We explored uncharted territory to expand our paradigm of Learning and Development. Participants learned what horses can teach us (since they’ve been the subject of our training techniques for centuries) about the long term impacts of training on morale, engagement, health and wellness, productivity, culture, and change. We reviewed case studies of organizations making a shift to provide contextual value to their internal/external customers, and critiqued the training needed to thrive in a world full of wicked problems (climate change, poverty, sexism, racism, etc.). We identified and evaluated metrics, and learned how to construct an evaluation plan. We also reviewed how to report ROI in a credible and repeatable way, and how to make meaning out of their data.
I had bigger questions I wanted to answer about making a business case for learning, and I needed a dream team of 13 thought leaders to help me tease out my top 5 ah-hah moments.
So, I assembled a killer lineup of dynamic and provocative speakers to challenge and inspire participants: Lisa Ann Edwards, Sheila Delaney Duke, Brian Washburn, Lisa Fisher, Magda Kasparay, Carol Turner, Rachel Dexheimer, Andrew Cline, Theresa Kinney, Jennifer Sharp, Julie Jackson, Zack Anderson, and Ece Anderson.
A signature and inherent trait of living organisms and organizational systems is their ability to learn. Without an ability to take in and synthesize new information, and without valuing autopoetic organizations, businesses cannot thrive.
When I reflect on building a business case for learning, I’m drawn to three other questions: What is the purpose and value of learning? What is the purpose and value of organizations? What is my purpose and value?
Learning is my practice of liberation. I believe that the purpose of learning is to “reveal and tap into those energies that make possible the full human enjoyment of a meaningful and productive existence” (Harris and Morrison, 2003, p.1). I believe that businesses play an integral role in building economics for peace. And, I believe that my purpose is to welcome, cultivate, and exemplify the potential for learning in human relationships.
How to make a business case for learning is a complex and critical question that relates to adaptive leadership and survival. I wanted to invite local professionals to explore the complexity and urgency of making a business case for learning.
This conference was designed to help talent development professionals learn and practice resolving technical, adaptive and systemic barriers and solutions to identifying, aligning, evaluating and communicating the value of learning.
Here are my top takeaways from the conference:
In my next five blog posts, I'll elaborate on these five ah-hah moments, and offer tips for how to transfer this learning into your daily life. Stay tuned...But for now, I want to leave you with these questions to reflect on: What impact are you making, and how are you measuring it?