This is the first post in a series based on a discussion I had with Scott Robbin, a Senior Content Associate from Argyle Executive Forum, on the link between learning initiatives and overall organizational strategy.
If you asked me (as Scott Robbin of the Argyle Executive Forum recently did) to identify best practices for global learning strategies to succeed in today’s economic environment I would identify three:
- Build stronger strategic links
- Be clearer in communication
- Be bolder in trying new things
To make sure your company’s learning and development initiatives make sense, it’s so important these days to link those initiatives squarely to the organizational strategy. Compared to a few years back, budgets now require us to do more with less. That means if a company is making an investment in learning and development, there should be strong strategic sense to it.
The reality is that a lot of companies are already doing this. A recent study we did revealed that 52% of participants had learning and development goals tied directly to their organizational strategy. That’s great news on all levels.
It’s also critical to have a clear communication plan. Even when the economy is tough – or perhaps that should be especially during tough economic times – it’s crucial for the organization to still ensure transparency. This way, throughout the company, people are completely tuned in to any changes that become necessary because of the new environment.
And lastly, I’ve noticed that the companies that do well despite economic shifts tend to be more willing to try new things. Sometimes when times get tough, companies get scared and go into turtle mode: pulling in to a shell and staying put. While this fright instinct feels logical, it can paralyze the organization on several levels. Better approaches can include exploring a new content area, or considering new modalities.
The decision to be innovative keeps the organization moving and can often open up new possibilities that lead to success over the longer term.
If we can keep the focus on strategy, maintain clarity of communication and make the commitment to stay innovative, success is far more likely to stay on our side, no matter what the economy’s doing!
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida