Monday morning. Margaret Wheatley led an early-bird session on "Turning to One Another," suggesting we ask ourselves what we need to be for the world. Lots of people come to a conference like this to find time to pause, to reflect, and to heal. (We used to come for new ideas but you hardly need come to a conference for those.)
Take time for reflection.
Are you turning toward or turning away? Fear, anxiety, and conflict can lead one to focus on the negative and withdraw.
In meetings, listen for views that are different from yours. (Don't be argumentative, starting counter-arguments in your head.) Acceptance is relaxing.
In a South African classroom, at the end of the day, they reflect on what they have learned. At the end of the week, they do the same. Ditto at the end of the month. Meg asked the teacher where the practice originated. He did not understand. That is just the way you do things.
Take time for relationships.
Think of leaders not as commanders so much as hosts. Start where the energy is. It only takes a few people to make things happen.
Unfortunately I fell fast asleep for the last half of Meg's talk, in spite of sitting in the front row.
Tina Sung outlined ASTD's priorities going forward:
1. Link learning to business objectives.
2. Be a performance consultant, not a mere trainer.
3. eLearning continues to grow.
4. Leadership development and executive coaching are hot.
5. Pro diversity, not just oversees, but also using Gardner's multiple intelligences.
Major initiatives are:
1. Go international.
2. Focus on ROI. (For some reason, ROI is a specialty; I thought it was something everyone needed to embrace.
3. Competency. = credentials. Certificate programs. (Done with DDI.)
4. Best Practices awards.
Pat Crull, incoming president, heads up trainiing for ToysRUs
eLearning is becoming a profession of specialties: designers, programmers, authors, and more. I asked what ASTD was doing to attract these constituencies. Learning Circuits and Interest Groups. I suggested they consider changing the content of shows like this one.
On the Expo floor, I met up with Joe Flynn. Joe is the former General Manager of the eLearning and Telecom Group at Advanstar. He's the guy who negotiated Advanstar's purchase of TechLearn from Elliott Masie. Now Joe is CEO & Chairman of PeopleView, which provides real-time decision support for human capital management. Each application includes an interactive diagnostic and reporting tool that identifies and ranks opportunity for improvement in the workforce and link these to custom developed change management action plans.
Bill Lee notes that corporations are downsizing and outsourcing during the recession. He thinks the attractiveness of outsourcing (buy service when you need it) will make this a hard habit to break.
One of Bill's clients found that 64% of their people will be eligible for retirement in two years. The baby boom bulge has made it almost to the end of the population snake. Wise companies are instituting coaching and mentoring programs to transfer knowledge from the old generation to the new.
Karl Krayer sees the downside of eliminating command and control: confusion over team roles, relationships, and expectations. More than ever, every program must begin with objectives.
Click2Learn's Ashwami Sirohi and I spent the better part of the evening at a fabulous seafood place on Fifth Avenue talking about the learning industry, enterprise computing, and software packages. He foresees an eLearning world dominated by suites which bundle together an LMS, LCMS, virtual classroom, and performance management. That's a sound approach so long as we are plagued by a lack of interoperability, what I call "Plug and Blame."
In the publishing world, CLO magazine is becoming a monthly. Learning and Training (née eLearning) goes from monthly to every other month.
The official headcount at ASTD is 8,000. Last year's show in New Orleans drew 9,000. Given the continuing recession and the SARS epidemic, this is a good turnout.
Lance Dublin and I gave a 90-minute presentation to around 150 people this morning. At least 30 of these left when the sound system went bonkers, filling the room with white noise too loud to shout over.
Ken Blanchard hosted a luncheon for members of the press. In the old days, training was as much entertainment as results. Now results are what counts. In Ken?s world, this takes Raving Fan customers, Gung-Ho people, and being the investment of choice. Employees are ducks (bad) or eagles (good).
Ken told the story of showing up at the airport without any i.d. He ran into the bookstore and bought a copy of his book that features a picture of Ken with coach Don Shula. At security, the Southwest Airlines people not only accepted the book as identification but shouted out, "This guy knows Don Shula! Get him a seat in First Class." Southwest has no first class but it does have fun-loving employees.
Another airline's security people were ducks not eagles. Their response to the book as i.d. met with "Quack, quack, quack, not in the regulations, quack, quack, call my supervisor" and four handoffs before Ken could board the plane.
Ken's advice: Treat your people as important and you'll kill the competition.
This is a "virtuous circle," i.e. the process is self-reinforcing. I told Ken's tale to the Southwest employee who checked me in. She smiled and said "Just look at our uniforms." If you've flown on Southwest, you're aware that employees wear shorts, t-shirts, and pretty much whatever they feel like.
Tina shared a new meme that has a certain ring to it: Knowledge Productivity.
Look at those ribbons! A veteran of many ASTD campaigns.
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