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Cloning High Performers – Strategies for Chief Learning Officers

Posted 19th April 2010.

Interview with: Nancy Lewis, Former Chief Learning Officer and Vice President, ITT and Former Vice President, Learning, IBM

Braselton, GA, April 19, 2010 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Exceptional employees are the backbone of successful organizations, but in most places, not all employees are considered high performers. Whilst not an easy undertaking for any Chief Learning Officer (CLO) many employees could potentially excel if given the right workplace experiences, training and development. But there is a need for CLOs to rethink learning, according to Nancy Lewis, Former Chief Learning Officer and Vice President at ITT and Former Vice President, Learning at IBM. A keynote speaker at the marcus evans Chief Learning Officer Summit 2010 taking place in Georgia, April 11-13, 2010, Lewis considers strategies for aligning the workforce to the organizations goals and cloning high performers.

What are some of the challenges facing organizations today and what solutions could CLOs provide?

Nancy Lewis: New markets and opportunities are forcing companies to change and it is the CLOs responsibility to understand the implications and opportunities of where the business is going, and find ways within learning and development to achieve those objectives.

When thinking of new business models and strategies, CLOs need to consider what value the company can present to a customer which is most often the skilled expertise of the workforce. In this information age, people are the differentiators, where customers look to spend their money and where they seek value; this places the CLO at the heart of any business success.

How can the CLO better align the workforce to the organization?

Nancy Lewis: The CLO needs to be a strategic partner of the senior team and a change leader. They should make sure people are motivated to achieving organizational goals and that they understand their role individually and within their team. The next step would be to enable individuals and teams to be able to perform at a new and higher level.

This is a new era in our industry, and those in the profession need to rethink learning. When business models are changing and companies are adopting new strategies which in turn require new expertise, it is essential the CLO understands what top performers and success look like, and which skills and expertise are required to be successful. They ought to help average performers to work like the top performers in the company. It is important to give typical employees a targeted set of work opportunities, so they are able to practice and experience those things as opposed to simply learning skills in a classroom setting. Education is very important and always will be, but it is more important to place employees in situations which tend to incubate the new higher performance standards. We will start to see a trend of more workplace learning and learning embedded in everyday tasks rather than the classical approach to learning.

We have studied different related sciences and have arrived at a learning methodology with three steps for CLOs: analyze what differentiates top performances from the typical, come up with ways to clone that expertise, and measure performance improvement. CLOs may analyze their organizations top performers through different methodologies to determine what they do differently from everyone else, and the cause of that difference. I would recommend CLOs to look at their thought flow, what and how top performers think, and understand what resources they have. When they know these things, it will be easier to replicate the environment to accelerate the performance of average employees.

What long-term strategies in learning, training and development management would you recommend to CLOs?

Nancy Lewis: It is important to understand what is at the heart of the organization, where it is going and what matters most to the business. CLOs should decide on five to seven things they consider add the most value to their business and focus their efforts on those. They should not get distracted from that. They also need to innovate, try out new approaches to further engage customers and suppliers, collaborate across different functional groups and leverage initiatives that are outside the learning organization that could enhance the learning in their organization.

Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

Tel: + 357 22 849 313
Email: press@marcusevanscy.com

About the Chief Learning Officer Summit 2010

This unique forum will take place at the Chteau lan Winery & Resort, Braselton, Georgia, April 11-13, 2010. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The summit includes presentations on learning best practices, keeping with technologies and re-skilling trainers to meet multi-learning styles.

For more information please send an email to info@marcusevanscy.com or visit the event website at http://www.clo-summit.com/NancyLewisInterview

Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the worlds leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit http://www.marcusevans.com

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