As you may know, over the past several months, we have rolled out our Chief Learning Officer e-seminar series. We didn’t do it alone, of course. We collaborated with several friends and colleagues, relying upon their areas of expertise to put together programs that fit your needs. We set out to create content that would provide readers attending our seminars with some valuable information and knowledge—information that would help them do their jobs, boost productivity, work wiser and increase efficiency.
In the spirit of collaboration, we brought our ideas to the table, and we shared them with our partners, as they did with us. We revised, we refined, we worked together, and in the end, we succeeded.
Nearly 700 of you registered for our “Assessing Learning Management Systems” program in February. The attendees listened to some great presentations by Oracle’s Chris Pirie, MindLeaders’ Lance Roshon and Howard Schechter of ETS/financialcampus. Audience interaction pushed the program well beyond our allotted one-hour period.
They came, they listened, they learned.
I’m not bringing all this up to ring bells, toot horns or whatever other self-serving cliché you might insert. Yes, we have another free e-seminar on April 2. Yes, you can find details at www.clomedia.com/eseminars. Yes, you’re certainly invited. But I’m just turning inward for an example of what you already know: Like a fine orchestra, things work best when they work in concert.
Assuming you’re sold on the basic premise, now you’ve got to face your next issue: promoting collaboration in the enterprise. In our example it was easy—we collaborated with like-minded experts to spread a shared message we all believed in. Your case will no doubt be a bit different, depending on the scope of your mission and how much buy-in is already in place. How do you promote that spirit? That’s a question that can only be answered in specifics by you, but it starts with you having an answer for the inevitable “what’s in it for me” question. (The promise of a brighter future still works, and at all levels.)
To bolster my thoughts, I did what every executive does when faced with a business issue: I sought out an expert resource. In this case, it was an article from Education Week, a newspaper focusing on K-12 issues. (A much different market, of course, but good advice is like good education—if the basic message is solid, it can be applied anywhere.) In an article titled “From Compliance to Collaboration,” Northeastern University educator Tony Wagner put the burden for building the spirit and practice on the shoulders of leadership. Leaders, he said, frame problems in ways that encourage adult learning, they ask questions rather than offer answers, they encourage risk-takers and—this may be the big one—they model new behaviors. These steps sound simple, but put into practice they will enliven your efforts.
So once again, it comes back to you. Opportunities for education and development don’t just happen, you create them. Associates don’t just take training, you make sure the lesson is applied. Increased productivity isn’t a curious byproduct, it’s your mission accomplished.
Let me tell you the tale of collaboration. It starts with an idea, becomes a mission, gets refined into gold, is shaped to draw attention and eventually pays off brilliantly. It’s a team-driven effort that yields lasting rewards.
So, what are you collaborating on?
Editor in Chief