Like many of you, I receive a lot of invitations to industry conferences. These days, it’s fashionable to include a video of people talking about the conference and how cool it is. I don’t usually click, preferring to get this sort of information via text, but today, for some reason, I watched the video.
I was taken aback by the assertion by one individual extolling the benefits of this meeting that one thing this conference will do that isn’t done very often is to “talk about how it [learning] ties into the business.”
She’s right, of course. We learning folks are not immune to the siloing which makes us crazy when we’re trying to leverage our efforts across the organization. That we gather to talk about technologies and processes pretty frequently in venues where organizational strategy is not addressed is a prime sign of that.
I understand that conference organizers want large audiences, and that targeting particular organizational strategies as topics would likely narrow things down too much.
It’s effortful to integrate with the strategies in place in various divisions of our org, and hard to talk about it generally in a conference. But seriously, if our efforts are NOT plugged very directly into the strategic initiatives in our orgs, what the heck are we doing? And of what possible value could it be?
I have a theory that in the very best-run organizations, it’s difficult to tease out ROI for the training initiatives. That’s because when an org is closely coordinating its efforts, an initiative will include changes to capital investment, staffing, and training. And it will be very difficult to slice out which of these aspects is more responsible for the outcome than the others.
Are you up to speed on the top-priority strategic initiatives in your organization? Are your learning folks actively involved in supporting them? If not, why not?