Category Archives: Talent

Future of Talent Weekend — Join me?

firepit

Gather talent executives from two dozen Fortune 500’s for a long weekend of conversations about what matters most. Meet in an inspirational spot on the Northern California coast.  trends

What do people talk about? The future, mainly. We talk through the trends that are likely to persist. Kevin Wheeler‘s annual forecast lights the fire. Back and forth discussion draws everyone in. why

Kevin started Future of Talent ten years ago, and I’ve attended every one! This one weekend per year has profoundly shaped how I think about learning, talent, and the future of HR.

Late September’s session has a few more openings.

Call me if you’d like to know more. Disclaimer: Kevin is a personal friend, but I’m not on commission. I promote this event because I’m a true believer.

Three days a year helps keep sharp people sharp. Not a bad deal.

 

 

 

 

 

ASTD no more

The American Society for Training and Development has ceased to exist. Now it’s the Association for Talent Development. I have mixed feelings about this.

atd                 Tony Bingham announces name change in Washington, May 6, 2014.

This is hardly the first time this professional association has taken on a new name. In 1947, it came to life as the American Society of Training Directors. That left out lower-level trainers so development replaced directors in a name change and the doors were opened to everyone in the training business.

That change was a good move. Trainers flocked to the organization. They learned stand-up skills and how to conduct a needs analysis. Vendors of packaged training courses filled ASTD’s exhibit halls. Members of the Instructional Systems Association, a group of business owners, wryly called ASTD “the union.”

About ten years ago, the association felt the need to switch monikers once more. Shouldn’t the club be international? Was training really the primary focus? The Board enlisted the help of identity consultants and branding experts and eventually decided on a new name: ASTD. Just initials that didn’t stand for anything.

Naturally, the name changed flopped. People would refer to ASTD, the American Society for Training and Development. 

A couple of years ago, pressure began to build again. Every business you could name was going global. This “America” label was confining. Worse still was the word training. Say training to managers and they think school, teachers, classrooms, and courses. Professionals know that schooling is not the ideal way to help people learn. True learning is experiential, social, incremental, and engaging — the opposite of typical training. Training is generally a backwater in the HR department, and HR is hardly the brightest constellation in the corporate firmament.

Executives say people are their most important asset but pay scant attention to training because they know in their hearts that school-style training doesn’t work very well and they aren’t aware of the modern alternatives to help people learn. It’s wise for ASTD to drop training from its name.

Which brings us to talent. Talent has been a management hot button since McKinsey first scared executives with the notion of talent shortages and the ensuing war for talent. The problem is that there’s not enough to go around.

In this sense, we’re talking about people, the way that the entertainment industry refers to performers as talent. When you’re faced with a shortage of, say, engineers, you put recruiting into high gear. Look at the talent management function in most corporations, and you’ll find lot of recruiters, some people concerned with retention, and not a whole lot of emphasis on developing the people who are on board. You won’t find any trainers.

For ten years, I’ve been on the Faculty of the Future of Talent Institute, a colloquium of talent managers from forward-thinking corporations. I’m the token training guy. The attendees take the need for corporate learning very seriously; it’s just not part of their jobs.

All of which brings me back to the Association for Talent Development. One would expect the membership to be talent developers. But are there any talent developers??? I’ve never seen that designation on a business card. Do trainers need to rebrand themselves?

 

And who’s talent and who’s not? Does talent encompass senior management? Or is it like show biz, where performers are talent but producers and directors, no matter how talented, are not? 

The extended enterprise is the organizational form of the future. Because the highest returns come from doing what you’re good at, major corporations will be shrinking to their core expertise. All other activities will be outsourced to partners, specialty firms, suppliers, contractors, and temps. Are these people talent? In an increasingly complex world, an organization would not want to deny them the opportunity to learn along with the core group.

I’ll go out on a limb here. I’ve been in business long enough to see the demise of everything from the typewriter to the minicomputer. I suspect that talent is jargon that will go out of favor when a more apt term comes along. I give it five years. 

In the meanwhile I offer best wishes to the Association for Talent Development.

atd logo

 

 

Future of Talent

A few notes from the Future of Talent Institute‘s 2013 retreat at Marconi Center.

Serendipity powers pull.

The culture question: recruit people to preserve it or to change it?

Bring coyotes (disrupters) to meetings.

“Just let me do good work,” says the new generation.

Meet without a goal. Just listen.

Robotics is not about replacing humans; it’s about picking the right apps to augment humans.

Innovation is the Holy Grail.

Google criteria for hiring: 1. passion for the work, 2. demonstrated ability to do things, 3. eager to learn and able to unlearn

Big data: where the Google criteria came from.

Crumbling hierarchies.

Concept of employee is in question.

New org structures: pods, holocracy, agile, teams à la Hollywood.

The net is your resume. Your network is your references.

Read: Race Against the Machine (McAfee)

Demographics don’t matter at the edges of the extended enterprise. Why should they matter in the core?

Future of Talent is one of my top professional development activities year after year. If you’re into big picture HR, consider joining us next year.