surcharge. Single price copy is $29.99. Chief Learning Officer, ChiefLearningOfficer.com, and CLOmedia.com are the trademarks of Human Capital Media. Copyright © 2020, Human Capital Media. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of material published in Chief Learning Officer is forbidden without permission.


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Addressing the Skills Gap by Identifying, Developing, and Rewarding Lifelong Learners

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2020 10 Your Career Dave Rude of the National Nuclear Security Administration shares his career journey; Greenberg Traurig’s Betsey Frank talks about creating a successful global learning strategy; and people share what they’re reading.

30 Profile Chief Chaos Officer

Sarah Fister Gale Soni Basi of Allergan helps employees chart their future in a company that is in a constant state of change.

48 Case Study Building Leaders Through Book Club

Sarah Fister Gale Niche technology company MBX Systems uses its book club to engage new employees and build leadership skills.

50 Business Intelligence Buzzwords and Competencies

Ashley St. John Data and analytics and lack of data integration are two critical technology gaps CLOs are looking to tackle.


8 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

M arch 2020







20 36

Creating Leaders for Tomorrow Scott Blanchard Organizations rely on strong leadership, but they must invest the time, staff and money to give leaders the tools for success.

Digging for Buried Treasure

40 44

40 Experts 14 IMPERATIVES

Elliott Masie Learn to Stop


Bob Mosher Enlightment Versus Enablement

Joseph Santana To expand your leadership candidate pool, leverage employee networks to dig deeper into your workforce.


Getting Real About Unconscious Bias


Neal Goodman Certain critical factors will determine the success — or failure — of your unconscious bias training.

A+ for Apprenticeships Jesse Jackson A modern apprenticeship model can help us meet the skill needs of our dynamic and expanding digital economy.

Connect with us.

Ken Blanchard Mastering the Art of Change Management Lee Maxey Don’t Close the Door on Disabled Workers


Jen Grace Baron, Allison Holzer and Sandy Spataro Beyond Engagement: Sustainable Inspiration

Resources 4 Editor’s Letter

Disconnected Development

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 9


Career Advice From


Dave Rude, chief learning officer of the National Nuclear Security Administration, a division of the United States Department of Energy, shares his career journey. How did you start your career in learning? I’m glad you asked that question because it’s a testament to the power of mentoring and taking a chance on a new career. The catalyst for my transition to the learning profession was a single conversation in the 1990s with the agency director [of the U.S. Department of Defense], who asked if I had any interest in a rotation to revitalize the agency’s dormant workforce development program and, more broadly, talent management. At the time, I was directing a $48 billion financial management portfolio — and loving it — yet, I trusted this person who I considered to be a mentor. He saw talents in me that I had not yet discovered for myself — so I took that leap of faith. Glad I did because I never left!

U.S. Department of Defense 2004-2008: Chief human capital officer

U.S. DoD 2009-2015: Chief learning officer

2008 2004

10 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com


What attracted you to L&D? What delights me about our profession is seeing how you can make a difference. I am passionate about developing people to their fullest potential and helping them reach their professional and personal aspirations. I have seen profound impacts on those colleagues and clients who have a sustained focus on learning. Those observations fuel me. Although learning is an inherent component of talent management, it is also a profession unto itself. There is no employee not impacted by the organization that runs learning and development — which brings a sense of accountability, caring and motivation. You’ve handled different talent development programs throughout your career and done extensive research on developing emotional intelligence in leaders — what is one EQ characteristic every leader should possess? There are many touchpoints between EQ and leadership, as extensive research concludes. If I had to pick one EQ-related characteristic for leaders, it would be self-awareness. Emotional self-awareness should be a bedrock of all leaders’ DNA. Everything else related to EQ and leadership cascades from being acutely aware

Organizational SciU.S. DoD ences and Culture Inc. 2014-2015: 2013-present: Learning Acting executive director director



U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration 2015-present: Chief learning officer

2015 2020



ions. e quest r fi id p rs our ra e answe d u R e Dav

The most important part of learning is:

of yourself — what emotions are at play, what is happening in the here and now, how are you showing up? The consulting firm that a colleague and I co-founded focuses on helping organizations thrive through collective EQ — and to do that, we have to start with each leader tapping into their own EQ and honing their reflective skills. Reflection is an imperative for EQ, especially for self-awareness.

Having the opportunity to apply what you have learned and showcasing the value of those learning experiences.

The most overrated trend in L&D is: Being too dismissive of level 1 (learner reaction) evaluations — getting to ROI is great, but if the learners don’t have a positive experience, the other evaluation levels are moot.

What lessons helped you get to where you are?

Learning is essential to an organization because:

In thinking about this question, the first words that came to mind were tenacity and resilience. My first job was working the McDonald’s drive-thru and I started at the lowest possible level within public service. To get to the C-suite meant I had to learn and apply the same characteristics as a dog with a chew bone: laser-focused, unrelenting, motivated, and a recognition that mentors and coaches were invaluable. I was also open to many diverse experiences, which meant getting out of my comfort zone (which was not always easy). I also had to learn how to navigate the difficult and unexpected.

It is a central driver of performance, healthy workplace cultures, financial health and enduring relevance.

What’s your favorite piece of career advice? There is a temporal aspect to any career: Careers are a multiyear journey. Our instantaneous culture can mislead one into thinking that finding the ultimate career landing spot should be at the same warp speed. Not so. You need to have both a vision of where you want to go, receptiveness to learning and exploring new possibilities along the way, patience and perseverance, and be in the mindset to reframe challenges as opportunities. Be a constant advocate for your own learning. Coach, mentor and be a champion for others. CLO Know someone with an incredible career journey? We want to hear from you. Send your nomination to Elizabeth Loutfi at eloutfi@ChiefLearningOfficer.com.

The biggest L&D industry misconception is: That learning is an HR issue — in fact, learning transcends all organizational boundaries.

Emotional intelligence matters in an organization because: A healthy organization must include the relational aspect: Emotionally intelligent organizations have workforces with vibrant interpersonal relationships, possess the savvy to navigate through conflicts with great efficacy, and are made up of individuals who can leverage their emotions smartly. Results are stronger company performance, role model leaders and an improved financial bottom line.

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 11


What Are You Reading? The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups By Daniel Coyle It’s as good a book about organizational culture as you will ever find. It’s a page turner. It’s just a lovely read and it’s full of practical suggestions as well. — Amy Edmondson, Novartis professor of leadership and management, Harvard Business School

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It By Chris Voss [Voss] teaches techniques on how to negotiate. For instance, in a negotiation, how when five “nos” are actually better than a yes. He was an FBI hostage negotiator, and so he teaches all of these techniques. It’s really, really interesting. — Chicka Elloy, head of employee experience, BCD Travel

Turning Goals Into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms By Jim Collins It’s the expansion of his initial Harvard Business Review article on catalytic mechanism. I’m looking at the approach as a way to help larger organizations expand their ability to be more internally connected and collaborative. Become a more social organization through system vs. direct behavior change. — Mark Britz, chief strategist, ThruWork

Chief Learning Officer wants to hear from you: What’s at the top of your reading list? Send submissions to Elizabeth Loutfi at eloutfi@ChiefLearningOfficer.com.

12 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

Limitless Mind: Learn, Lead, and Live Without Barriers By Jo Boaler [Boaler] talks about the need to make mistakes over and over, the idea that the pathways in the brain that cause us to learn effectively develop a coding when you make a mistake and go back to it. But it’s not just like, “Go make a bunch of mistakes.” It’s also in a supportive environment with people who can help you get to the right answer. — Kelly Leonard, executive director of insights and applied improvisation, Second City

The War at Work: A Tale of Navigating the Unwritten Rules of the Hierarchy in a Half-Changed World By Seth Mattison and Joshua Medcalf Digital business transformation is driving huge changes in work, working and worker: As hierarchical structures come under pressure from the networked organizations as a part of this disruption, the change in the organization’s operating system and the transition are not easy. Fascinating book. — A.N. Rao, founder, learningsherpa.net

Top of Mind Is Your Global Learning Strategy Truly Global? By Betsey Frank Betsey Frank, chief learning and development officer for Greenberg Traurig LLP, shares insights on creating a successful global learning strategy.


y first experience leading a global learning program was in Paris for a high-tech firm. The U.S.-based parent company merged with a company that had European offices. My part involved discussing the importance of culture and values in the newly acquired company. Within five minutes, I was challenged by a European colleague — who was I to lecture this group from Spain, Netherlands, France, the U.K. and Germany about culture? I realized that a global learning strategy is highly complicated. At present, my team and I are creating a global learning strategy. The purpose is to align business goals and communicate how the professional development team assists in achieving those goals. The strategy’s key components are business goals; learning team mission, goals and tasks; and metrics. First, consider the business goals. What is the organization trying to achieve? Is it focused on operating on a global level — expanding its reach by opening offices in other countries or selling its products internationally? The learning strategy must align with the organization’s business strategy. Next is the learning team’s mission statement: This is the cornerstone of your learning strategy. It communicates the team’s purpose and value. Explicitly including words such as global, multinational or international guides the intention of geographic inclusivity. Next up: goals and tasks. Learning leaders in organizations incorporated in the U.S. may unknowingly and primarily consider the perspective of “headquarters.” This tends to narrow a viewpoint if the company has locations globally. Being deliberate about gathering internal and external data from global colleagues supports a holistic perspective. This process gathers not only the information needed to develop global learning goals, but it allows for relationship building and an understanding of cultural nuances. Specific projects may be implemented firmwide or locally because they are critical to the culture or competencies of a business. Consider According to


What L&D trend are you looking forward to most in 2020?

the following when developing or implementing global programs. Operate globally, act locally. When implementing a local program or a large-scale talent initiative that includes all offices, being aware of cultural nuances is an asset. Meet with local HR, business managers and other leaders. Take small steps and build quick wins to earn credibility and trust by showing an interest in the overall culture. Piloting the program to ensure cultural acceptance allows for cultural adjustments. If the budget allows, travel to meet employees, understand the learning facilities and, yes, even the food — any detail that impacts your program. Arrange for participants to attend programs in their home office. Travel and time zone changes impact the learner’s ability to absorb content. Develop cultural intellect. Working in sync with underlying cultural norms and the history of the country puts the leader in good stead. Asking questions and observing can bridge that gap. Be curious and interested in their culture. Being aware of societal needs or political climate is necessary. It may be helpful to have a local leader co-teach the program to add cultural context or to translate terms. This symbolizes leadership’s alignment to its learners. Give local leaders a voice as to who is the best fit to teach the program. Finally, words matter. Inattention to the spelling of words (organization versus organisation, or program versus programme) can be a distraction during the learning process. Also, the meaning of words, such as calendar versus diary, or the interpretation of words, such as “tips and tools,” may be perceived as negative depending on the country. Remember, a truly global learning strategy is fluid and reflects that the leader is perceptive and learning themselves. CLO

Betsey Frank Greenberg Traurig LLP

Chief Learning Officer wants to hear from you: What are you thinking about? Send your thoughts to Elizabeth Loutfi at eloutfi@ChiefLearningOfficer.com.

The mobile learner — learning anywhere at any time, whether it is listening to a leadership podcast on my walk to the office, accessing a TED Talk on the train home or reading an article on LinkedIn while waiting to pick my son up from football practice.

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 13


Learn to Stop Let’s change our focus on always adding more • BY ELLIOTT MASIE


Elliott Masie is CEO of The Masie Center, an international think tank focused on learning and workplace productivity, and chairman and CLO of The Masie Center’s Learning Consortium.

t takes courage to be a leader willing to say “stop” or “end” in the learning field. Our field is always excited about the new or shiny object, emerging technology or hot leadership theory book. I’m personally exhausted by the endless chant of “start, add, extend, supplement” to make learning strategies more effective, and I know I’m not alone. Learners and learning professionals are often overwhelmed by the continual addition of new programs, technologies and resources. While we may think learners will be excited about the 30 new modules or videos that have been added to the leadership program, look at your data and you might be surprised. The learning ecosystem cannot be focused on adding. Our employees already live in a world of increased change and shifting roles and business models. Their mental buffers for handling more are close to full. But what if we started the learning innovation conversation with a focus on stopping or ending elements of our approaches? What if, for example, you focused on stopping or ending a learning element each quarter? For instance, take a look at your onboarding or orientation meetings and pick one or two elements that you could just drop. What if you stopped doing the talk about “Topic X”? Would the compliance people go berserk? Would the employees not adapt to the culture without it? Try it and find out. The jungle beat of the learning marketplace is almost always about adding more. Yet, the most powerful innovations I have seen in the world of learning have often come from stopping something. For instance, one large consumer-facing organization decided to phase out its e-learning efforts in its stores after 12 years. The organization decided to end e-learning because it was not really impacting employee behavior or readiness. The learning leader had the courage to hit the “end” button. Dissect the history and growth of your leadership programs. Many of them have likely added elements every two years, stretched in length, and put more and more on the learning plate of your rising leaders. So, why the focus on stopping versus adding? Every time we add an element, an organizational change moment is triggered in our learning ecosystems. The learner needs to build trust in the new approach. Systems need to track the new element. Peers of learners, who supply context and recommendations, need to

14 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

adjust their view and conversation. Yet, we often look at the addition of a new approach as a “gift” to the learning community. The researcher in me loves the idea of doing an A/B test around the choice to delete. Remove an element of the learning design for 10 percent of new learners while continuing the current approach with the other 90 percent. Look at how all of those learners behave during and after the learning process and compare the differences between the A and B groups. Learning data analytics could radically enhance our willingness to test the delete function in our strategies.

