Corporate Learning Week – Day 1 Review

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Corporate Learning Week – Day 1 Review

If you’ve ever put together a virtual conference, you know it’s not as easy as it looks. In fact, most of the time, you focus on outlining the mission critical items; what are the topics your event needs to cover and then trying figure out who the right speakers are to help share those topics with the masses. Then there’s sponsorship, scheduling tech trainings and/or dry runs, the marketing campaign and so on.

One thing you don’t typically focus on… at least not in any massive way… is the titling of the conference. I confess to you now, this is not always an easy proposition for me. Okay – it’s never an easy proposition. I have many strengths, but titling conferences and coming up with taglines has never been one with which I can claim any real success.

Not only that, but a conference must clearly state the selling proposition and it must be presented in a way that quickly summarizes the benefits of the conference offered to prospective participants like you.

And as I’ve already eluded to, finding the right title for this virtual conference was especially tough.

After much discussion with the Corporate Learning Network team, we decided on "Lessons from America's Best-Run L&D Organizations."

Corporate Learning Week 2021

Building the Conference

Unquestionably, the conference presents many valuable lessons & shares actual experiences relating to what THE BEST are doing to train, skill, re- skill & upskill knowledge workers of all kinds… but the conference also provides L&D leaders with meaningful perspectives, such as management development and leadership content front-line executives need now to manage a potentially turbulent economy.

Executives charged with the awesome responsibility of achieving extraordinary responsiveness to today's rapidly arriving, highly disruptive future must familiarize themselves with the importance of Change Leadership and what's required to produce and manage purposeful innovation.

Corporate Learning Week 2021, or CLW as we refer to it in all of our Zoom meetings, is three full days of content lined up to help learning professionals and leaders like you find your path forward in a turbulent year.

Day One

Lessons Learned

Day One of CLW went off without a hitch on March 9th.

NOTE:  Corporate Learning Week 2021 runs on Tuesdays during the month of March with days two, three and four happening on March 16, 23 and 30).

We had four amazing speakers scheduled for Day One and none of them left the audience disappointed. Here are four of the big lessons I took away from the first day of the virtual event.

Strategy Maps

We start with Catherine Curtis. She’s the Director of Global Technical Learning for Microsoft. She is also a founding member of the Corporate Learning Network’s Advisory Board. Her session was entitled – Using Strategy Maps to Align Training With New Corporate Goals:  Filling The Gap Between Future Needs & Present Competencies.

For me, one of the biggest lessons came at the end of the presentation during the Q&A portion of the session.

When you think of a map, just a regular plain, old map, you imagine a starting point with directions that get you to an end point. A strategy map is no different really. But unlike an actual map, strategy sometimes has to change. It’s not always a clear A-to-B approach.

That’s the question that was posed to Mrs. Curtis, in these challenging times (the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new U.S. administration, an unpredictable economy, etc…) are strategy maps flexible enough to be changed mid-course. Translation:  are strategy maps agile?

According to Curtis – absolutely. And they have to be because, at any moment, an end goal can change for an organization. Of course, with COVID still very much impacting the life of an organization, agility is one of the greatest lines of defense a business can have in survival.

An agile strategy map also allows leaders to make swift changes to account for changes in the environment which are happening at nearly breakneck speed. The real challenge for business right now, especially on the learning front, is making sure the team can stay ahead of the changes… or at least prepare for predictable eventualities.

Key Ingredients to Creating Extraordinary Leaders

Our second presenter of the day was Darren Gold. He’s a managing partner at The Trium Group.

Much of Mr. Gold’s session focused on what he refers to as the “secret sauce that separates average leaders from extraordinary leaders who are more influential, inspirational and ultimately deliver better results.” He articulated one of those points by telling a story about shoes.

Basically speaking, two employees from two different companies go to another country exploring whether or not they can expand their business in that particular region of the world.

Upon arrival, the two representatives see the majority of residents aren’t wearing shoes. One representative reports back to his organization that there is no business opportunity in the country as most people aren’t wearing shoes. The other reports to his leaders he needs more product sent immediately because people don’t have footwear available to them.

The lesson here is that an extraordinary leader will see opportunities which are not immediately noticeable on the surface. But with that sight, the leader can peel back the layers to reveal awesome opportunities for the company and its employees to prosper. That is also readily applicable to learning strategies with the organization.

Transforming Adversity into Opportunity

Dr. Jeremy Hunter is the Founding Director and an Associate Professor of Practice at the Executive Mind Leadership Institute at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Hunter led our third session of the day, a workshop focused on self-management.

One of the very first things he shared was a quote from Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

It’s very easy to understand the application of that quote today. That’s not the lesson, however. From here, Doctor Hunter explained that in many circumstances… adversity changes us and has a resounding impact on how we manage our inner-selves. In fact, the impact can be positively or negatively profound.

For instance, imagine an item or a person that infuriates you the moment you see it or the person’s name or hear their voice. It’s that infuriation which fuels your reaction. Often times, you react negatively as a result.

But imagine if you could find a way to channel that into positive energy.

Dr. Hunter told a story of a woman who was sitting in a boardroom listening to a conversation with one of her most important clients. Another person said something that infuriated much of the room, including the person’s client. While she, herself, was also upset… she knew if her client walked out of the room, which it appeared as though that was about to happen, her career would go with him.

Instead of reacting like the rest of the room, she simply put her hands, palm down, on the table in front of her. The table offered her something sold; something which would help her feel grounded. As a result, she was able to manage her anger. Doing so allowed her to save the day and her client thus protecting her career.

Digital-Led Learning

Our final presentation of the day was led by Detlef Hold. Mr. Hold is the Head of Digital Learning at Genentech – a member of the Roche Group. He is also a founding member of the Corporate Learning Network’s Advisory Board.

His presentation was entitled “Enabling Transformation Through Digital-Led Learning.”

The most significant lesson learned from his presentation is the following quote.

Hold couldn’t be clearer or to the point and, in fact, that sums up the reality of our situation within learning and development right now. Learning leaders AND learners must work together successfully. Without it, don’t expect nearly as much success.

That’s a hard statement to hear, but it’s true.

You and your business can succeed without additional learning, whatever that learning may be, but the rate of success increases when learning opportunities are available to teams and the learning is successfully inputted and applied daily and consistently in the future.

Day Two Ahead

What was covered above constitutes only one day of learning during CLW. We have two more days ahead. If you have not registered, you can do so here.

But our event goes even further.

We’ve added a fourth day.

At our Drucker Master Class Day, which is March 30, we will present a four step approach… which includes… abandonment of the unproductive and the obsolete… Strategies for achieving continuous productivity improvement of all assets… Identifying & capitalizing on successes (sometimes successes which are initially unseen)… and a structured approach for making effective change happen… otherwise knowns as is Innovation.

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