Today, organizations face the most unique set of challenges ever presented in the business setting. A volatile political world has created chaos for many organizations. Advanced communications, breakthrough technology, social media, and the Internet have catapulted organizations into a competitive global environment, whether they were ready or not. All the norms and conditions that were the mainstay for organizational decision-making have been cast to the wind as business has approached light-speed velocity. Included in this maelstrom is the battle for attracting and retaining talent.
As learning professionals, we are thrust into this battle by having to educate, train, and develop the most complicated and demanding group of employees to ever enter the workforce. To embrace this fact is to realize that all the traditional approaches to learning and development that we held on to so tightly must give way to new approaches that may be unfamiliar to us, or ones that we have historically resisted. Now is the time for learning and development professionals to look in the mirror and ask the tough question: Are my people, processes, and technologies putting me in a position for success? For many reasons, learning and development will never be the same and will continue to evolve at an accelerated pace. Learning and development organizations must embrace these conditions or become a casualty of them.
Learning and development professionals must quickly and critically evaluate and assess their people, processes, and systems and decide how much and how quickly things need to change. But there must also be the cast-iron will to want to change. Learning and development organizations have been thrust into the business of business, and therefore the professionals at the helms of these organizations must take the initiative and transform their people, processes, and technologies into a sustainable competitive advantage for their organization. Being a learning organization is not just about beating the competition but also realizing it is the number one reason why people come to work for you and stay with you. Learning is now the differentiator for an organization’s success — one way or another.
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