One of the most powerful things a CLO can do is to bravely and authentically say, “stop.” Deleting will often be difficult due to both tradition and budgeting. If you suggest deleting a leadership program, you will probably hear from alumni who feel that the program, while flawed, was something they “survived” — and so should the new candidates. Budgeting is often wrapped around the instinct to add, as well: It is easier to get more resources when adding an attractive element or system. The agile learning organization should approach innovation as a continual process of adjusting learning resources to optimize outcomes for learners and the business. Have the courage to recognize the power of stopping. Our learners will get there before us. They will curate and assess those resources that are no longer impactful. As designers, facilitators and performance support leaders, let’s consider the delete, end or stop functions as powerful friends! Ironically, one of the most powerful things a CLO can do is to bravely and authentically say, “stop.” Amazing outcomes happen when we use the learning strategy brake pedal. CLO


Enlightenment Versus Enablement Dangers of the enlightenment first, enablement second model • BY BOB MOSHER

I Bob Mosher is a senior partner and chief learning evangelist for APPLY Synergies, a strategic consulting firm.

have the highest appreciation for what subject matter experts bring to our industry. They are the performers all of our learners aspire to be and the individuals we hope we can empower our learners to become. They have “arrived” and have a unique perspective. That’s why we count on them so heavily when doing our work. With that said, there’s a dark side to having achieved that level of mastery, one that can have such a devastating effect on what we build that I made the mistake at a recent conference of literally saying, “Stop using SMEs!” Wow, did that backfire. Here’s the reality: We will and should never stop using SMEs in our work, but there’s a word they use to dictate every piece of learning and support content we create that distorts their view, and that word is “important.” To an SME every piece of information is important. They use phrases like, “It’s very important that they understand this before they begin to do anything.” In these types of statements lies a fundamental reason that our learning solutions don’t drive the performance impact the business expects. It’s an enlightenment first, enablement second model. And there are three things we need to guard against with this approach. The first is that “knowing” and “understanding” don’t always lead to the ability to perform. I’m sure we’ve all known people we’d call book smart but not street smart. They’ve mastered the ability to understand something, but their ability to apply that knowledge in the real world just isn’t there. This jump between mastery and application is the greatest challenge our learners face. Knowledge is only applicable when it has context. We do our best to add context through examples, metaphors and practice with case studies, but true context is only realized in the flow of work. Unless we enable that transfer to happen, knowing and understanding lose their grip and are lost in the volume of information SMEs hope we’ll cover in the short time we have with our learners. The second thing we must acknowledge is that because we start with enlightenment, we overly focus on enlightenment tools and approaches and don’t give ample time to creating and teaching enablement tools. For example, let’s look at the infamous binder. I’ve yet to walk into an organization across the world that hasn’t created more binders than any other instructional tool. You’ll find binders everywhere, typically on a bookshelf above or behind each employee. But

you rarely see them open on desks being routinely referenced in the workflow. That’s because a binder is one of the least effective reference and enablement tools there is. It’s almost impossible to find answers quickly, and it’s even harder to keep them current. It’s written in a format and flow that instructs, not supports. It breaks all the rules of an effective embedded resource that can directly support someone in the context of doing their job. Finally, the flow of instruction has to shift from one of understanding first to doing and performing first. I recently sat through a leadership class where the entire first day was lectures around the seven competencies that the organization felt were essential to leadership. In fact, that was the name of the course — The Seven Essential Competencies of Leadership. Competency after competency was introduced, each in isolation of the true context of leadership. Instead of enabling those competencies, learners were enlightened on each first.

Knowledge is only applicable when it has context. The problem with this approach was that every student in the class had to have been with the company for at least two years to qualify to be a leader. Each had years of experience witnessing first-hand both effective and ineffective leadership in the context of doing their job. No effort was made to bring that wealth of experience into the discussion. The first day should have been stories told by the students of where leaders excelled, where they failed, and the tools and techniques used when leading. In other words, what had enabled the effective performance they’d all witnessed? What was the context of that performance? That approach would have naturally led to the seven competencies needed to lead. We have to move beyond a place where enlightenment assumes doing and arrive at a place where enablement is initiated and empowered. It’s cliche, but if you feed a person a fish, they’re starving in the morning. If you teach them to fish, they feed themselves for a lifetime. But we’ve been conditioned to think there’s just so much about fishing they need to know before they even bate a hook. CLO Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 15


Mastering the Art of Change Management 4 strategies to implement change successfully • BY KEN BLANCHARD

T Ken Blanchard is chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Cos. and co-author of “Servant Leadership in Action.”

he world moves fast today. Demographics are rapidly changing, and customer demands are changing along with them. Technology leapfrogs further every year — and woe to those who don’t keep up. In this environment, organizations have no choice but to master the art of change management. My friend Tony Robbins often says that “doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always gotten.” But in business today that’s just not true, because the goalposts keep moving. For organizations, doing what you’ve always done will only put you further behind. Smart organizations know to invest in change management initiatives. But studies show that as many as 70 percent of all change initiatives fail. That’s unfortunate, because the fallout can set an organization back through lost productivity, lower morale, and wasted time and money. A big reason these initiatives fail is because — let’s face it — change is hard and people resist it. I like to say that the only person who likes change is a baby with a dirty diaper. Announcing the change isn’t the same as implementing it. To engage people with the change and energize them throughout the process, leaders need to employ four strategies: Frame the change; build the change plan and infrastructure; strengthen the change; and entrust change leadership to others.

vision helps people see where their role fits once the change has been initiated and implemented. Faced with change, people focus on what they are going to lose, not gain. An inspiring vision allows them to lower their personal concerns because they see themselves in the picture of the future and are excited about what’s ahead. Now, strategy No. 2: Build the change plan and infrastructure. Research shows that people have predictable and sequential concerns with change. For a change initiative to succeed, leaders must include people in the planning process and spend time surfacing and addressing their concerns. It’s a good idea for leaders to help break down the walls between teams and personalities. They should keep an eye out for early adopters and advocates for the change and give them lots of support. They should also identify the resisters and court those who are undecided. By involving others in the change planning process, leaders can tackle the barriers to successful implementation and use people’s input to overcome obstacles to change. Up next: Strengthen the change. The key to success at this stage is the quick resolution of implementation problems. Leaders need to share data that show progress or prove that the change is working. They should collect success stories and share information about early wins. It’s very important that leaders walk the talk, modeling the mindset and behaviors expected of others. If someone is resisting the change, leaders must learn and resolve the reasons for their resistance. Everyone must be on board and held accountable for implementing the change. Finally, entrust change leadership to others. Once the change has been successful, leaders should find Let’s start with the first strategy: Frame the ways to anchor the lessons learned into the organichange. At the early stages in the change process, zation. Change champions can promote the new leaders must build the rationale for the change and status quo, assuring that the improvements continue create a picture of what the future holds. to be adopted and sustained. The case for change describes what the change is, Change is inevitable — but failed change initiawhat’s wrong with the way things are now and what tives are not. By addressing people’s concerns and the organization hopes to accomplish. It is essentially responding with strategies to increase their involvea description of the gap between what is and what ment and influence, organizations can succeed in could be, which persuades people that the change is their change initiatives. Using these four strategies, important and worthy of their commitment. change leaders can spur their organizations into Creating a clear vision is essential for getting doing what they’ve never done before — and getpeople on board with the change. A compelling ting what they’ve always wanted. CLO

Change is inevitable — but failed change initiatives are not.

16 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

“The book that everyone is talking about”

Transform your training into a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE www.JimGuilkey.com


Don’t Close the Door on Disabled Workers Going beyond résumés and appearances • BY LEE MAXEY

L Lee Maxey is CEO of MindMax, a marketing and enrollment management services company.

ike the opening to Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” current U.S. unemployment data is the best of times and the worst of times. If you’re an able-bodied worker, unemployment has hovered near 3.5 percent during the past year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If, however, you’re a disabled person in America, the unemployment rate is approximately 70 percent according to Our Ability Inc., an Albany, New York-based provider of workforce consulting and mentoring for employers and disabled people. “The Department of Labor only counts people looking for a job within the last 11 months,” said John Robinson, Our Ability’s CEO. “Four out of five people with disabilities are still looking for a job after 11 months. One of the most important things we need is awareness that people with disabilities have the ability to do a job.” At a time when our country is struggling to find workers across many sectors, Robinson said looking past a disabled American’s perceived shortcomings would not only be the right thing to do but also profitable. According to Robinson, employers need hiring managers and senior leaders who are willing to ask questions of and open their mind to people with disabilities. The type of disability someone has isn’t always a visible one, either. Seventy percent of disabilities, notes Our Ability, are invisible: Asperger’s (a form of autism), epilepsy and attention deficit disorder to name a few. When senior leaders are afraid to engage in a discussion with a disabled person, we fall short as employers (and a society). All people are not identical or equally talented. But that doesn’t mean we can’t provide equal rights. All men and women deserve a level playing field so they can focus on and apply their strengths. Instead, our hiring (and even our parenting) does the opposite. When hiring managers communicate with an able-bodied interviewee, the interviewer will ask the applicant about skills and experience. When that same hiring manager sits down with a disabled person, the focus tends to be on the interviewee’s weaknesses and the help they’ll need to perform the job. When a hiring manager gives a disabled person a chance, sometimes the decision rests on the fact that the employer can mitigate the new hire’s weakness rather than take advantage of their strengths. That, in turn, creates a culture of dependence. There’s a corollary with the recent college admissions

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scandal. The parents who attempted to sweep away the obstacles their child faced in competing fairly for college ultimately caused their son or daughter to feel devalued. As employers, college administrators and parents, we all exert influence. We have to remind ourselves that a remarkable résumé is a beginning and, conversely, casting aside an unremarkable CV could cause an otherwise notable candidate to fall through the cracks. If someone submits a résumé, there’s clearly interest in the job. Following up on résumés could uncover more to the applicant’s story. Some hiring managers and admissions officers will balk at the notion that more time should be spent on a selection process that’s already overwhelming. Perhaps the answer is a mix of technology as well as hiring a more diverse group of people to evaluate résumés, job candidates, college applications and prospective students.

It’s not charity; it’s competitive advantage. Through a grant from Microsoft, Our Ability is using artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots to help disabled workers navigate the manual process of filling out résumés; the technology is also playing a role in helping individuals find the skills they need for a job they desire. And according to Robinson, companies can search Our Ability’s website to find workers with the strengths and skills they need to fill open positions. So far, Robinson says the AI technology is proving every bit as good, perhaps even better, than the traditional job coach in helping disabled people advocate for themselves with résumés and applications. With the passage, nearly 30 years ago, of the Americans with Disabilities Act, there’s an entire generation who’s grown up with wheelchair ramps and braille on signage inside buildings. But we have to go further and look beyond signs, résumés and appearances. When it comes to hiring, disabled people aren’t looking for charity any more than some of the children caught up in the college admissions scandal were looking for a free ride. Both groups want what any fair-minded person wants: to be seen for who they really are. CLO

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Creating Leaders for Tomorrow Organizations rely on strong leadership to remain innovative and competitive. But they must commit to investing the time, staff and money to ensure they are giving leaders all the tools they need to be successful. BY SCOT T BL ANCHARD


f you saw the title of this article and thought to yourself, “This is nothing new,” you’re half right. The truth is that the topic might not be new, but investment in leadership development continues to be critically important — and the need to spread the word persists. Organizational success is driven by strong leadership, and companies that invest in leadership training consistently appear on most-admired and best-of lists. These businesses also enjoy higher revenue and profits, higher market share, and increased employee engagement and retention. And yet, some companies still need to be convinced that leadership development relates directly to organizational success. That was the business case we were looking to confirm when researchers from The Ken Blanchard Cos. studied the

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long-term positive impact of better leadership on organizational productivity and profitability. The study looked at four different factors: (1) the role of leadership capacity in driving organizational vitality; (2) what leaders can do to increase organizational performance; (3) the connections between leadership capacity, customer devotion and employee passion; and (4) how customer devotion and employee passion link to organizational vitality. In analyzing the results of the study, five elements consistently rose to the top of the list in our findings. We created terms and definitions for each element, which follow, to incorporate a broader range of information. These five elements together provide a direct link to organizational success.

