Learning professionals are being encouraged to think like marketers in order to meet the needs of today’s increasingly self-directed, peer-directed learners. But doing so can lead L&D into difficult waters.
This was just one of a number of fascinating insights that arose from our latest Think Tank dinner.
We assembled an invited group of L&D leaders to discuss these issues in a three-part discussion held under Chatham House rules. Contributing to the debate were delegates from the worlds of Finance, Mining, Telecomms, IT and commodity trading.
Used within a well designed digital learning programme, an L-book is a powerful tool for communicating new ideas, concepts and procedures; for learning, for reflection, and as a facilitator of important conversations.
In essence, L-books are quite an old idea – the learning journal – afforded a new lease of life by technology. But interactive technology gives a whole new twist, allowing the use of video, quizzes, reflective exercises and learning content.
The demands of bringing on a new generation of Millennials as leaders could spell big changes for organisations — and even disruption. Learning models and leadership models alike could come under pressure, and L&D face a loss of control over the learning experience. These were some of the possibilities raised by the first of a three-part Think Tank discussion we held recently in London.
Millennials are now the largest single generational cohort in the workforce and assuming leadership positions. To discuss how we can best support their leadership learning, and respond to the points raised in our recently released insight paper, Leadership, learning and the connected generation, we assembled an invited group of L&D leaders and now report their discussion under Chatham House rules.
Delegates were from organisations including Belron, The Home Office, IEDP, Lloyds Banking Group, MOD, Pragma Consulting, Rolls Royce and Vodafone. Most of our delegates have day-to-day contact with workforces that include large numbers of millennials, and some were from organisations whose workforce is drawn almost entirely from this age group.
The qualities of our top leaders is generally well documented, with the leading business schools and other well informed organisations regularly reviewing and reporting on what attributes make for the best leaders.
But we all know that leaders and managers are two different breeds and we need to recognise the difference. John Kotter, Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at Harvard University says that too often, employers use the terms synonymously.
He says, “Management is a set of processes that keep an organisation functioning. They make it work today – they make it hit this quarter’s numbers. The processes are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan. Leadership is very different. It is about aligning people to the vision that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration.”
So, given that not everybody can be a great leader – what are the distinctive qualities that great managers bring?