This year’s Fall 2008 CLO Symposium kicked off with a keynote from Ed Cohen, senior vice president and chief learning officer at Satyam Computer Services Ltd. At Satyam, learning is about hearing and integrating voices — the voices of leaders, customers, associates and society. Cohen finds that it’s critical for those in learning to know what each these groups wants and expects from the organization, and then learning can deliver on that.!@!
As an example, new leaders were asked to create a commercial that depicted a key leadership issue. In one commercial, a group of leaders started climbing a mountain, but inevitably each participant fell down. Learning from this lesson, they planned, collaborated and then helped each other climb to the top. The key takeaway was that collaboration and teamwork needed to be further developed at Satyam, a concrete goal that could then be transferred to learning.
In the next keynote, John E. Rooney, president and chief executive officer at U.S. Cellular, spoke about delivering the Dynamic Organization. The model starts with effective leadership, which creates greater associate satisfaction, which in turn creates greater customer satisfaction and ultimately leads to better business results. As a result, it’s crucial that leaders lead through inspiration rather than by fear, and if they don’t adapt, they no longer have a place at U.S. Cellular.
The Symposium ended with a keynote from Jayne Johnson, director of leadership development with General Electric Global Learning. GE has always been pointed to as the ultimate example of a successful business, and the company’s education center, Crotonville, has always held a bit of mystique for learning leaders.
But Johnson opened the doors to GE learning. The organization’s Leadership 2010 program began with a key question: “Are we really world class?” To answer this question, the organization collected data, analyzed that data, designed around that information and ultimately launched a pilot. What GE found was that it was not being as effective as it could be. As a result, GE made some changes which included audience segmentation, new design strategies for Gen X and Gen Y, updated content for 21st century competencies and developing a global team design.
Johnson’s advice to others who may not have the training budget that GE does: focus on the one or two most important business needs, rally the leadership around those goals and utilize your subject matter experts.
So I ask: What can you then learn from the stories of these three organizations?