The Leadership-Profit Chain The first element is strategic leadership. It provides the vision, culture, strategic direction and metrics to measure the achievement of goals. It is essentially the “what” of the organization. The second element is operational leadership. It describes the procedures and policies that guide departments and employees in how to specifically contribute to the organizational goals. It is the “how” of the organization. The third element, employee work passion, results from positive employee experiences and overall satisfaction with the organization’s policies, procedures and management practices. Hard measures of this element include retention, absenteeism, tenure and productivity. Soft measures are defined as employee perceptions of fairness, justice and trust. Customer devotion is the fourth element and represents the positive experiences customers have with a company’s products and services as well as its policies and procedures. Hard measures include customer retention, length of the customer relationship, number and size of transactions, and referrals. The soft measures include survey-based perceptions of quality, value, customer service, product expectations and overall customer satisfaction. The fifth element, organizational vitality, describes the success of the organization. Hard measures can be determined by revenue growth, profits, stock price, venture capital and operating costs. Soft measures include perceptions of public trust, employee commitment and the intent for employees to stay with the organization. We call the results of this research the Leadership-​ Profit Chain because we found a direct link between these five elements and organizational success. Strategic and operational leadership directly influence employee work passion and customer devotion, which drive long-term success for the organization. Strategic 22 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

leadership is the critical building block for setting the direction of the company. Operational leadership owns the role of making the vision and direction come alive. The connection between strategic and operational leadership allows for employees to understand where they are going in relation to the vision, to buy into the culture and what the company stands for, and to understand how to connect their work to the strategic initiatives. If a gap occurs in this link, initiatives are either inconsistent or not executed at all. But when the link is strong, operational leadership is able to create practices and processes that build an environment where employees and customers can have positive experiences. Aligned operational leadership practices allow employees to be passionate about their work and create a highly engaged workforce. We also determined a positive correlation between employee work passion and customer devotion. When employees are passionate about what they do, clear about roles and goals, and perceive the organization as fair and just in its treatment of co-workers and customers, their desire to serve the customer increases. This builds customer devotion, which is a key driver of organizational success.

Strategic and operational leadership directly influence employee passion and customer devotion. The Leadership-Profit Chain model serves as a mental blueprint for creating and sustaining success — but leaders must have the skills to build a motivating, trusting work environment. This is where an organization’s investment in leadership development plays a crucial role. But some companies don’t know where to start to create a lasting development plan that sets their leaders up for success.

Building a Leadership Curriculum Ensuring your leaders have the skills they need to maintain organizational strategies to support and develop their direct reports requires that learning and development professionals and training managers create an effective curriculum for developing people into trusted professional managers. Since managers are responsible for what their direct reports do and, to some degree, how they feel — especially the emotional connection they establish with their job — companies

need to make sure their managers and leaders have the right skills to be successful in every phase of the leadership journey. This can seem like a daunting task because leaders need different skills at different stages in their careers. A complete and balanced curriculum will include training not only in managing people, but also in areas such as business and financial acumen, influencing, negotiating, emotional intelligence, technology and industry trends. The purpose of this type of curriculum is to focus on the specific skills leaders at each level need to work directly with their teams to produce results. A curriculum for a leadership journey must include development for new managers, midlevel managers, senior leaders and executives. For example, people who are first-time managers often have had no leadership skills training. Many are promoted into leadership positions because they were high-achieving individual contributors — but the skills that helped them perform at a high level in their previous role don’t always transfer to the new role of manager. Research from Zenger Folkman, “We Wait Too Long to Train Our Leaders,” published by Harvard Business Review, indicates that most managers don’t receive training until they are about 10 years into their managerial career. This is damaging to both the individual and the organization. Further studies by CEB (now Gartner) Learning and Development Roundtable show that 60 percent of new managers underperform and often develop negative habits that are hard to break or hold them back for years. New managers need to have training early in order to set them up for success and to stop the possibility of ingraining bad habits. New managers also need foundational skills in communication to establish positive, productive relationships with their staff. They need to learn how to have conversations to set clear goals, to provide feedback about performance, to praise a job well done and to redirect efforts when necessary. Listening is a critical part of an effective conversation, and managers must learn to set aside distractions and concentrate on each interaction. They must also learn how to ask questions to draw out insights and ideas from the other person, and how to share information that is needed to help move the situation forward and build self-assurance and enthusiasm. Middle managers, on the other hand, need advanced skills to manage their new reality. They are in the unique position of needing to support their own staff and manage the relationship with their senior leaders while still working on their own projects. They are the link between frontline workers and senior leaders, so communication skills continue to be important. Additionally, midlevel leaders typically

manage more people, teams and projects than in their previous position, so time is a valuable commodity. Middle managers are responsible for the operational aspect of leadership. Being able to diagnose the needs of each employee to determine how much support, direction and day-to-day coaching they need enables everyone to work efficiently and productively. Leaders who realize that people need different levels of management depending on the task they are working on will be able to offer the appropriate leadership style for the situation. When people get the level of direction and support they need, they perform better and have improved morale — and their managers are able to create a work environment that is stimulating and productive.

Leaders need different skills at different stages in their careers. Senior leaders are the strategic arm of the organization. They are responsible for setting direction and communicating it in a clear manner so organizational culture is defined and goals can be met. Senior leaders are an essential element to the success of an organization — yet many times they aren’t included in development plans. As a result, they often lack access to objective, ongoing feedback and could have blind spots and unproductive behaviors that might lead to less-than-stellar performance. Executive coaching is an excellent resource that can help senior leaders develop their full potential and ability to positively impact organizational goals, objectives and ultimate success. The one-to-one relationship between a senior leader and a coach provides a confidential and neutral sounding board for discussing challenges and opportunities in a safe environment. Coaches provide senior leaders with the personal support they need to quickly sharpen their leadership capabilities, tackle tough business challenges and seize new opportunities.

Learning Journeys A comprehensive leadership development curriculum includes offerings for all levels of leaders — new, middle and senior. Throughout the curriculum, leaders should use a learning journey approach to learn new content over time. Each step in the learning journey design starts with the actual learning experience. This is followed by an opportunity for the leader to go back to their workplace, apply the new concepts CREATING LEADERS continued on page 52 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 23


Hiring and firing around the world

New webinar explores how to avoid legal entanglement while building a successful global team By Adina Sapp Many companies look outside the U.S. to access a larger and more diverse talent pool than they can otherwise access. However, intricacies of country-specific labor laws present HR challenges and legal snags that are quite different from what we take for granted in the U.S. When working across borders and cultures, it’s essential to learn the requirements before hiring your first international employee or contractor. To bring awareness to surprising facts about international labor markets, Andrea Dumont, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Globalization Partners, presented Hiring & Firing Around the World: Avoid Legal Tripwires in the Top Countries for Global Expansion. Guests Francisco Mendez and Justin Hill, Senior Managers of Global Operations for Latin America and the United Kingdom respectively, shared real-world scenarios and solutions. Packed with information, this quick, helpful webinar provides an overview of legal and cultural considerations along with tips on how to build a successful global team. Reasons to go global

Winning the war for talent is a key motivator for employers looking beyond U.S. borders. There are several operational and financial benefits for doing so: competitive global salaries, access to new markets, and around-the-clock revenue generation. Companies can also take advantage of business-friendly tax policies. Top international markets include Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Mexico, and China. These markets provide a thriving business

ecosystem, a diverse and skilled workforce, and strategic market entry. For example, technology companies look to Latin America due to its highly skilled workforce and cost effectiveness, as compared to the U.S. The problem is, you can’t just hire anyone, anywhere. At-will employment is unique to the U.S. and does not resonate across borders. Common tripwires

Despite the attractiveness of global hiring potential, employers should be aware of legal and customary differences when hiring in other countries. Three common tripwires include: 1. HIRING COMPLIANTLY. (not just contracting)

with an entity that meets the country’s laws.

2. MANAGING EFFECTIVELY. over time zones,

communication styles, and customs.

3. TERMINATING LEGALLY. in accord with the

country’s laws.

Hiring internationally isn’t as simple as selecting employees and getting them set up from an IT perspective; employers must set up a subsidiary to run payroll and taxes. They must also ensure the new hires meet the country’s requirements regarding expertise and maintain compliance over time. Benefits, salary requirements, and severance packages also differ across borders. For example, pre-employment background checks aren’t customary in other countries the way they are in the U.S., as privacy laws are very strict in countries such as Singapore and the United Kingdom. It is very important to know


what you can and can’t ask in different parts of the world to avoid legal entanglement. Onboarding overseas can be challenging, and there are intricacies of country-specific employment law, termination procedures, and communication practices that must be considered to avoid potential legal exposure, litigation, and costly payouts. Some employers seek to bypass these difficulties by hiring contractors rather than full-time employees. However, the risks may outweigh the benefits. Without full knowledge of the country’s requirements for contract work, inadvertent misclassification may lead to hefty fines, back taxes, and potential audits. Additionally, companies are more likely to attract and retain the best talent when going the employment route. Improper termination can be very costly and time-consuming. At-will employment is a U.S. practice not found in other countries. At the same time, layoffs and restructuring aren’t possible in some countries. In Latin America, although prior notice isn’t required, dismissal justification is quite different than in the U.S. and dismissed employees may seek legal advice. In the UK, the length of time an employee has worked for a company dictates the required

notice period, which increases substantially over time for more senior positions. Maternity/ breastfeeding leave is also protected quite strictly in some countries, such as China. Strategies for success

To set your company up for success from the beginning, it’s essential to thoroughly research the requirements prior to making your first international hire. It may also be a good idea to invest in local employment law expertise. Keeping employees engaged across time zones and language differences will require a pre-emptive management and communication strategy, and 68% of employees on global teams say their companies struggle to understand local practices and cultures. Learning customs and adjusting for culturally preferred communication styles such as in-person conversations, video calls, chat, and email will help you build trust and manage more effectively. Above all, don’t forget the human element. Global expansion isn’t just business, it’s personal. To watch the webinar Hiring & Firing Around the World, visit workforce.com.

Globalization Partners makes global expansion simple. They enable you to hire in more than 170 countries without the need to set up costly international subsidiaries. Learn more at globalization-partners.com.


Good Leaders Don’t Always Delegate

How Leaders Can Stimulate Learning and Self-Discovery with After Action Reviews By Adina Sapp “The After Action Review (AAR) is a versatile and powerful process that leaders can use to keep teams at their best,” said Col. (Retired) Robert Hughes, clinical assistant professor and managing director of executive education at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “This process is a best practice of the military that easily transfers to the corporate world but is often underused or not used to the full potential.” Hughes is an expert in leadership, change management, and organizational development. Prior to joining Kellogg in 2015, he served as the chief of force management and integration at the Department of the Army. In that role, Hughes’ team oversaw the Army’s planning process and cross-functional integration of complex organizational change, the scope of which encompassed nearly 6,000 organizations and 1 million personnel. While the AAR shares similarities with the Scrum “retrospective” or the PMI “lessons learned,” there are important differentiators that make it a learning event and not just another meeting or process review. A typical review assesses progress, resource availability, and priorities, whereas an AAR is a powerful learning mindset focused on individual and collective improvement. Leadership

Successful AARs depend on humble leadership and an atmosphere of psychological safety. Behavioral scientist Amy Edmondson of Harvard is credited with the concept of psychological safety, which she defined as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.”1 Leaders have the power to create or destroy psychological safety. To set the right conditions, leaders can use what Hughes calls the 5 P’s: 1 Faculty & Research: Amy C. Edmondson. Harvard Business School. 2 Faculty & Research: Amy C. Edmondson. Harvard Business School.

Open-ended questions set the conditions for intangible magic.” — Col. (Retired) Robert Hughes

• Prioritize. AARs as important learning events. Plan. AARs into the event, project, process, or • client timeline. • .Create an environment of psychological safety . . present to guide the discussion. • Be . everyone to participate; do not dominate. • Enable 2

“This is not a time to delegate to someone else,” Hughes said. “The leader needs be present, set the right tone, and use open-ended questions. AARs are fueled by self-discovery and a growth mindset that enables the team to learn from success, failure, and everything in between.” Growth Mindset

Gordon Sullivan’s book Hope Is Not a Method: What Business Leaders Can Learn from America’s Army describes how the United States Army successfully navigated large scale change and laid the path for transformation in the 1990s. Sullivan points to AARs as the key that enabled the Army to become a learning organization. The Army’s definition of an AAR is “a professional discussion of an event, focused on performance standards, that enables soldiers to discover for themselves what happened, why it happened, and how to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses.”3 Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford noted that “in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”4 “AARs and a growth mindset go hand in hand,’’ Hughes said. “This is about taking time to come


together as a team and learn from what we’ve done.” Organizational Effectiveness

Much research has been done on what organizations can learn from the Army’s experience with AARs. As one writer put it, “Every day, soldiers gain experience in the performance of their duties and responsibilities. That experience, if processed well, can be an abundant and continuous source of learning. The Army’s After Action Review process is representative of this form of learning.”5 A study done on the use of AARs to promote organizational and systems learning in emergency preparedness found that when “insights and experiences are gathered together in documents such as AARs and critically analyzed, they comprise an opportunity to identify common and/or recurring systems-level challenges.”6 That benefits both the individual and the team. “By analyzing its experience, a team or service branch

can correct mistakes and errors and thereby make incremental improvements to actions already designed and implemented.”7 Some leaders find it challenging to implement AARs when it is not an organizational practice. “But the answer is, your team can use them even if your whole organization isn’t,” Hughes said. Individual leaders can build momentum by setting the tone and talking to the team about what the AAR truly is: a learning event that is focused on getting better. “The open-ended questions set the tone for teams to identify tangible things they can do to improve their performance in the future. And that’s the intangible magic,” Hughes said. The benefits may be immeasurable, but they are very powerful: communication, motivation, cohesiveness, trust, and continual improvement. Learn more about AARs from Col. (Ret) Hughes at these Kellogg programs: Enterprise Leadership Program — http://kell.gg/kxelp The Leader Within — http://kell.gg.kxlsphere

Whether the goal is to create a standalone solution or fashion part of a complex talent development initiative, Kellogg Executive Education focuses on how individuals and organizations can transform themselves. We offer specific plans and pathways for professional growth and functional development for individuals and teams as well as broader strategies for enterprise-wide executive development efforts. 3 US Army Training Circular 25-20 4 Dweck, C. (2014) Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve. 5 DiBella, A. (2010). Can the Army Become a Learning Organization’ A question reexamined. U.S. Army. 6 Savoia, E., et al. (2016). Use of After Action Reports (AARs) to Promote Organizational and Systems Learning in Emergency Preparedness. PMC. 7 DiBella, A. (2010). Can the Army Become a Learning Organization’ A question reexamined. U.S. Army.


