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Another great article from Sukh. Very practical: 5 concrete tips:
1) Be good (not great) trainers
2) Be consultative about the organization
3) Interact with the organization’s leaders
4) Be aware of the public image of the organization
5) Read business related material.

Thinking About Learning

So you know how we hear lot’s in the profession about being more business minded to give ourselves value? Well, I’m onboard with that as a concept and as an ideal. It helps me to understand there are things I can and should be doing which will help me to be better at the job I do. If I choose to.

But what does it mean to be more business minded? How do you get more commercial acumen? How do you gain business acumen? As an L&Der, does this stuff actually make a difference to the job we do?

Well, it can make a big difference. It’s what sets ‘trainers’ apart from ‘L&D professionals’. To my mind, there’s a role for both in organisations.

We need trainers. That is people who are proficient (or even possible expert) in a particular skill set, and can help others learn that skill set…

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I was approached last week by a student from one of the professional universities in the Hague looking for information. She and her fellow students were preparing a fictitious case regarding a merger between KLM, Air France and JAL. Her task was to examine training possibilities to insure that the merger addressed cultural differences.

Coincidentally, I had a meeting planned for the next day, and one of the people planning to be there was formerly one of the directors of KLM during the actual merger with Air France a few years ago. One of his responsibilities during this time was defining training for cabin personnel in dealing with the cultural changes during the merger. A perfect match, in other words. I invited her to join the meeting.

The meeting went very well. The student, Marieke Harderwijk, was very professional and adhered perfectly to our agreed-upon protocol. Later in the day I received the following email from her:

Dear Mr. Salazar,

To begin with, I would like to thank you from my heart that I was able to be a part of the meeting today.

Secondly, I marvel over the fact that you, whom by all appearances seem to me to be a very modest and self-effacing man, have an enormous amount of knowledge and experience. You gave me, a simple student, just like that the chance to attend a very important meeting, sight unseen. There are few people on this earth who would have done that for someone.

I find it especially inspiring how you use your knowledge and experience also in daily life to make the world a better place, such as your project you mentioned between the church and mosque.

Thank you so much!

With warm regards,

Marieke Harderwijk

Even though one doesn’t necessarily help others for extrinsic rewards, this email was certainly a reward for me. I was surprised, and humbled, to have received it. The following Monday was Martin Luther King Day in the US, and his quote sums up my feelings,

“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Every person must decide, at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ’What are you doing for others?’”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 11, 1957

I thank YOU, Marieke. From my heart.

Resolve cultural conflict? Smooth things over? Why? This is a waste of potential creative power. By using the energy inherent in cultural conflict, it is possible to leverage the differences for added value.

The model, based on the research of Prof. Joseph DiStefano and Prof. Martha Maznevski, both of IMD. A summary of this research can be found here  https://srleosalazar.wordpress.com/resources-and-links/ as well as on the IMD site: http://www.ft.com/businesseducation/imd

This video is about the “learning of the future.” To be honest, I hope not. I mean, it’s a nice use of technology, but it seems a shame that these kids are with each other in classroom in one of the most beautiful natural environments on earth, yet so little was said about interaction with that environment (IRL*, not with VR* goggles) and collaboration with each other. (YouTube http://youtu.be/SkDIklQbols?a).

It took them until 3:27 to use the word “collaboration,” or anything like it, and then it disappeared. What about teamwork? What about working with each other. This video is a nice ad for Apple, and the graphics from Blue Mars are gorgeous, but I’d rather hear more about how the tool actually does help them prepare for the future.

________

* IRL = In Real Life. In other words: face to face.
* VR = Virtual Reality. In other words: not.

