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Why business transformation starts with the chief learning officer


Photo by Gia Oris on Unsplash

Unleash Your Organization Today’s CLO needs to continuously skill, up-skill, and re-skill their workforce at an incredible pace to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Driving employee performance is not enough – you must drive organizational performance.
  • New trends emerge in learning every day – you must not only keep pace but be a trendsetter yourself.
  • You should not only deliver outcomes but also demonstrate the value they bring to the business. 

Are you a Chief Learning Officer? If so, then you probably have one of the most exciting jobs in the industry today.

While organizations frantically try to come to terms with disruption all around them, the CLO in the enterprise is going to take the center stage. Organizations need to continuously skill, up-skill, and re-skill their workforce at an incredible pace to stay ahead of the curve. Who else can help an organization reach its potential other than its Chief Learning Officer?

Here are 7 ways, you as the CLO can make a difference to your organization:

 1. Align with the Business 

Consider yourself a business leader and not just an enabling leader or support function leader. Align your function in a manner that it can enable the organisation to realise its goals.

Merely driving employee performance and development is not enough. You need to drive organisational performance.

You are not just a strategy enabler. You are a key contributor to ‘strategy making’ and a key strategy accelerator too.

Determine how your training function can improve your organization’s revenues, operating margin, customer satisfaction, employee experience, and productivity.

The question you need to ask is “Is my function solving the pain areas of the business? Is my function enabling my organization to go the next level of maturity?” 

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2. Create a Learning Vision 

You must develop a learning vision for your organisation. This vision should not be merely the vision of the L&D function.

It has to be the vision of the entire organization. In today’s knowledge economy, where human capital is the most valuable asset, no organization can survive without a shared learning vision. Are you game to develop the learning vision of your organization and shape that into reality?

Do you have the dream to build a NextGen future-ready organization? 

3. Hire People with a Growth Mindset 

doondevil via Twenty20

If you have a lofty vision, you need to have brave-hearts to translate the dream into a reality. Hire the best because you have a mammoth task on hand.

You need go-getters and risk-takers. They should be fearless and prepared to take risks. They need to experiment and try out new ideas. You need people who can be effective in the midst of ambiguity and chaos.

In an uncertain business environment, where speed and agility are the critical success factors, you cannot afford to have people who have a fixed mindset and believe that change is not possible.

4. Run the L&D Function like a Start-up 

As the Learning Leader, you need to run your function as a startup.

Startups have lean and agile teams where everyone in the team is free to try out new ideas. Failure is not only accepted here but is often encouraged. Innovation is the hallmark of a good startup.

The L&D function, to succeed has to run like an agile and nimble startup. The team members must be willing to experiment and fail. They should quickly move on to a new idea if an earlier idea fails.

Interesting and new trends are emerging in the L&D space every day. New ways of training design, development and deployment are evolving every now and then. Most of these trends are being powered by technology.

The CLO not only needs to keep pace with the new trends, they should be a trendsetter themselves. 

They should have a strong appetite to adopt new trends, methods and practices.

6. Drive a Mindset Shift 

It is not enough if you are running fast. The organisation needs to keep pace with you as well.

As a NextGen CLO, this is going to be one of your biggest challenges. The leadership team, as well as employees across the organisation, must be equally ready to appreciate and adopt your path-breaking ideas. Your workforce consists of multiple generations.

While one generation may jump at your forward-looking ideas, another generation may be averse to them. You need to muster your energy to drive a paradigm shift in the organization.

7. Deliver and Demonstrate Value 

The last but not the least, your strategy and execution must lead to tangible as well as intangible outcomes for the business.

A clear impact on the top line, bottom line, productivity, customer and employee experience etc. needs to be seen. If your intent and potent do not translate into outcomes, that would pose a serious threat to your function.

You should not only deliver outcomes but also demonstrate the value they bring to the business. 

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