Sometimes You Should Get in the Weeds Taking a granular look at learning content to engage all learners. By Adina Sapp L&D leaders need to deliver meaningful content to learners and ensure that learning programs align with business goals. To do so, they must understand all four dimensions of content curation within the context of their organization: people, processes, technology, and the content itself. “You can’t limit yourself to high-level information,” said Stephen Casbeer, principal consultant at Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). “This is a time to get into the weeds.” Implementing a learning content management system (LCMS) enables L&D leaders and their teams to manage learning content at the granular level. Whether a company internally develops, sources on the web, subscribes to, or purchases content, the LCMS should enable it to be connected, linked, and packaged in a way that can be distributed meaningfully, without duplication, and in a rights- and mission-compliant manner. An LCMS enables content authors to collaborate, create, and assemble learning content for distribution across a variety of channels and formats, including an LMS, PDF, print course, mobile app, or website for consumption by learners. The LCMS should also be able to add metadata, provide semantic analysis, manage relationships among the content, and organize it for delivering into the learning environment. “Ultimately, you must have a good grasp on how content is organized at your organization, understand the learners and their roles, and be very familiar with the work processes and formatting,” Casbeer said. Selecting an LCMS and Partner That Will Enable Business Goals

“One of the things that’s key for L&D leaders is to be able to adopt methodologies that ensure actions are aligning with the goal of the

business, and to understand that technology is the enabler — not the center — of those things,” Casbeer continued. “There have been a number of failed attempts at implementing LCMS, and often the reason was that the technology couldn’t do what the organizations wanted it to do or the organizations didn’t fully consider a content strategy and how content structure can lead to efficiencies, agility, and future freedom of action.” A good LCMS partner will help L&D leaders look at the ecosystem of their environment and recommend paths that will help them achieve business goals. “Many organizations need to have a clearer understanding of their content curation methodologies and find opportunities for improving the skills, processes, or technologies that will help the team become more productive,” Casbeer said. Doing the Groundwork to Understand the Current Situation and Move Toward Content Agility

When researching LCMS platforms and partners, L&D leaders need to ensure they’re fully familiar with the tools and processes already in place, as well as the people who manage and use them. “The people on the ground live with the pain of developing and curating content with their current tools and processes. So, digging into what they have today may help L&D leaders find they’re doing things that are really hard with the tools they have in place,” Casbeer said. “Once you have a clear picture of the current state, you can then identify areas that need attention.” The learning world changes fast and L&D must be able to respond quickly to changes in the organizational strategy, employee behavior, and the marketplace. “If the content curators are hampered by the organization’s technology


Putting together a content and process strategy that allows future freedom of action is a mantra that L&D leaders should have.”

and processes, it hampers the learning leader in responding effectively to the business, which in turn hampers the learners,” Casbeer said. “When a leader starts asking how to engage learners, how to fit into the workflow, and how to address these needs, they need to address what is going on in the organization’s technology and processes.” New technology won’t fix things all by itself. “The real message is to understand the impact that your people’s productivity has on your ability as a leader to achieve the goals of the business. We don’t want to limit or restrict future action. Putting together a content and process strategy

that allows future freedom of action is a mantra that L&D leaders should have,” Casbeer said. A good LCMS partner can help facilitate a discussion with you and your team around what’s working and what could be improved in your current content development and management workflows, processes for tagging and organizing content, and your existing technology stack. Copyright Clearance Center’s (CCC) background in publishing provides a good perspective to driving forward the content in organizations. “We understand the power that can be unleashed with content in order to enable future freedom of action and content agility in the organization, but we know we can’t deliver content management services and professional services in a vacuum. We start by listening to the customer,” Casbeer said. Learn more about content and knowledge management solutions from CCC at: www.copyright.com/ckms

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) builds unique solutions that connect content and rights in contextually relevant ways through software and professional services. CCC helps people navigate vast amounts of data to discover actionable insights, enabling them to innovate and make informed decisions. CCC, with its subsidiary RightsDirect, collaborates with customers to advance how data and information is integrated, accessed, and shared while setting the standard for effective copyright solutions that accelerate knowledge and power innovation. CCC is headquartered in Danvers, Mass., with offices across North America, Europe and Asia. To learn more about CCC, visit www.copyright.com.


Chief Chaos Officer Allergan’s head of talent, Soni Basi, helps employees chart their future in a company that is in a constant state of change. BY SARAH FISTER GALE


oni Basi is no stranger to disruption. Throughout her career, the current executive director of global talent for Allergan has worked through multiple mergers and acquisitions, shepherding thousands of employees through massive cultural and structural change as their companies and teams were merged or dissolved. After holding a talent leadership role at the global pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough (now part of Merck), which went through two major acquisitions in three years, she spent six years at the Estee Lauder Cos. “I liked that their brand focus was on creating confidence,” said Basi, who has a doctorate in social psychology from Bowling Green State University. She also loved that at the time Estee Lauder was a greenfield environment for talent development. When she joined the company in 2011, there was little formal structure around talent development and performance management. “It was ripe for innovation,” she said. In her time there she built multiple global talent programs to support the company’s 40,000 employees and took charge of global onboarding, career development, learning and development, and other talent management programs. “My team made a significant impact and met many of the objectives of the CEO,” she said. She was happy at Estee Lauder, but in 2016, she heard that Allergan, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Ireland, had gone through a failed $160 billion merger with Pfizer. A former colleague from Schering-Plough, Karen Ling, was the chief human resources officer of Allergan at the time, and Basi reached out to ask if she could do anything to help them cope. Ling’s response: Come work for us. “We had been looking for a head of talent for a while, and Soni had a great reputation,” said Ling, who is now CHRO for

30 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

American International Group. “I wanted someone like her on my team.” Ling especially liked Basi’s analytical approach to HR. “She understands the science of HR, and she’s great with numbers,” Ling said. “She is also practical in her approach.”

“People build careers by making courageous moves. Nothing is reliant on holding one specific role anymore.” — Soni Basi, global talent leader, Allergan Basi in turn appreciated Allergan’s combined focus on pharma and beauty products, which felt like a natural fit given her past jobs. She also liked that because the Pfizer deal fell through, Allergan was in a position to build its own talent processes from scratch. “It was a blank slate, which is a great way to enter an organization,” Basi said. So, she took the job.

Change Is the Only Constant Basi’s experience managing employees in the aftermath of mergers and acquisitions was perfectly suited to Allergan’s needs. The $15.79 billion company was built as the result of many rapid product and business acquisitions made over the course of just a few years. These included five company acquisitions in 2015 and another eight in 2016. The rapid rate of growth through acquisition meant projects and teams were changing constantly, with roles coming and going as needs arose and positions evolving to accommodate new products, skills and market changes. “It was all very good for the stock price and bottom-line, but the question was how to bring together all of those different cultural perspectives,


Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 31


processes and procedures,” said Jon Green, a partner with Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital Practices, who worked with Basi on Allergan’s talent transformation. “Allergan had to decide who it was going to be,” he said. That’s where Basi came in. Early employee surveys showed Allergan employees didn’t understand the career paths in the company and wanted a tool to help them chart their future in the new environment. However, Basi recognized that because the company culture was built around a constant pace of change, she couldn’t follow a traditional approach of mapping careers based on structured moves from one role to the next. So, she and her team came up with a more flexible solution and called it My Allergan Career. My Allergan Career is an adaptable career path planning tool for all of Allergan’s roughly 17,000 employees based on the skills that employees need to move up in the organization rather than defining precise career paths for every position. “There is no one pathway to success at Allergan,” explained Mitra Agcaoili, executive director of talent management and acquisition at Allergan. “So instead of defining specific roles, we looked at the skills people needed to do well in those roles.” By defining ideal combinations of skills and linking them to various roles, employees can figure out which skills they already have, what skills they still need, and what roles, learning programs and stretch assignments they should pursue to close the gaps. They also decided to align compensation with skill development rather

than positions. This ensures employees can pursue lateral or even lower-level roles that will help them develop desirable skills without sacrificing pay. “It shows that we back our careers philosophy with our compensation philosophy,” Basi said.

Career Mapping Through Storytelling To create the tool, Basi and her team interviewed hundreds of leaders in “representative roles” from across the company. In these interviews, which they captured on video, the leaders talked about their career stories, the opportunities they had that helped them climb the corporate ladder and the skills that have helped them to be successful in these roles. Using these stories, Basi’s team mapped the skills needed for hundreds of different careers throughout the organization.

“Instead of defining specific roles, we looked at the skills people needed to do well in those roles.” — Mitra Agcaoili, executive director, talent management and acquisition, Allergan

The tool lets employees see what skills they need to land different roles and to create their own career paths to get to where they want to go. “We showed people what they needed to do to succeed but said, ‘the path you choose is your own,’” Agcaoili said. By providing employees with this flexible career development option, Basi’s team hopes to improve their employee experience while fostering more career mobility within the organization. Basi noted that many of the most impactful moments from the interviews were not the lists of experiences and job titles, but the interactions these leaders had with peers and mentors. “They told stories about when they felt uncertain about themselves until someone believed in them,” she said. “The storytelling was the biggest component of the project.” These moments demonstrate the importance of networking and helped her communicate the value of taking lateral positions to Soni Basi, global talent leader at Allergan, worked with her team to implement a career path planning tool for the company’s 17,000 employees, helping them realize which skills they had and which skills they would need for desired roles. learn new skills. “People 32 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

build careers by making courageous moves,” Basi said. “Nothing is reliant on holding one specific role anymore.” The project took months to complete and required significant financial support from the executive team — though Basi was able to pull it off. “She was great at getting leaders to collaborate on that project,” Ling said. Basi’s appeal was that she never forced anyone to participate. Instead, she shared her vision for the tool and explained how their stories could help other Allergan employees follow in their footsteps. Then she asked for their feedback on the project and used what they shared to make it better. “Even though all of the leaders are overworked, they all made time for her because she inspired and motivated them,” Ling said. “They saw how their stories would benefit others.” That grassroots support helped Basi get the resources she needed to build the program and generate buy-in for it across the company. “She put herself out there and dealt with any push-back that came,” Green said. When she faced doubters, Basi educated them on the value it would bring to employee engagement, leadership development and talent management. “She made it stick,” Green said. When her team launched My Allergan Careers in April 2019, employees immediately loved it, according to Agcaoili. “It did more than just provide a road map.” The tool made it easier for employees to reach out to leaders whose career stories they’d seen, to ask for advice and possible mentoring. “It’s become the new norm around here,” she said. “It shifted the mindset of who you can talk to about your future.”

Tell Me About Yourself While My Allergan Career is one of the biggest initiatives Basi has undertaken since joining the Allergan team, it’s one of many efforts she’s led. She’s also proud of a series of new training programs she deployed in 2019 to help Allergan employees tell their own career stories. The program, called Pitch Perfect, includes a course on how to talk about yourself internally, how to talk about yourself on LinkedIn and how to be more inclusive in your language. This program is also tied to Allergan’s history of acquisitions. So many employees are new to the company, and going through changes in their teams and roles, they needed a way to promote themselves for new opportunities, Basi explained. Pitch Perfect was originally a simple idea in response to the constant pace of change, but as soon as she launched it she knew she’d tapped into a serious unmet need. “Right away we had 500 people on the waiting list,” she said. “There was so much interest, it was clearly something people wanted.”

Basi prepares her people to thrive in constantly changing workplace environments.

The courses cover how people present themselves, how they tell the story of themselves and how they should answer questions about their work experience in a way that demonstrates their value. Basi was surprised at how challenging that could be for some people. “When you ask them what sets them apart, they don’t know how to answer,” she said. Many learners would give a list of titles or projects rather than showcasing what they accomplished in those roles. She loves to see their reaction when she helps them shift their narrative. “They see how they add value for the organization,” she said. “It has been very meaningful.”