This http://nyti.ms/9a8r1I is an article that looks at the new “hybrid leader.” Aspects of leaders that combine old and new, hard and soft, formal and informal, etc. Leaders such as Barack Obama, Carlos Ghosn (Nissan-Renault) and Indra Nooyi (CEO PepsiCo) are embodiments of this new “emergent” style of leader. The qualities named of these new leaders are:

  • Listen zealously
  • Seek the universal
  • Vary your cadences
  • Be radically pragmatic
  • Know your truths
  • Think both/and

All good advice, and also good qualities of anyone operating in intercultural environments.

What bothers me about this article is focusing solely on “bi-cultural” people, to use a phrase popularized for a time at De Baak, as foremost examples of this new leader. There doesn’t seem to be much room for someone to become this type of leader – you’re either born into it or you’re not.

I hope that young, aspiring leaders see this article, and the many others like it that are out there, as a model to strive for, despite its implications. That they realize that one can also develop oneself to change and adapt, whether or not one has the natural-born ethnic cred or not.

Certainly this is the only way to develop society, to hope that we can enlighten each other and change towards an ideal.

This is an outstanding video “Learning to Change, Changing to Learn.” It opens with a shocking statement, “The US Department of Commerce ranked 55 industry sectors by their level of IT intensiveness. Education was ranked number 55, the lowest. Below coal mining.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Favorite quotes:

“Education is focused on getting kids to produce vending machine answers. While after they leave school and begin employment, they will be doing work that calls on their artistic abilities, their ability to synthesize, to understanding context, and will require them to be multidisciplinary, multilingual, and multicultural.”
— Daniel Pink (“Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us“, http://www.danpink.com/, twitter: danielpink)

“The coin of the realm will be ‘do you know how to find information?’ Do you know how to synthesize it, how to leverage it, how to communicate it, to collaborate with it and to problem solve with it? These will be the new 21st century set of literacies.”
— Ken Kay (http://www.p21.org/, twitter: kenkayp21

This article, on Xing, is written by Robert Gibson, who has been responsible for intercultural training at Learning Campus, the educational organisation set up at Siemens AG. He very succinctly outlines what businesses see as necessary attributes of intercultural trainers.

Companies expect experience and expertise. No generalists! Not only do you have to talk the talk, you also need to walk the walk. In short: companies want their money’s worth. No surprise, perhaps, but good to get this advice from one of the pros inside the business.

#lrnchat is an online chat over the social messaging service Twitter that now happens twice every Thursday: first at 4:30-6pm GMT  and then again at 8:30-10pm ET/5:30-7pm PST.

It is for learning professionals who come together to exchange ideas and thoughts that are prompted by questions posed by a moderator. The sessions last 1.5 hours, and in yesterday evening’s first session the overall topic was “The Intersection of Online and Inperson Education” and within this framework four questions were posed:

Q1) What are some great techniques for online educators to bring a personal element to their facilitation?
Q2) What are some modern techniques classroom educators can use to add digital depth to their programs?
Q3) Would you rather train online or in person, and why?
Q4) What do you prefer learning online or in person, and why?

It was a wonderful exchange with many great ideas. Online learning at its best!!!

What matters to CEOs and corporate learning: it’s all about the business results (T&D magazine #learning #results #ROI): http://ow.ly/1nkjK

An article by the training ROI authority Jack Phillips in the January issue of T&D magazine shows the results of research among a large number of CEOs regarding what they want to see from their corporate learning investments. Even though a whopping 96% want to see the results of learning and development back in their business impact data, only 8% claim to see it now. This demonstrates an enormous mismatch in L&D investments and providing business leaders with what they want to see.

The article lists a number of practical steps that we as learning professionals can now take to start showing business results. Even though Phillips is renowned for his admittedly complex training ROI calculations, the solutions he mentions are practical, immediate and can be undertaken with a minimum of investment. Among others they include focusing on objectives, integrating personal learning scorecards, providing success stories and building evaluation early into the L&D design.

“Confronting CEO Expectations About the Value of Learning,” by Jack J. and Patti P. Phillips, T+D 64 (2010) 1 (Jan); p. 52 – 56 (5p.)

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