Eight ways to become indispensableby
Nigel Paine tells us the key to remaining relevant and vital in today's busy marketplace.
1. Strategy is key
The Ford Motor Company once had a snappy slogan: ‘Everything we do is driven by you.’ You should make sure that everything you do is driven by the overall organisational strategy and its key drivers (to retain the motoring theme!) In other words, the learning strategy is simply the contribution that learning will make to delivering the company strategy. CEOs will notice that.
2. Engender learning not courses
You want learning everywhere. Informal and formal. Your job is to encourage and support that, but probably not control it. Your job is to establish the framework, offer support and encouragement but not prohibit, ignore or over-regulate. Give permission for learning to occur across the whole workplace.
3. Celebrate success
Draw attention to what works. Give endorsement to those who share their knowledge willingly, recognise and emulate good practice. This will draw attention to the impact of learning. You are about impact and not process.
4. Banish tedious and meaningless stats from your vocabulary
Who cares what percentage increase in learning hours you achieved, or how many courses you delivered. Focus on what happened as a result. What the organisation can do now that it couldn’t before, and what innovation emerged from that focus on learning.
5. Become a learner yourself
Find out what is going on and learn from your learners. You are the expert and can offer in-depth insight and knowledge, but do that to make things better not to block learning innovation that does not meet arbitrary criteria that you established a long while ago
6. Get the CEO involved in learning
Ask that person to coach and mentor, help them value learning in your company. And when you have an award to make, the CEO is by far the best person to make the presentation and meet the successful candidates.
7. Let this be everyone else’s success!
You are enabling things to happen for other people. You neither have to control everything nor take all the credit. If everyone round the Boardroom table has a great story to tell about how learning helped them achieve their goals, your task is almost done. So you are a ‘we’ person not an ‘I’ figure.
8. Bi-annual summaries
Try to sum up the overall impact these initiatives have made once or twice a year. Share the journey you have taken together and what the investment in time and effort has delivered.
The chances are that if you follow the logic contained in those eight suggestions, the CEO will come running to you not the other way round.
Nigel Paine has been involved in corporate learning for over twenty years. He has produced learning software, CD Roms and multimedia materials, and offered development and support to companies large and small.
Appointed in April 2002 to head up the BBC’s Learning and Development operation, he developed a brand-new on-boarding...