The Next Acquisition These new communication skills will likely come in handy in the coming year. In October 2019, Allergan shareholders approved a $63 billion acquisition by AbbVie, the U.S. biopharmaceutical company that spun off from Abbott Laboratories in 2013. This means Allergan employees are facing yet another giant shake-up. Fortunately, Basi has been preparing them to thrive in a constantly changing workplace environment. “I don’t know what the future holds with AbbVie,” she said. “But I want to give our people a solid set of tools and resources that will help them through these times of change.” CLO Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in Chicago. Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 33

So, you are an identity heorist. What exactly is that?

An identity theorist is a scholar who studies how products, services, brands and organizations become “internalized” as part of a consumer’s sense of self-expression, identity, aspirational self and a badge of identity. We explore the question through the lens of social psychology to understand how these objects become fused with a sense of self. When this happens, it creates what I have coined as “identity loyalty”— which means that the product, service, brand or organization becomes one with self and vice versa, and the person becomes an “advocate” of that product, service, brand or organization such that they are willing to defend it against competitive attacks in the marketplace, they are willing to pay more for it, and they become one man one woman walking marketing departments for FREE.

Americus Reed II Professor of Marketing Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

What are some of the triggers that lead consumers to identify with and become loyal to a product, brand or logo?

What happens is that what I mention above usually is not by accident. A really savvy product, brand, service or organization depicts and describes itself carefully LESS in terms of “what it does” and MORE in terms of WHY it does what it does. This deeper sociological “narrative” is the social glue that connects potentially with consumers because that WHY resonates with a sense of how that consumer desires to see themselves. When the “values” of the brand, product, service or organization are in alignment with that of the consumer (through clear articulation of that “WHY,”) you get this consequence of “identity loyalty.”

OFFICIAL KEYNOTES OF THE 2020 SPRING SYMPOSIUM Americus Reed II Mon | April 6 | 1:30 PM Calusa Ballroom

Melissa Schilling Tue | April 7 | 1:30 PM Calusa Ballroom

Catch them all!

Caroline Webb Wed | April 8 | 11:30 AM Calusa Ballroom

In your book, “Quirky,” you discuss the commonalities of creative genius shared by the likes of Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and more. Can you share some of those commonalities? All of the innovators were, not surprisingly, very intelligent. But what was more notable were the things that they had in common that we might not have expected, and that made them differ from averages we might expect from a randomly drawn population. For example, almost all Melissa Schilling of them expressed a significant social Professor and Author detachment or disregard for social Quirky norms. This is part of what facilitated them in generating and pursuing unusual ideas and persisting with them even in the face of criticism. They all also exhibited extremely high levels of self-efficacy (i.e., faith that they could overcome all obstacles to achieve their goals), which is a big part of why they were willing to doggedly pursue ideas that other people thought were impossible. Nearly all of them were very idealistic and had very high need for achievement, which led them to work very long hours, often disregarding their own comfort, health or even families. They were also ALL self-made; that is, none of them started with significant resources and several started in a position of extreme poverty. Many of them were not as formally educated as you might expect, but ALL of them were self-educators (i.e., they were avid readers and would train themselves to a very advanced level in a range of topics). Of the eight serial innovators you look at, only one, Marie Curie, is a woman. Why are women less likely to be serial innovators? For most of the time period I studied, women were shunned from business and science, and in many cases, they weren’t allowed to pursue higher education. In fact, Marie Curie traveled to France to pursue higher education because women were not allowed to attend college in her home country of Poland. This meant that women were very unlikely to show up as serial breakthrough innovators in technology and science (the focus of my book), though women were undoubtedly innovating in other areas (art, home goods, textiles, etc.) The other important aspect to remember is that all of the serial breakthrough innovators who were successful enough to be selected by my research protocol were obsessively focused on their innovation and worked with a single-mindedness that was extreme. It would have been very hard to reconcile this kind of work with being a primary childcare provider, and over the time period I studied, women were typically the primary childcare providers of the family. Marie Curie demonstrates this tension poignantly — she basically gave her children to her father-in-law to raise, and after her death, one of her daughters wrote extensively of the loneliness and pain she felt by not having received more of her mother’s attention. Marie Curie herself wrote to her daughter that it was not necessary to live such an “anti-natural” existence as the one she chose for herself; she wrote that she had chosen it because she loved science.

What can leaders do to help their people have good days at work, ultimately enhancing their happiness and performance? Recognize that people perform best when they feel like they’re doing something that matters and when they feel respected and supported by their colleagues. And small changes can do a lot to boost people’s sense of purpose and connection — making sure team meetings cover recent successes and their impact, for example, rather than just upcoming tasks.

Caroline Webb Executive Coach and Author How to Have a Good Day SEVENSHIFT

What are some things many companies and leaders are currently doing wrong? When leaders care deeply about what’s at stake, they can be tempted to expect their colleagues to be ‘always on. But research has found that people reach better insights if they have a chance to step away from a task and then return to it with fresh eyes. People also work faster and make fewer mistakes when they’re not multitasking, with messages bombarding them as they’re trying to think. It would be great to see more leaders realizing that their teams will be smarter and more productive if they’re encouraged to take breaks and go offline periodically. Based on behavioral science, what makes humans go into fight-or-flight mode? What sparks so much workplace anxiety? Our brain is constantly scanning the world around us for potential threats to defend against. While that means we can react fast in a crisis, the fight-or-flight response unfortunately also reduces activity in parts of the brain associated with sophisticated thinking, which is why we do silly things when stressed. And small things are enough to put our brain on the defensive. Anything that threatens our sense of competence or control can do it — for example, being criticized or put on the spot in a meeting. The same goes for anything that undermines our sense of social standing — being talked over in a meeting or excluded from an email chain, say. The good news is that anything that boosts our self-worth will reduce the sense of threat and help us think more clearly again. That’s why appreciation is so important in the workplace. Psychological safety is something people talk a lot about these days. How can employers build a psychologically safe environment? And what might that look like? It’s normal for there to be disappointments and missteps in the workplace, especially when a company is trying to do something new. Psychologically safe environments help people do their best work under pressure by keeping everyone’s brains off the defensive when something goes wrong. Instead of blame or irritation (“How could you have let this happen? Why didn’t you check with me?”), the focus is on learning (“What does this tell you? What does that mean you should do differently?”). There’s still clear accountability, but with the second approach you’re far more likely to get creative thinking about solutions. Register today at www.clomedia.com/symposium

36 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

To expand your leadership candidate pool, leverage employee networks to dig deeper into your workforce.



arious studies report that CEOs are by and large concerned about the development of the next generation of leaders. Not surprisingly, corporate training budgets, especially those allocated to leadership development, have steadily grown. According to Training Industry’s “The State of the Leadership Training Market,” in 2018 alone organizations around the world spent about $3.4 billion on leadership development solutions. Most futurists predict this number will continue to increase. Yet, despite this investment, a leadership candidate shortage seems to persist. A 2014-2015 “Global Leadership Forecast” by The Conference Board and DDI revealed that 85 percent of executives are not confident in their leadership pipelines. One major constraint to the leadership candidate pool appears to be the severely limited approach for identifying future leaders. In essence, organizations consider a few star performers with high visibility in typically preferred roles. Using what on the surface appears to be a rigorous psychometrics process, but which often is little more than an educated guess, they then label these individuals “high potentials.” The organizations then make large investments in these candidates and wait for results.

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 37

So how well is this process working? According to the Corporate Research Forum, about 53 percent of organizations are unsatisfied with the results of their high-potential programs. The bottom line is highly visible star performers from favored corporate departments don’t always have what it takes to evolve into true leaders, especially inclusive leaders capable of managing today’s diverse workforce. These are often people who perform exceedingly well in a current role that has a lot of senior management visibility and attention, but that does not mean they have the passion or even the native ability to be a leader. Furthermore, since most of these people have until now only proven themselves based on personal accomplishments, observers seeking nascent leadership skills in this group do not have a clear way of gauging their true leadership potential — at least not until they roll the dice.

Highly visible star performers from favored corporate departments don’t always have what it takes to evolve into true leaders. Fortunately, there’s a group of people already present in most Fortune 500 and global organizations who demonstrate a passion for leadership and perform within a business microcosm that enables them to showcase their emerging talents. They are the leaders and members of employee networks, commonly called employee resource groups.

Beyond the Radar Regarding leaders and members of employee networks, Simone Morris, author of “The Power of Owning Your Career” and CEO of Simone Morris Enterprises LLC, stated, “All one needs to do is look closely to see that many of these people are superstars waiting for the right opportunity to soar.” Indeed, some organizations have started looking more closely at the members of these groups as potential future leaders of the enterprise. In an episode of my eponymous organization’s ERG PowerTalk podcast, numerous guests — including Morris; David Casey, chief diversity officer at CVS Health; Tracie Taylor, assistant vice president at Atrium Health; and Theo Bowling, assistant vice president at LPL Financial — discussed how some organizations they know or are directly associated with tap into these networks to find and develop future leaders. Bowling, whose role straddles the office of diversity and inclusion along with leadership development, believes there is good reason to tap into employee networks for future 38 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

leaders. “When you add the ability to be coachable and the desire to be responsible for more, give me that person as a leadership candidate 100 percent of the time,” he said. Unlike the traditional small future leadership candidate pools cobbled together with a couple of high-flying subject matter experts and/or a few senior-level contributors who’ve never demonstrated interest in the work of leadership, this pool is larger and has already demonstrated a passion for leading. In addition to being a rich source of potential leaders, ERGs present several opportunities for developing these emerging leaders. First, they provide exposure and chances to practice leadership skills and behaviors typically not required in the day jobs of people in individual contributor roles. Morris shared how she initially learned her management craft through participation in an employee network, telling us: “The things I learned in the employee network space were vastly different than what I was learning in my day job. For example, I learned about recruiting diverse talent. I learned about using my voice to educate and lead others. I gained more perspective on building, implementing and driving toward strategies.” To this list, we can add budgeting, influencing, managing and measuring results, plus many other dimensions of leadership. Employee networks also provide what can be considered the perfect safe place to learn, even for still-not-fully-confident developing leaders. As Bowling noted, “The networks act as a safe place to learn, practice, fail and grow.” That’s because, he went on to point out, while they are learning from a sponsor, chairs, other members and other diverse communities, and the office of D&I, these network leaders and members “know it’s OK to fail forward and make mistakes.” Under such circumstances, it’s no surprise that these participants, who tend to be at earlier career stages, as well as some who may be further along in their career journey but from a different cultural background, are more likely to pursue developing challenging leadership skills here versus in their day jobs where performance results may be more carefully and critically scrutinized.

Some Common Concerns One oft-shared concern with the idea of leveraging ERGs to expand the leadership pool is that quite a few ERG members, and even their group leaders, tend to be at much earlier career stages than the higher-flying star employees that most companies typically consider for high-potential designations. Another concern is that other candidates in these pools, who might be more advanced in their careers, may come from nontraditional backgrounds that may not seem to be a cultural “fit.” “Should we be digging that deep down?” some

may ask. “Should we be looking into these pools that are outside of our regular sources? Are they ready for the kind of leadership development programs we run here?” The answer is yes to the first two questions and most likely no to the third. Generally, companies known for successfully finding and growing leaders achieve this in part by digging deeper and cultivating people at early career stages as well as from all parts of their enterprise. So, yes, you should dig as deep and wide as possible. As for the concern that it’s likely these candidates are not ready for development programs that were designed for people at a certain level and from traditional leadership sources, the solution lies in building an “acceleration lane,” which brings these new candidates smoothly into your mainstream development program. As this source of leadership candidates may comprise people in earlier career stages, they will have fewer business accomplishments under their belt; this group may also include those from demographics beyond the mainstream who are not acclimated to the norms of your organization or general social culture. So, what should your acceleration lane include? And how should you go about setting up mechanisms that will enable you to tap into these earlier-in-career and more diverse candidates, thereby creating a larger, more diverse future leadership talent pool for your company?

5 Steps Forward First and foremost, you need to get senior leadership and middle management buy-in and support. Tapping into early-career and nontraditional candidates in your ERGs to expand your future leader pool is a major shift. Therefore, you must make the case for this approach to the CEO and senior leaders and gain their endorsement. Then, you need to get these leaders to add participation as a member, leader or executive sponsor of an ERG into their own and each of their direct reports’ development plans. They also need to require their direct reports to do the same with team members who report to them. Bowling noted that senior and midlevel leadership support must not only be crystal clear, but followed by explicit adoption of the approach, because “managers will follow what they hear and see their leaders doing.” Second, get everyone into the leadership talent scouting and development business. Establish a system to reward and recognize leaders who identify early-​ career and nontraditional future leadership candidates. Reward and recognize those who contribute to their development within ERGs. Reward and recognize those who sponsor them for next-level positions. In short, crowdsource early in career and nontraditional future leadership talent identification and development from within employee networks across your leadership team. As a third step, set up a process to help early-career and nontraditional candidates gain speed so they can

merge into your mainstream leadership development highway. Supplement your regular leadership development curriculum with training that rapidly helps them develop their interpersonal power skills, leadership presence and confidence. StandingOut\W3, an e-learning solution provider led by CEO Stephen Krempl, the former vice president of global learning at Starbucks, offers great advice here. According to the provider, which specializes in helping early career and nontraditional background professionals stand out from the crowd, the key is to help budding leaders rapidly amplify their interpersonal power skills within the context of their organization’s norms and culture. In the company’s words, “To be seen and heard as the internal talent which management is looking for, they [ERG leaders and members] need to be able to consciously ‘switch’ to their most effective mode in order to come across with their best foot forward.” Career progression is more about who knows you than who you know.  Next, promptly bridge leadership and interpersonal power skills learned and developed within the incubator of the employee network to the larger organization.

