New business models must mean new work for corporate 'Learning and Development'

"You can't get long term outcomes with short term people." 

Shane Parrish

We can all now see that business models are evolving faster than ever. This means that new capabilities are valuable and differentiating for organisations. Cultures in successful, resilient, and sustainable businesses are now differentiated by:

  • Their 'social structures' - the level of alignment, connections, dialogue and psychological safety 
  • Their 'organisational learning DNA' - the level of commitment to work as continual learning
Which enable them to deal with new complexity, new demands and new dilemmas effectively.

New characteristics are increasingly critical for a business to create new value for its customers:

  • Clarity on the specific customer challenges and opportunities it seeks to uniquely solve
  • Customer 'closeness', context and empathy
  • Embracing uncertainty and ambiguity 
  • Adopting continual learning as a strategy.

These fundamental shifts away from the old industrial model mean we must rethink the role and focus of the traditional corporate 'L&D' function:

To become an indispensable enabler for new ways of leading, connecting and working.

Agreeing this new contribution from the L&D function helps us to re-frame its goals:

  • Enable and accelerate change in the organisation
  • Support and challenge the leadership team to embed learning into the way the organisation thinks and grows
  • Help create the supportive environment needed to accelerate continual learning at all levels of the organisation
  • Help build the new 'social structures' the business needs - to accelerate agency, adaptability and connected problem solving.
These new L&D goals need to be enabled by new L&D strategies:
  • Align around improving team and business performance; (drop the obsession with educating individuals)
  • Coach and enable managers to lead and role model continual learning; (shift the focus away from content creation and information delivery)
  • Facilitate the conditions for continual learning from and through work; (step back from centralised curriculum management)
  • Connect and accelerate our collective knowledge for the benefit of others; (devolve responsibility for continual learning across the entire organisation)
  • Redefine and re-contract our success measures to reflect building the capabilities needed to execute the business model; (over measuring access to content, consumption of content and attendance to events).

Dynamic organisational learning strategy for mid sized companies


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