What’s the future of leadership look like? Five leaders in the field of business workforce training and development shared their perspectives at a session at the 2014 ASTD conference yesterday (and just renamed itself the Association for Talent Development). In the conversation, Debbie Blanchard (Ken Blanchard Companies), James Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick Partners), Halley Bock (Fierce, Inc.) and Tacy Byham (Development Dimensions International) discussed their experiences and observations as consultants who work with companies around the world. The session was presented in a question-and-answer format, but I’ve synthesized and distilled their responses to highlight key ideas.
1. Leadership is not a “soft skill”; it is an intentional practice to improve organizational performance and profitability. You cannot thrust people into leadership to see if they can swim, instead it has to be initiated, conducted, and practiced intentionally.
2. Leadership has moved from a hierarchical, single command-and-control structure to Continue reading →
Jack Phillips (right) discussing ROI at ASTD 2014.
Foundations and donors are increasingly questioning the impact of their funds at museums and historic sites, a trend that’s growing as well in business according to Jack Phillips and James Kirkpatrick at a session at the ASTD conference yesterday. After the recent recession, they’ve found that CEOs are increasingly asking about the return on investment (ROI) of every program and activity, including employee training and education. Although training claims to be an essential contributor to business productivity and performance, it hasn’t been adequately measured or evaluated, and thus can’t prove their value. That surprised me because I thought that was a struggle only for museums and historic sites. We seem to be continually fighting to prove our worth and other than economic impact, haven’t been able to show why we matter in our communities. It looks like we’re not alone.
Phillips and Kirkpatrick are the leaders in the field of measuring performance in business and developed frameworks that “define the levels at which programs are evaluated and how data are captured at different times from different sources.” Although they disagree on whether the framework should have four or five levels, they both agree that Continue reading →