Some worry that sourcing future leaders from ERGs will lead to ignoring more traditionally qualified candidates. Some companies have developed sophisticated processes to use ERGs as experiential leadership development vehicles. As these newly acquired skills surface, Morris recommends bridging them out to the larger enterprise by giving the newly emerged leaders: •  Access to participation in owning a piece of a high-profile project or its budget. •  Opportunity to exercise and demonstrate to a limited degree their leadership. •  Opportunity to connect with senior leaders and form relationships. Finally, it’s time to feed, weed and harvest. Initial investment in accelerating leadership skills of leaders and members of ERGs to prepare them for your mainstream pool can be small. As they perform and demonstrate their leadership skills and potential, you can increase investment in those who show the most promise. Ultimately, as you bridge these skills BURIED TREASURE continued on page 52 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 39

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Certain critical factors will determine the success — or failure — of your unconscious bias training. BY NEAL GOODMAN


any organizations are rushing into unconscious bias training, also known as implicit or cognitive bias training. This “check the box” approach typically results in poorly planned and delivered learning experiences, which can lead to an unanticipated backlash against the material. If done well, unconscious bias training can be positively transformative; if not done well, the dysfunctional consequences can elicit negative reactions such as guilt, unrealized rising expectations, demoralization or pain. Before undertaking unconscious bias training, leadership must understand the strategic purpose of this initiative and, more specifically, what they hope to achieve. Unconscious bias training is about critical thinking and decision making. As a result of the training, leaders, managers and individual contributors should be able to make better and more rational decisions. These decisions should focus not only on career-related topics — such as the role of unconscious bias in the selection, development, retention and promotion of underrepresented groups — but also on business practices and processes related to marketing, investment decisions, innovation, patient care/customer relations and all situations where one’s implicit bias may result in poor business decisions. The business case for the training is not just about “fixing people” but about creating or refining processes that ultimately impact profitability. Most organizations do not recognize how much money they are losing, whether directly or through missed opportunity, due to the unseen forces of unconscious bias at work. For example, consider the following true story: A major venture

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 41

capitalist, investing millions of dollars on new medical ventures, realized they needed unconscious bias training after they rejected a product designed for (and pitched by) females that was subsequently accepted at another firm, eventually becoming highly profitable. As part of the venture capitalist’s vetting process, they interviewed the CEO and lead scientist of every organization making a pitch for funding. They came to realize that due to the bias of their mostly white male interviewers, they were not doing as much due diligence when those making a pitch were older white males, and thus were investing in projects that did not become profitable. Conversely, they missed out on a major investment because they hesitated to invest in an opportunity when those making the pitch were younger females. But not all unconscious bias training programs are created equal. Here is a look at what differentiates the good from the not-so-good.

12 Factors for Success The following factors have proven to enhance the success of unconscious bias programs. No. 1: Set realistic expectations. Do not over promise and under deliver. Raising expectations that unconscious bias training will eliminate all bias would be disingenuous. The goal is to be conscious of our biases and blind spots that impact our judgments and decisions. No. 2: Provide appropriate time for the training. It has taken a lifetime to develop our biases; they cannot be overcome in a two-hour session. Ideally, several short sessions or one full day should be the minimum. No. 3: Start at the top. Training to mitigate bias must be driven from executive leadership who will model the behavioral and procedural changes needed. Most executives will not come to this awareness easily. A highly effective program for executives is an intensive, transformational experience. Ideally, the executive team should be willing to commit two days to an executive retreat that focuses on self-discovery at a very profound level. In such a program, executives can develop both the vision and the practical steps they are committed to take as leaders. No. 4: Incorporate unconscious bias assessment tools, such as the one provided by Project Implicit. This tool helps uncover hidden biases on many criteria including race, gender, disabilities and age. Facilitators must also know the pitfalls of this test and the challenges associated with how people interpret their results. No. 5: Be judicious in selecting the right facilitator. Do not select someone simply because they took a course on diversity, see this topic as “their 42 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

passion” or have personally experienced bias. Trainers should be highly qualified and well-versed in the social psychology of attitude formation, be excellent and empathetic facilitators, and have a nonthreatening and inclusive style that avoids guilt trips. No. 6: Provide the training in-person. This topic requires interpersonal interaction, trust and the opportunity for people to meet in a safe environment. E-learning is not appropriate as the primary means of delivering unconscious bias training. While it may seem cost effective, there will be little measurable change in behavior. No. 7: Focus on actual work-related scenarios. Unconscious bias training is most effective when focused on specific real situations such as reviewing résumés, conducting interviews, responding to customers, meeting behavior, interrupting, etc. To ensure authenticity, case studies and scenarios derived from the organization should be incorporated into the program. (Don’t forget the importance of carefully editing these case studies so no one can identify any of the characters in the scenario.) It is perfectly OK to identify the diversity characteristics of those in the case or to use fake first names. For example, an unconscious bias program for a major newspaper may focus on how reporters select whom to interview and whether they use the same questions for males or females. A program for a hospital may focus on how the race or ethnicity of a patient impacts the types of tests and medications that are prescribed by doctors. As part of any program, address the micromessaging at work and have participants discuss micro-inequities and micro-affirmations and the words, phrases, symbols, jokes and other symbolic representations of their group that they find offensive and why. No. 8: Customize the program to address the types of unconscious bias and their mitigation most likely to occur at work. There are hundreds of types of unconscious bias; only those most relevant to the organization should be selected to focus on. In some programs proximity bias is a critical factor, while in others it is of little importance. Always provide recommendations on how to mitigate the bias in the event that the participants cannot think of any on their own. Many organizations invest a significant amount of time and resources to identify and audit the types of unconscious bias that exist in their organization prior to designing a training solution. Issues around in-group favoritism and how it operates in the organization must be addressed as well. Research shows that a lack of diversity creates “group think” while diverse viewpoints result in more creativity and innovation. No. 9: Build measurable and meaningful skills and actions for success. Learning about our blind

spots and hidden biases is not sufficient. Successful training must also help the participants identify and build skills to overcome these biases. There must be an expectation that there will be measurable behavioral changes and that those in the training will support each other in implementing these changes. An individual and organizational action plan process needs to be incorporated into any program hoping to overcome unconscious bias. More on that shortly. No. 10: Create incentives for change. Tie bonuses and promotions to measured improvement in inclusion. One client created an incentive program that involved a $100 reward for the best new idea promoting inclusion every month alongside a mention in the monthly internal newsletter. This $1,200 a year program paid off exponentially in practical innovations and in creating an atmosphere of engagement. No. 11: Integrate the organization’s criteria of competencies directly into the goals of the program. The business case for training should be linked to the organization’s mission statement and the criteria the organization uses to measure the competencies for success. Participants should be encouraged to identify actions they can put into their development plans for their yearly review. No. 12: Embed sustainable processes in the training. Follow-up training, coaching and gentle reminders, often called “nudges,” should be implemented to continue to reinforce the training and highlight those who have made the greatest contribution to inclusion for the month or quarter. Weekly or monthly e-learning programs can focus on specific topics such as ageism, sexual orientation, bullying, neurodiversity, racism and other topics important to the organization. A monthly newsletter recognizing the top individual and group contributions to inclusion will keep the topic alive. Metrics that demonstrate changes in behavior or processes, such as the increase in the percentages of underrepresented candidates selected for development programs, should be a part of a follow-up initiative that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to taking action.

Taking Unconscious Bias Training Global: Danger Zones • Due to the many serious mistakes global companies make when taking unconscious bias training overseas, please consult the following list of danger zones: • Programs developed in the United States do not work outside the U.S. They must be localized. • There are diverse meanings of diversity, equity and inclusion; learn what they are. • The dimensions of diversity vary significantly by country. • S elf-disclosure is not the norm in many countries, so participants may not be willing to share their personal experiences or thoughts. • Topics related to LGBTQ should not be discussed in some locations while ethnic differences would be dangerous to discuss in some countries. • Political correctness does not apply; expect to hear biased comments about gender, race, ethnicity and more. • Facilitation styles vary by country. In some cultures, lectures are preferred, while in others there is a great amount of interactivity.

— Neal Goodman

of the new skills developed during the program and their resulting action plans that participants will alter the future. Near the conclusion of the training, the participants should share their action plans in priority order and meet with others who have similar plans who will serve as peer coaches to sustain the implementation of the actions. When participants commit to individual actions within peer coaching groups, sustainability increases. Below is a sample of action plans one executive team committed to based on their unconscious bias Individual and Organizational program: Action Planning •  Challenge people to drive diversity when conFor training to be most effective and sustainable, sidering candidates for succession planning during the program, participants should create perpurposes. sonal action plans that focus on behavioral changes •  Look beyond the usual people for stretch they would like to implement regarding all work-​ assignments. related decisions. A personal action-planning process •  Identify “devil’s advocates” to review my ideas creates a customized road map for participants to to detect unconscious bias. address unconscious bias and gain traction for creating sustainable practices. It is through the practice BLIND SPOTS continued on page 53 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 43

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We need an improved talent development model to help us more effectively meet the skill needs of our dynamic and expanding digital economy. A modern apprenticeship model is the answer.



growing and pervasive challenge within our post-industrial and ever-accelerating digital economy is that of better preparing the emerging workforce for the future of work — today. The importance of human capital development at every level within our enterprises has become even more critical to innovating and creating the competitive advantage required to meet our customer’s heightened expectations in a globally hyperconnected marketplace. Customers and prospects have become much more digitally fluent than they were just one or two years ago and we see this trend continuing to accelerate. This is perhaps most visible via the continued rapid increase in e-commerce as reported by Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and offline spending trends; seasonal shopping from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, 2019, was up 3.4 percent over 2018 while online sales expanded by 18.8 percent during the same period. Use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation and other emerging technologies that underlie and enable these online processes is helping consumers solve their e-commerce problems faster and more conveniently than ever before. As companies continue to respond to dynamic and innovative marketplace forces with greater adoption of


these technologies, it will require material shifts to their operating models and workforce. As a result, the talent and skills needed to win are shifting as well. According to McKinsey & Co.’s December 2017 report, “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation,” by 2030, more than 30 percent of the United States labor market and 375 million workers globally will need to change jobs or upgrade their skills significantly to continue to advance within the workforce. As learning and development professionals, the principal challenge of our practice is recognizing these changing talent and skill requirements within our organizations while leveraging the educational capabilities at our disposal to support them. Further, in a very direct sense, the continued commercial efficacy of our enterprises and their ability to meet customers on their terms with greater speed and efficiency, while at the same time extending American business leadership throughout the 21st century and beyond, will hinge upon our ability to capitalize on this workforce skilling challenge. As in other areas of our profession, innovating and moving beyond traditional human capital development models will be invaluable as we advance our transition as a global economic system to a knowledge- and innovation-based economy. This is where modern apprenticeships can play a big role.

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 45

A Modern Apprenticeship Model A first step to innovating our talent development approach is to fully recognize that knowledge, courtesy of internet search engines, has become commoditized. Thanks to innovation, every child with a smart phone now has access to practically our entire store of global knowledge with increasing accuracy and speed. In this transformative period, our workforce, commercial enterprises and society as a whole could benefit from earlier talent engagement that provides a more blended and coordinated work/study process in the context of developing required skill sets effectively and efficiently. Also, we must acknowledge that our ability to further prepare the workforce at scale for these economic megatrends is essential to the continued vibrancy and growth of economic output while at the same time increasing standards of living and distributing them more evenly across our nation. A more rapid and expanded adoption of a modernized apprenticeship framework that provides this blended and coordinated learning approach could help address these talent needs while preparing young adults for the future of work. It is also a solution that incorporates traditional scholastic education with an experiential real-work focus, helping build commercially oriented skills, experiences and credentials. A key objective of the apprenticeship approach is to connect more young and diverse students to our knowledge- and innovation-based economy in a manner that not only provides the skills needed for long-term success but also serves as a process to launch this talent into a career pathway that enables them to optimize their skills in the context of ever-emerging new technologies and career opportunities. The modern apprenticeship program model is focused on in-demand jobs and provides both on-thejob training and classroom instruction. This dual process allows apprentices to earn wages while learning commercial skills.

between the Swiss business community and educational complex. A key outcome of this cross-sector cooperation is the earlier engagement of Swiss young adults in the labor force, with a focus on helping them obtain the skills and experiences that prepare them for the future of work. In contrast, in the United States — with 85 percent of students nationally graduating from high school, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report, and 30 percent going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in four years, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Education statistics by college expert and journalist Lynn O’Shaughnessy — we have accumulated $1.6 trillion in student debt. Despite these statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor reported in January 2019 that 6 million jobs go unfilled due to the mismatch of the skills needed in the labor market. Incorporating many of the lessons learned from the Swiss vocational education and training process, Here to Here launched a new apprenticeship program in 2019 with 85 apprentices. In a June 2019 Crain’s New York Business article, Sigal indicated, “We’re using these apprenticeships to really align employers and educators around the goal of making sure that, by the time a young person is 25, they have found or [are] on the path to a family-sustaining career. That’s something we are not currently doing well, particularly for students of color or students growing up in neighborhoods such as the South Bronx or East New York.”

