What will L&D need the most help with to be successful over the next 10 years?

December 28, 2015

I recently had to answer a question for a presentation: “What will L&D need the most help with to be successful over the next 10 years?”

I came up with six areas:

    • L&D needs to get “unstuck.” There are many, many smart L&D people who (I think) know the way they’re working today isn’t going to hold 10 years from now but can’t move to the next level. They’re stuck. There’s a MUST READ Fast Company article, Why We Hate HR, that I highly recommend which touches on this. It’s an incendiary article. Be warned. Within it, you’ll see a reference to “educated incapacity.” The original phrase, “trained incapacity,” comes from the economist Thorstein Veblen. Basically, “training does come at some costs by narrowing the perspectives of the individuals concerned.” You must read The Expert and Educated Incapacity.
    • L&D needs to refocus. I read a terrific article by Con Gottfredson, Now’s the Time for Performance Support, about “reconceiving learning to influence the primary purpose of the organization: to perform effectively and efficiently.” Although the article was written nearly three years ago, I think it’s sends an important message about focusing on L&D’s role is in the organization.
    • L&D needs to improve the way learning is measured and linked to business performance. I’m not sure L&D does a great job measuring learning outcomes and linking metrics to business performance. This has been a recurring problem for years. I’ll bet at least half of organization don’t do or don’t know how to do this well.
    • L&D needs to analyze and use data to improve performance. Invest in tools and people who can analyze data and use it to improve performance. Data! It’s everywhere.
    • L&D needs to deal with disruption. Does it seem to you that there is a narrow point of view about the future and how organizations (and their jobs) are going to change? If you’re only reading content from people who work in L&D, expand your reading.
    • L&D needs to develop business acumen. For the most part, I think L&D is ill-equipped to help make the business effective and successful. There’s a great need to get equipped to do business…you work in a business! Here’s some great reading on that TWO VITAL STEPS FOR FIXING YOUR EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT PROBLEM.

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