I just returned from an extensive learning exchange where the “who’s who” of Chief Learning Officer’s gathered at a state-of-the-art training facility in Toronto. The PhD’s in my life would be very happy to hear that I approached it like a study from the human capital training space, observing the learning challenges faced by organizations across the border. With a great cross section of companies represented, it provided me a perfect back drop to conduct what has apparently become my life’s work: Endless people research that has taken over even my social life. Yes, including observing behaviors (mine, none to honorable) at miniature golf. Ugg, what can I say, it’s all for the purpose of a greater good.
Anyhow, as I listened to representatives from premier organizations that were either in the early stages of advancing their training programs, or producing mind blowing examples of in-house universities, one thing became incredibly clear: There were two groups of growth companies in attendance. My 30 hour, 3 day extravaganza revealed who were the haves (connecting to the employee population at all learning levels and from all generations), and who were the have nots (still trying to figure it out).
Here’s the recap:
1. Haves: Clear support and direction for a learning environment from the top
Have nots: Working around a generational fixed mindset that doesn’t prescribe or believe in evolving their staff at all levels
2. Haves: Utilize a clear talent strategy that is aligned to their business strategy
Have nots: Obvious disconnect from the recruiting stage to retention and development in the overall business strategy
3. Haves – Measurable outcomes for each level of employee training
Have nots – Huge supporters of training, but have not solidified outcomes that directly correspond to advanced performance as it relates to business strategy
Of course, the last two are my personal favorites.
4. Haves: Incorporated the humble beginnings of a brain-based training method that prescribes to the growth mindset and learning approaches inspired by evidence-based, neuroimaging and brain-mapping studies in order to assist individuals in reaching their full learning potential.
Have nots: Unknowingly (on a subconscious level) continue on a fixed mindset training model that contradicts teaching strategies, and ignores neuroscience research on how the brain functions in achieving ideal development and potential.
5. Haves: Embrace the limbic (why) part of the employee’s brain to successfully aid in wiring that promotes trust, leading to engagement and overall (retention) happiness.
Have nots: Unfamiliar with the evidence of how our brain learns, and best practices that help accelerate individual learning performance. They’re not yet aware of the cognitive sciences indicating that emotional engagement (the why) is crucial for learning, regardless of the age of an employee.
One quote by Robert Heinlein keeps coming to mind when I reflect on my time at the exchange – “When one teaches, two learn.” The underlying theme and innovative learning was abundant throughout the event, and I couldn’t help but notice that as we uncovered more common challenges for the growth companies in attendance, the general consensus kept landing back on one idea: “Train with the brain in mind.” Something that we not only can get on board with, but teach as a cornerstone of our methodology.