Our compulsory requirement of mandating a high school education began in the early 1920s.

Learning From Zurich Here to Here, a New York-based nonprofit that links employers, educators and diverse community stakeholders to enhance career pathways for young adults, is one organization that recognizes the value in modern apprenticeships. CEO Abby Jo Sigal recently led a contingent of major employers and educators on a visit to Zurich, Switzerland, in an effort to review the Swiss vocational education and training process. This engagement provided an in-depth review of the system, which integrates workplace experiential learning with academic education via cross-sector collaboration 46 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

Times They Are a Changin’ We collectively understand that education matters, so much so that our compulsory requirement of mandating a high school public education in the United States began in the early 1920s, according to the 2008 Digest of Education Statistics. The focus during this period was providing a rapidly expanding American population with an increased investment in the human capital skills needed to address the labor requirements of the then-emerging industrial age. The 1920s was a decade when the American economy experienced significant economic growth. The mass production of new consumer goods created an increased demand for a more highly skilled workforce. This economic expansion was exemplified by the birth of the modern auto and airline industries that in part created this demand for higher-skilled talent. As a result, between 1920 and 1940 the “high school movement” enabled increased high school enrollment rates and graduation numbers, which helped fulfill the workforce needs of this industrial expansion.

Notwithstanding this progress, it is difficult to argue that in our current post-industrial global economic system, a high school educational attainment level alone is sufficient to position our workforce or our society for the long-term competitive advantage required to maintain our global leadership position. However, we also understand that a four-year college degree may not comport with the aspirations of all students. The modern apprenticeship program provides more flexibility for students, options that provide participants with targeted in-demand skills beyond a high school degree together with job training and employment. Additionally, these experiences are both “braided” with school and work. Plus, they are permeable — should students desire to change career specializations or accelerate their progress toward associate, bachelor or post-graduate degrees, the modern apprenticeship program supports these various career pathing trajectories. There are 30 million living wage roles — these are roles defined as having median earnings of $55,000 annually in the United States that pay at this level without a bachelor’s degree, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Notwithstanding, bachelor’s degree earners currently occupy 55 percent of all of these living wage positions. Further, traditionally most employees with these living wage roles without a bachelor’s degree have worked in manufacturing, but in the context of our post-industrial age of work, these job types are declining. At the same time, we are seeing the number of living wage roles in skilled-services industries, like health services and financial services, increasing. Also, for workers without a bachelor’s degree, associate degrees have become increasingly important, and these degree holders are getting an expanded share of the living wage positions while the number held by workers with a high school diploma only continues to decline. With the proliferation and acceleration of digital fluency skills required, the nature of all jobs will continue to change. Even now some three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require education or training beyond a high school diploma. What will help continue to fuel future economic output for society, commercial enterprises and individuals is no longer simply knowing more than other people or other organizations but being able to apply knowledge in an effective and innovative manner. A more rapid and expanded adoption of this modern apprenticeship framework would create this clear and distinct competitive differentiation to extend our leadership in workforce innovation and global commerce.

Legislation is Creating Opportunities When the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act went into effect July

1, 2019, new opportunities were created to improve career and technical education, or CTE, programs, also referred to as vocational programs. Passage of the act signaled strong support for CTE programs by a bipartisan congress, bringing together key stakeholders from the U.S. Department of Education, the business sectors, educators, parents and other community members to set the foundation for helping students position themselves more effectively for the future of work. The act acknowledges that students at all levels of education could benefit from greater innovation and cross-sector engagement while securing greater linkage with workforce development and career pathways.

The nature of all jobs will continue to change. The bill reauthorizes through 2024 and is focused on ensuring all students can benefit from high-quality CTE programs to help better prepare them for highskill, high-wage employment. The legislation created new opportunities to improve CTE programs, enabling the states to have greater flexibility to meet the unique needs of their students, educators and employers. Provisions in the act allow school districts to use federal funds to provide all students, not just those enrolled in CTE programs, expanded access to career exploration and skill development activities in the middle grades and more comprehensive academic counseling in high school.

A Critical Crossroads We stand at a critical inflection point with respect to the need for an improved talent development model to help us more effectively meet the skill needs of our dynamic and expanding digital economy. It is a challenge that will require the collective leadership of business, government, higher education and, of course, our students. It is a challenge that will be solutioned by this increased cross-sector collaboration together with further reconfiguration of our talent development processes. It means being open to adopting the changes that a modernized apprenticeship program can deliver in the context of existing national CTE processes. Most important, it means advancing this student-​ centric approach in a manner that is fit for purpose for the massive technological advances and resulting business operating model changes that await us — changes that will provide a more dynamic ability to deliver the commercial skills required for the workforce of this post-industrial age. CLO Jesse Jackson is head of firmwide learning & talent solutions at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 47


Building Leaders Through Book Club BY SARAH FISTER GALE


n 2016 Kim Becker, talent manager for MBX Systems in Libertyville, Illinois, had a company manager come to her asking for help. “He was struggling with the culture fit and trying to make a lot of changes fast, but it wasn’t working,” she said. She suggested he read a business book she’d recently come across called “The First 90 Days” by Michael D. Watkins. The book explores challenges that leaders face in times of transition and offers strategies to manage the most common pitfalls that new leaders encounter. The book had such a profound impact on that manager that he gave it to every member of his team, and soon leaders from across the $100 million supply chain hardware company were requesting the book and asking Becker about it. With interest so high, she decided to pilot a book club for managers to see if reading the book and talking about it together would help them in their

MBX Systems employees attend a book club meeting. Due to its success, the program has become a permanent fixture of the company’s onboarding program.

leadership journey. The pilot program was instantly popular, and one participant suggested that all new and transitioning employees should get to join in. Soon after, MBX Book Club became a permanent fixture of the company’s onboarding program. “It has 48 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

SNAPSHOT Niche technology company MBX Systems uses its book club to engage new employees and build leadership skills they will use for their entire career.

become a great way to help new employees get acclimated to the company and for us to show them that we care about their development,” Becker said.

Third Time’s a Charm When a new employee is hired or approved for a promotion, they receive a letter in the mail with a copy of “The First 90 Days” and a description of the book club. “It really made me feel like I made the right choice in joining MBX,” said Lisa Griesser, an account coordinator who was hired in September 2019. The book club is held once a month and includes employees at every level of the company, from frontline workers to senior executives. The company’s president also attends every book club meeting and openly participates and answers questions. Each new employee is expected to attend three months in a row and is assigned a different section to discuss for each meeting. The first month they are assigned the introduction through chapter 3; in month two they read chapters 4-7; and in month three they read chapters 8-10. Because it’s a rolling event, there are always several people ready to discuss each of the three sections. This format also ensures the conversations and connections participants make at each meeting are always different. “A lot of the meat of book club is the perspectives you get from others,” Becker said. Griesser admits that she was a little overprepared for her first book club. “I brought pages of notes,” she said. She wanted to put her best foot forward, especially in a room full of company managers and the president of the company. But she didn’t need to worry. “It is a very relaxed atmosphere and all of the leaders were so welcoming,” she said. “I didn’t feel intimidated at all.”

To ease new members into the process, Becker starts each meeting with the final chapters that have been assigned to “graduates” who’ve already been to two other meetings. “It eases the trepidation for those who are new to the group and gives them a chance to think about what they will say,” Becker said. Then she moves to the group who read the middle chapters and, finally, the newbies.

Lunch and Learn None of the discussion that takes place during MBX Book Club is meant to be like a book report or summary. Rather, it is meant to foster casual conversations where groups of employees have a chance to connect over the book, their own experiences and a catered lunch. As the meeting goes on, employees see that it’s OK to push back on ideas and to ask questions. “No one should be afraid to talk,” Becker said. During the discussions, she encourages employees to share what they found useful in the book and how it relates to their own experiences. For example, Chris Morales, MBX support services coordinator, said he got the most value from the section on making connections and building relationships with leaders in other departments. “I’m in a support role so I deal with everyone in the company,” Morales said. “I’ve found it extremely valuable to be able to identify allies in different departments who I can turn to when situations arise.” For Griesser, who is returning to work after taking several years off to raise her children, the chapters on the importance of learning the company politics and culture and acknowledging early wins resonated with her. “I’m a person who wants to know everything right away. So I had to wrap my head around celebrating small victories and taking the time to know everyone’s goals,” she said.

The Power of Conversation Lessons from the book make up only part of the goal of the book club. It’s also an opportunity for new and existing employees to expand their networks and build new relationships with people they might not otherwise get to know. “It was great to get to hear how each department runs,” said Olivia Stepp, global logistics manager, who was hired in February 2019. Over the three meetings she met several people from across the company, including Morales, who she’s been able to turn to for help and troubleshooting in her own job. “It made it a lot easier to go to him because I knew he had the right experience to help me, and we had already met,” she

said. “I don’t think I could have built those kinds of relationships as quickly as I did without the book club.” Morales has been through book club three times — when he was hired, and after two promotions — and each time it has added value, he said. “It’s helped me paint a clear picture of how to get where I want to go in my career.” As he’s taken on more leadership accountability, the book has become more relevant, teaching him how to guide others and to develop the confidence to lead.

“The power is in the conversations.” — Kim Becker, talent manager, MBX Systems

It may sound like a lot of time dedicated to one book, but it’s had a big impact, Becker said. “It shows people that we value them and also that we will hold them accountable.” While employees miss the occasional book club due to a work conflict, no one is allowed to wiggle out. “It’s part of our new hire experience,” she said. Becker hasn’t quantified the impact of book club, though she surveys participants after their third session and they consistently say it adds value. Many of them cite the opportunity to meet new people in a casual setting as one of the biggest benefits. She also notices the book is everywhere in the company. “Everyone has it on their desk, and we encourage people to talk about what they learned,” she said. “It’s a nice icebreaker.” The anecdotal evidence is enough to convince Becker and the leadership team that the book club is helping the company engage new employees and set them on the path to success. “We are in a tight labor market, and as a niche organization communicating our culture is very important,” she said. “It is one more thing we can do to make people feel welcomed.” Becker believes this model could work for many companies — using “The First 90 Days” or any other book that resonates with leaders and employees as they map their careers. “My advice is to just get started,” she said. “Pilot it with managers, encourage everyone to be open-minded, and if something doesn’t work, tweak it.” The key is to create a space where everyone can contribute, then get out of the way. “The power is in the conversations.” CLO Sarah Fister Gale is a writer based in Chicago. Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 49


Buzzwords and Competencies BY ASHLEY ST. JOHN


here are so many technology buzzwords floating around these days that I recently felt compelled to do a Google search on some of the most popular from 2019 and forecasted for 2020. A bunch of familiar ones jumped out: Artificial intelligence. Big data. Machine learning. Data mining. Actionable analytics. The internet of things. Hyperautomation. I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of that last one, which led to another Google search. According to datapine.com, “Hyperautomation is an innovation that results in the creation of a ‘digital twin’: a self-sufficient bot that can conduct a range of sophisticated human tasks, often under pressured environments.” And it’s supposed to be a hot topic this year. Yikes. But the point is that our digital landscape (another great buzzword) is constantly changing, and it’s a lot to keep up with. This is certainly true in learning and development. According to a 2019 survey of current and aspiring CLOs, increased use of technology is the top thing changing in the role of a CLO (Figure 1). Results from the survey, which was conducted by the research and advisory arm of Chief Learning Officer magazine, were compiled as a benchmarking report, “The Role of CLO: What’s Next?” Not surprisingly, it seems that technology will continue to play a big part in that role. Of those surveyed, 92 percent said their role will require them to increase their technical competencies related to technology in the future. Specifically, those competencies most cited include how to

apply emerging technologies to organizational learning, learning analytics software and understanding data integration (Figure 2). Data and analytics appear to be a particularly important focus. The survey showed data and analytics and lack of data integration as the top two critical technology gaps among CLOs (Figure 3). And when asked about the overall most important future competencies needed for CLOs, 41 percent of respondents identified measurement and analytics as the most critical, second only to strategic management at 47 percent (Figure 4). For reference, in 2018 the top future competency cited was influence. Working with metrics and ROI is also the aspect of the role CLOs said they feel the least prepared for: 28 percent indicated this to be the case, far exceeding the second-most cited aspect, obtaining budget, at 18 percent (Figure 5). Using learning technology came in third, with 17 percent of respondents saying they feel unprepared. Tackling these technology gaps may seem daunting. But learning leaders know the value of lifelong learning. Whether it’s attending a data analytics boot camp, getting certified in data integration, attending webinars or reaching out to your extended network for advice, there are a variety of ways to grow these competencies in 2020. CLO

Increased use of technology is the top thing changing in the role of a CLO.

