L&D should shift gears from 'training people' to 'being with people'!


Because that’s where great insights lie.

Mingling with people helps watch them up close, empathize with their challenges and understand their varying degrees of knowledge. These insights trigger a reflection on what can be done further to help them perform better.

Helping them perform better is THE key, but as obvious as it might seem, this happens to be the most elusive factor in the entire gamut of Learning & Development. Not surprising then that ‘only 8% of CEOS see biz impact of L&D, and only 4% see ROI’ as reported by Linkedin.

It’s fast transpiring that there’s a tremendous void in the very understanding of purpose L&D is supposed to serve. The stubborn silo outlook quarantined from reality and cocooned in its own sweet interpretation of learning pushes managers hard to put their entire focus on content. Not on people.


It convinces SMEs to assiduously collate the most relevant material and present it on a platter without caring much about whether the ‘takers’ of this spread would relish consuming it.

This negative practice has a cascading (side)effect also on learning tools employed to disseminate the planned knowledge. E-learning, for instance, slips into a state of suspended animation gasping for breath as it chokes in the clutches of some meaningless stuff put together under the disguise of ‘meaningful activities’.

IMHO, it’s time L&D engages the reverse gear and back out of this ‘training the people’ funda and instead drive towards ‘being with people’… and, experience the sheer excitement of pumping the learning adrenaline into their systems. After understanding their real performance needs, that is!

This comprehensive report from Deloitte University Press says, “The concept of a “career” is being shaken to its core, driving companies toward “always-on” learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily, and on their own terms.”

And, it adds, “At leading companies, the L&D teams help employees grow and thrive as they adopt the radical concept of a career described in The 100-Year Life.7 New learning models both challenge the idea of a static career and reflect the declining half-life of skills critical to the 21st-century organization.”

Clark Quinn is quite incisive here… “L&D could and should be a big contributor to organizational success. If they were adequately addressing the optimizing performance side of the story, and ensuring  the continual innovation part as well, their value should and would be high.”

Am extremely eager to reflect on the positive role L&D could play in bringing about a transformation in the learning landscape in the next post.

So long…


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