Great Strategists Rock my World

I’ve been thinking on this topic off and on for some time trying to figure out how to write such a post and not seem like a complete butt kisser*. I have since realized that I’m cool with kissing butt when it’s called for, so I took that constraint off and wrote the post anyway.

As luck would have it, I’m in a very fortunate situation having an awesome strategist to work with. I seem to be very lucky in this regard in that this is not the first time this has happened. I consider a strong, smart strategist the most important thing to be successful in a development role. Why? Well quite simply, you can never build every cool idea you have. Being able to find the right set of priorities separates the men from the boys (as it were). 

The single most important thing [for me], in a strategist is when they “call it.” When they see around the corner where I cannot and help convince me which way to go. The bigger the idea, the more foresight, the better. Being able to get to market with something that is innovative is a huge rush for us nerds. 

I have mentioned before that I’m not really an innovator myself, I’m a problem solver. Being pointed in the direction of the right problems is critical when this is your weakness. 

The question is, how do you find such a person? That’s tricky since you have to be able to trust someone who knows things you don’t. Looking into their past track record is useful but finding someone you respect is paramount. 

So here’s to all the great strategists out there — you really do rock my world. For the combination of a great development team and an insightful strategist is really unstoppable.

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*My attempt to use non-offensive language has taken me to unchartered territory, as those of you who know me will attest. That said, I’ve recently learned that my 3-year-old can spell the word b-u-t-t (thanks to her sister) so it has re-entered my vocabulary this week, if only to say “we don’t need to talk like that.”

 

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.

Kids These Days

There has been a lot of talk in the industry about Millennials and how they impact a talent strategy. Given the age demographic (newly joining the workforce), it is natural that the segment that has been giving this the most attention is the Recruiting process. Most recruiters today are actively taking advantage of new technologies and social norms to increase their access to a larger (and hopefully more qualified) candidate pool. This is all goodness.

Today, I’d like to suggest that there is another, equally important part of the talent “wheel” that really must stand up and take notice. This is the Learning group. As some of you probably know, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. But like anything that you are close to, I have also been guilty of wanting the answer to be in providing more methods of delivery vs. really needing to re-think the whole business strategy. I am now convinced that starting with the “delivery will save us” premise, is a recipe to being totally irrelevant within your HR Business strategy in the next 5-10 years.

Watching this video about university learning is a good start to understanding what is different today in how people learn. I personally believe that this is not just a GenY issue. Even our news channels, which have an over-30 demographic, feel the need to provide an increasingly large volume of content at a more rapid pace. The world is expecting information faster. Sure, younger generations are quicker to adapt to this kind of change, but that does not mean that it is only the under-30 crowd that is expecting more today than they have in the past.

How people “learn” and how they are “trained” are often not well aligned in most organizations today. I believe this problem is growing and that we need to start to think about this in the context of a “Learning strategy” vs. just a Millennial problem. To that end, I’ve decided to try and articulate what I think is needed for an impactful Learning strategy. I’m sure I’ve missed some things, so please feel free to sound off in the comments with additional ideas.

Meg’s suggestions for a Next-Generation Learning strategy

  • Organizational Development and Training organizations need a tighter alignment than the loose “competency gap” relationship they have today. Companies need to be able to drive the need for learning to individuals based on a wide-variety of “triggers.” Competencies are certainly one, but what about things like missed objectives, long-term career plans, poor customer satisfaction surveys, or even manager or individual observations?
  • Learning groups need to be comfortable expanding their influence and taking an active role in the dreaded worlds of knowledge management, informal land experiential learning. To do this, we must realize that we need a seamless transition for people between formal and informal learning. Not everything is going to be managed by the catalog and not everything can have the same level of formal monitoring as compliance training. 
  • Take advantage of “wisdom of the crowds” and avoid the tendency to have everything centrally managed. Tier your programs so that you can get comfortable with the volume of information that is going to naturally come along with the idea of opening up to the unwashed masses. Don’t run away from these concepts just because they are complex. 
  • Recognize that key learning today is not just coming from static channels, it is also coming from people. Having a better understanding about what human assets you have that can help your organization learning is key. Who knows what and who is willing to share what they know is going to be one of the key elements to understand. 
  • Begin to think about incentive and tracking programs for learning. What is mission critical for your business? What learning is needed to make that happen? How do you drive that learning to the individuals? How do you help individuals get real value from your learning programs so that they continue to participate?  Understanding individual incentives is key.
  • Be open to the idea that the learning department will turn into a facilitator of learning vs. the source of learning in the organization. 

It is my prediction that learning departments will either embrace this new world and find their place in it, or they will become a third appendage with only compliance as their real value proposition. 

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.