50 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

Ashley St. John is Chief Learning Officer’s managing editor.

Figures’ source: Human Capital Media’s 2019 “The Role of CLO: What’s Next?” CLOs: N=376; aspiring CLOs: N=165. All percentages rounded.

Data and analytics and lack of data integration are two critical technology gaps CLOs are looking to tackle.



45% 27% 13%

Increased use of technology

Curating versus creating content

Tasked with modernizing legacy processes

Expanded audiences

Outsourcing content




Applying emerging technologies to learning


Learning analytics software

Understanding data integration



Applying social technologies to organizational learning

Applying mobile technologies to learning delivery


Lack of data integration




Outdated technology


Strategic management



Measurement/analytics Influence/partnering


Executive leadership


Business acumen



Executive presence

Learning methods and concepts


17% 8%

Working with metrics/ROI

Obtaining budget

Using learning technology

Obtaining leadership buy-in


Influencing others in my organization

Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 51

CREATING LEADERS continued from page 23

BURIED TREASURE continued from page 39

and see how they work. Then they come back to this safe community to share their lessons from the road, learn more new concepts and take their learnings back to their workplace again. Leaders need to be able to apply their learnings on a personal level, then use the skills to work with others to influence organizational results. This design is based on four steps that build upon one another. The first step is knowledge of self. It’s very hard for managers to influence other people if they don’t understand themselves. This includes an awareness of how they are perceived by others and how they respond to pressure. It also includes identifying what is and what is not important to them. Understanding themselves and their patterns enables managers to see how others are different from them, which creates a natural interest and empathy for people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The next step is building relationships. In order to create the right energy to lead people and help them reach goals, a foundation of trust and positive regard must exist between managers and direct reports. This involves interpersonal communication and coaching techniques that result in better conversations. When a direct report sees their manager as trustworthy and compassionate, it creates a safe place for them to honestly address their issues and obstacles. A big part of being a manager is understanding how to build these types of relationships. The third step is producing results. This is when the manager leverages what they’ve learned about themselves and leading others so they can identify and set goals for their team, department or business unit. This is where strategic and operational leadership come together around topics like innovation and leading change. The fourth step is charting careers — addressing people’s needs so that they know how to succeed in their present job as well as how to prepare themselves for promotion. In this component, managers learn not only how to have a career conversation with a direct report but also how to provide that person with tools and resources to use in mapping out their career. There is no doubt that organizations rely on strong leadership to remain robust, innovative and competitive. However, they must be committed to investing the time, staff and money to ensure they are giving leaders all the tools they need to be successful. The payoff is significant: financial success, competitive advantage, talent retention and a motivating work environment where people can thrive. CLO

and pick from the best and brightest, you can steer them into your more standard existing leadership and executive development programs. Some candidates may ascend to the top rungs of leadership while others might peak at lower levels. In either case, you will have a much larger pool of new leaders in your organization. Before leaving this topic, there is an elephant in the room that we need to address — specifically that some may worry that sourcing future leaders from employee networks will lead to ignoring more traditionally qualified candidates. This concern is unwarranted. First, ERGs span nearly every demographic. In addition to those focused on race, gender and ethnicity, some center around other factors, including military status, age, faith and sexual orientation/preferences/identity. Furthermore, in most organizations, these groups welcome allies, partners and other participants who do not share the social identity on which the group is focused. For example, a straight white male can be an ally of an LGBT, female or African American ERG. So based on its structure, this pool is quite inclusive. Finally, as Morris noted, “Who says you have to ignore others to provide an opportunity to ERG/BRG leaders and members?” You can still pick up diamonds lying closer to the surface in your smaller pool of SMEs and high-level individual contributors while digging deeper into your organization via employee networks to expand your candidate pool.

Scott Blanchard is principal and executive vice president of client solutions for The Ken Blanchard Cos.

Joseph Santana is CEO of Joseph Santana LLC, which serves the diversity, inclusion and belonging community.

52 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

Dig Deep Diamonds in the rough may be found on the ground’s surface due to volcanic activity. However, these easily found gems are nothing compared to the quadrillion tons of rough diamonds deep below the earth’s surface. Of course, getting to those buried treasures requires additional machinery and may involve a slightly different process of polishing before they can be turned into jewelry. Likewise, it may be easier to spot people who you think might make good leaders from that small group of top performers operating in typical source pools within your organization, but further down in your company there is likely to be a mother lode of hidden potential. Reaching your rough diamonds buried deep below the workforce surface and preparing them may require some new machinery and effort, but the results can be bountiful. If you find that your pool of future leadership talent is inadequately constrained, my advice is to leverage your ERGs and dig deeper into your workforce for your hidden treasures. CLO

BLIND SPOTS continued from page 43 •  Identify patterns of bias in my behaviors and in others. •  Be aware of micro-inequities and negative micromessaging. •  Challenge my first thoughts and be mindful of when I feel stressed and hurried. •  Challenge what kind of opportunities exist for females to rise to the director level. •  Rotate persons into leadership roles. •  Look at teams: Rank their level of diversity; call it out and develop within those that have low diversity. •  Review job announcements and specifications and redo them if necessary. •  For our recruiting processes: nameless résumés, recruit in more diverse colleges, more mentoring, teach unconscious bias awareness to my team, increase diversity of recruitment team. •  Move toward more of a sponsorship than a mentorship model for those women who can be promoted. •  Consciously interact with more people not in my image or likeness. In addition to individual action plans, when training leaders of an organization, an organizational action planning process should be simultaneously introduced and conducted. This process has resulted in many measurable organizational outcomes, including larger pools of diverse qualified candidates through innovative outreach initiatives; increased creativity and innovation across various departments; lower turnover rates and longer retention rates; greater equity in salaries for women and other underrepresented groups; higher engagement scores noted internally and externally via social media; and more. Additional outcomes we’ve seen come out of this process include increased memberships in employee resource groups, the creation of

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an international employee ERG and greater contributions of ERGs to the bottom line. Additionally, there’s been involvement of allies in ERGs, with managers and leaders committing to attend ERG groups different from their own backgrounds. Companies have also seen increased profits in various sectors serving diverse populations in product sales and services, along with the creation of formal coaching and sponsorship programs with outreach to all. Designated phone lines where comments can be confidentially left about a particular policy or occurrence have been another result. All of these metrics are directly related to the company’s competitiveness. Creating and sustaining actions, policies and mindsets that affect the above noted tangibles is an achievable goal.

Clifford Capone Vice President, Group Publisher 312-967-3538 ccapone@ChiefLearningOfficer.com

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Kevin M. Fields Vice President, Business Development for Events 312-967-3565 kfields@ChiefLearningOfficer.com

Change Starts Now

Melanie Lee Business Administration Manager

Unconscious bias is insidious and ubiquitous. It demoralizes, inhibits and impacts people’s sense of belonging. Well-intentioned organizations that attempt to change employees’ biases and behaviors with a poorly designed and delivered program, aiming to change organizational processes that have been ingrained in their culture over time, will be doing more harm than good. They will lose some of their best talent to their more inclusive competitors, who will benefit from the creativity, innovation and profitability that is the hallmark of diversity and the result of impactful and sustainable training and organizational transformation. CLO


Neal Goodman is the founder and president of Global Dynamics Inc., a diversity and cross-cultural consulting and training organization.

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Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com 53


Beyond Engagement: Sustainable Inspiration Strive for inspiration • BY JEN GRACE BARON, ALLISON HOLZER AND SANDY SPATARO


Jen Grace Baron, Allison Holzer and Sandy Spataro are co-CEOs and co-founders of InspireCorps. They co-authored “Dare to Inspire: Sustain the Fire of Inspiration in Work and Life.”

mployee engagement has been the brass ring of leadership efforts for decades, and with good reason: High-engagement organizations report greater retention, safer workplaces and higher productivity. And yet engagement remains elusive — while it is at a 20-year high, still only 34 percent of employees report feeling engaged. Employees today, led by millennials, report that meaning in their work is more important than ever before. A recent SHRM study, “The Millennial Impact Report,” found that 94 percent of employees want to use their skills and abilities to benefit a cause. They want and demand to use their strengths, to find their calling and to make a difference beyond themselves. Given that employees spend an average of 90,000 hours at work over the course of their careers, it is understandable that people are requiring more than engagement in their work; instead, inspiration is the key to meeting these desires and reaching extraordinary results. Leaders already know that inspiration is the new resource to cultivate. In an IBM study, “Leading Through Connections,” 60 percent of CEOs reported the single item they found most critical to their organization’s success was inspirational leadership. Inspired employees perform better, are more strategic and visionary, build more collaborative relationships, and are more determined and persevering. Perhaps most important, they are more agile in responding to ever-present market, industry and organizational dynamics that require leading change and growth. By identifying with the company and why it is important, inspired employees take ownership of driving the organization’s growth and success. Traditionally, engagement is considered the employer’s responsibility. Inspiration differentiates itself in an important way by being a two-way street. On the employer side, the best companies cultivate inspiration as a resource through inspiring environments and leaders and by holding their employees accountable for being inspired by their work. This accountability includes employees bringing their whole selves to work — from their distinctive strengths to their personal values, aspirations and their own search for meaning. Employees drive their own inspiration by crafting and shaping their work and career, helping them realize their calling while driving success and growth toward a cause they believe in, resulting in success for the organization in tandem. The best companies build a corps of inspiring leaders who walk the talk of being inspired in their work

54 Chief Learning Officer • March 2020 • ChiefLearningOfficer.com

and leading successful projects and teams through inspiration. This is beyond what people currently think of as engagement. It is a co-active model where work not just satisfies or motivates or even engages, but rather compels passion, innovation and commitment in the most rewarding ways. This is inspiration.

Inspiration differentiates itself by being a two-way street. The building blocks of inspiration are leaders, teams and cultures. Begin with what lights you up. Notice patterns in what inspires you and start to reactivate the most enlivened behaviors deliberately. Turn to your team to see where they are most inspired. What takes the team to the next level; when are they performing at their best and what makes this possible? Then, zoom out even further and look for where your organization currently is truly inspired. Who are the leaders inspiring those around them? What are the teams that are exceeding expectations? What are the parts of your culture that you know are driving the best results? Next, activate a companywide inspiration strategy. The key to sustaining inspiration once it is sparked is to build a practice around it, to build it into the organization’s culture. It’s helpful that inspiration is contagious — once it takes hold among some individuals in the organization, momentum will build naturally. An inspiration strategy includes alignment to systems, structures and operations that activate and sustain inspiration further. For example, one of our clients implemented companywide meeting effectiveness guidelines that include celebrating progress and wins in every meeting while also formulating plans to address obstacles and challenges. Finally, strategize for the future. Organizationwide inspiration requires a strategic perspective and approach. Turning to inspiration aligns individuals within the organization to see new possibilities in their work and gives them greater courage and confidence to go after them. Don’t settle for engagement — strive for inspiration. The return in next-level results will be extraordinary. CLO


with Kellogg.

According to CLO’s most recent State of the Industry Survey, over 50% of respondents said their top goals for leadership development are growing their succession pipeline and retaining high-potential employees. In today’s highly competitive employment market, Kellogg Executive Education is your best leadership development partner to help meet these goals. We offer more than 45 programs designed to help your highpotential people prepare for leadership roles throughout your organization.

To discuss your firm’s leadership development options, contact an Executive Development Advisor today at 847.467.6018 or ExecEd@kellogg.northwestern.edu

Download a Program Brochure at kell.gg/kxclo


YOU’VE GOT TALENT Bring out the best in it.

Meet Mike Small, CEO – Americas at Sitel Group, one of the world’s leading outsourcing providers of customer experience management. Mike is responsible for all functional aspects of the North America and Nearshore (Latin America) organizations, including HR, Workforce Management, Operations, Finance, Project Management and more.

“At Sitel Group, we are committed to living our values – Be Bold, Work Together, Build Trust and Wow Customers – and to growing talent from within…We give our people the autonomy to stretch, learn and grow, encouraging them to find their voice at every level. By partnering with DeVry University, we enable our people and their families to continue their education. This opportunity helps us to continue building an environment where our talent can truly soar.”

We’re proud that our partnership has helped Mike lead the way for people to bring their best and rise to new heights within the organization.


In New York, DeVry University operates as DeVry College of New York. DeVry University is

accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org. Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. DeVry is certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Arlington Campus: 2450 Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA 22202. DeVry University is authorized for operation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, www.tn.gov/thec. Nashville Campus: 3343 Perimeter Hill Dr., Nashville, TN 37211. Unresolved complaints may be reported to the Illinois Board of Higher Education through the online complaint system http://complaints.ibhe.org/ or by mail to 1 N. Old State Capitol Plaza, Ste. 333, Springfield, IL 62701-1377. Program, course and extended classroom availability vary by location. In site-based programs, students will be required to take a substantial amount of coursework online to complete their program. ©2020 DeVry Educational Development Corp. All rights reserved. 1/20


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Profile for Chief Learning Officer

Chief Learning Officer — March 2020