Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Leaders First...

With 2010 now here and a new decade of opportunity ahead of us... wanted to reflect on an event in 2009 and lessons we can learn to prepare us for the new decade...

While at Elliott Masie's Learning 2009, I sat in an early Sunday session led by Nigel Paine (Former British Broadcasting Corporation CLO) to discuss the attributes of a "Learning Leader." The session had good participation with 30+, as well as guest CLOs, Larry Israelite of Liberty Mutual and Patricia Crull of Time Warner.

We were asked by Nigel to identify what made a great learning leader. A sample of those included the following:

People Skills - Collaboration, Communication, Influence, Questioning

Change Management

Business Knowledge

Executive and Political Savvy

Business Acumen

Technology Friendly - Embracer

Risk Manager

Strategic Visionary

Relationship Manager



What things didn't make it to the list? No one said a learning leader needed Instructional Systems Design (ISD), learning management system (LMS), or human resource background. In fact the point was clearly made by participants that learning leaders have to be leaders first and experts in learning & development second to be successful.

The impact to developing strategic human capital capabilities is significant. If a learning leader doesn't focus on those leadership attributes that enable them to engage customers, partners and stakeholders at a strategic level to understand the business and more importantly to motivate and guide the learning organization with a vision of learning & development's role in business success...then the learning leader is likely to struggle.

So the key take away? If we are going to enable our customer's and partner's success in the future by developing strategic human capital capabilities...we have to be great leaders first...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2010 - Year of Opportunity for Strategic Human Capital Development Consultants

2010 is here! A new year with new opportunities for the development of strategic human capital capabilities that enable business success. For Human Capital Development (HCD) consultants to be successful in 2010, it will require a different approach than what presented itself during the current economic crisis that started in 2008.

During the economic crisis, most human capital consultants were reacting to environmental requirements to cut costs. Only companies like IBM, Cisco and HP were positioned to look strategically at human capital capabilities necessary for competitive advantage in the knowledge economy. In a world where change is constant, only the speed varies, taking a strategic approach to executing business strategy is the real opportunity in 2010.

The leadership of organizations understands the importance of people in their success. The IBM 2008 Global CEO study - The Enterprise of the Future - surveyed CEOs on external forces with the greatest impact on their organizations. People Skills tied for first with 48% of respondents and is the only factor to increase between the 2004, 2006 and 2008 surveys. However, our ability as HCD consultants to define the knowledge, skills and capabilities to execute business strategy is lacking. A 2009 survey by IBM of senior HR executives showed a 48% gap in the importance of defining knowledge, skills and capabilities versus the effectiveness of their teams to do it.

So a key opportunity in 2010 will be strategic HCD consulting. A focus on becoming strategic partners leading to trusted advisor roles that allow us to proactively recommend integrated human capital solutions.

So here's to a great 2010 for our profession.