Sunday, June 3, 2007

New Learning Leaders: Your First 60 Days

Today I attend an ASTD session by Jeff Lucas and Tracy Cox (Raytheon) on what they learned about the priorities for New Learning Leaders. They did a survey of learning leaders, subordinates of learning leaders, as well as a few CEOs and other types of related positions across a broad range of business types. Here is what they found:

The type of positions that were cited as the best for developing one for the role of learning leader are Human Resources and Program Management.

Individuals early in their career should seek to develop knowledge and skills in the area of knowing the business first, then focus on building your relationship management skills, seeking out leadership opportunities, and insuring you have high skills in learning acumen.

Individuals in mid-career or later, should seek to focus more on building strong relationships and managing their social networks. Business acumen, leadership development, and skills in learning acumen are also important, but relationship development is more critical at this stage in your career.

Once you become a learning leader, the most important competencies according to their survey are:

    1. Strategic and visionary thinking 62%
    2. Relationship management 41%
    3. Influential communication 36%
    4. Performance results 34%
    5. Learning acumen 33%
    6. Business acumen 30%
Another way to describing success would be how would it look if you are an effective learning leader. The survey indicated that the following would be true:
  • There would be measurable business impact
  • Learning would support and have a strong relationship to business goals
  • The organization would have a learning oriented culture
  • People would be developed
One of their favorite quotes was “When their vision is shared throughout the organization, and their value is realized, not calculated.” I personally like this. The idea of people in your organization just believing that training is making impact.. wow!

The presenter offered several recommendations.. but two stick out above all the rest. Not that they all were not important, but maybe these two mean more to me personally:

  • Make sure you know the business your in. Know what everyone in the business is trying to do, what their mission is, what they business goals are, who are the key leaders in the organization, who are your main clients... etc. The more know about everything in the business, the easier it will be to align your learning system to strategic business goals.
  • Be intentional about your social network. Build a network of leaders who can advise, support and encourage you. I have mentioned it before months ago that I have what amounts to a Personal Board of Directors.. a social system of key leaders who help me with tough decisions and ensure I stay honest.. :)
They shared other important recommendations from their history of working with rising learning leaders, but it is late and time for bed. I have more to share on today at ASTD.. maybe I will post something early in the morning.. till then, good night.

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