Jay Cross

December 9

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2008 at 8:22 pm

Jay Cross, Jane Hart, and Charles Jennings invite you to join a four-hour discussion and workshop to build the business case for informal corporate learning. We are convening a small group of thought leaders in social networking and informal learning to discuss the near-term future of organizational learning, given such factors as:

* economic slowdown and corporate reconfiguration
* increasing democratization of the workforce
* pervasive internet infrastructure for social networking
* convergence of knowledge, knowledge work, and learning

The global recession is wiping out traditional training budgets in corporations. This is an ideal time for organizations to adopt informal, bottom-up, collaborative approaches. Nonetheless, most corporations seem paralyzed, afraid to take action. The purpose of our session in London is to identify the barriers to change and discuss what corporations can do to embrace networked, self-service learning. We hope you will be able to join us.

The event is free and by invitation only.

The meeting is at Thomson-Reuters in Canary Wharf this December 9. Please arrive at Reception by 9:45 am. Charles Jennings or Jackie Wykes will meet you there and escort you to the 5th floor Board Room. Lunch will be served at 12:15 pm. We adjourn at 2:00 pm.

Participants

  1. Charles Jennings, Thomson Reuters
  2. Jane Hart, Center for Learning & Performance Technologies, togetherlearn
  3. Jay Cross, Internet Time Group, togetherlearn
  4. David Gurteen, Gurteen Knowledge
  5. David Price, Global Sensemaking
  6. Deborah Findlayson, Diageo
  7. Norman Lamont, Lloyds TSB
  8. Claire Line, Lovells
  9. Laura Overton, Toward Maturity
  10. Hugh Greenway, Reed Learning
  11. Paul Kearns, PWL, Speaker/trainer/author
  12. Peter Butler, British Telecom
  13. Fae Longman
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  1. tag for anyone’s blog posts = canarylearn

    Get out of the training business
    by Jay Cross
    December 10, 2008

    If you’re looking for a way to weather the economic downturn, be aware that it’s a permanent climate change, not a passing storm. Most of the time, the global economy is cyclical. It has its ups and downs but the underlying pattern remains the same. But what we are experiencing today is fundamental. Things are not going to return to where they were, for we are witnessing the birth of a new world order.

    The industrial age is in its death throes, making way for the unfolding of the network age. This is akin to when the industrial revolution overwhelmed the agrarian age. That time, people moved from farms to cities. Clock watching replaced working to the rhythm of the sun. Repetitive, mindless factory labor replaced working with holistically with nature. Taking orders replaced thinking for one’s self. Slums were born. Society unraveled.

    One hopes this economic revolution will be more positive that the last. Nonetheless, it’s time to get ready for massive change. Industry won’t disappear but a third of all industrial companies probably will. The ranks of the permanently unemployed will swell. New categories of work will pop up to address network optimization, making connections, reconfiguring functions, realtime enterprise design, constructive destruction, virtual mentoring, and so on. Hallowed laws, regulations, standards, and memes will evaporate.

    Management itself, the art of planning, organizing, deciding, and controlling, will fall by the wayside. After all, planning is suspect in an unpredictable world. Organizing takes on new meaning when things self-organize. Deciding is everybody’s business when networks rule. Control is a non-starter in a bottom-up, peer-powered society.

    As networks continue to subvert hierarchy, successful organizations will embrace respect for the individual, flexibility and adaptation, openness and transparency, sharing and collaboration, honesty and authenticity, and immediacy. Training is obsolete because it deals with a past that won’t be repeated; learning will be redefined as problem-solving, achieving fit with one’s environment, and having the connections to deal with novel situations.

    Impending doom unfreezes organizational structure to make room for re-organizing, re-arranging, and replacing the status quo. Survivors will develop and present agendas for change while things are in flux. Here’s the pitch I’d offer the most senior person I could get a hearing with.

    “Next week, we will close the training department. We are shifting our focus from training to performance. Legal or the line departments can handle compliance. Any remaining training staff will become mentors, coaches, and facilitators who work on improving core business processes, strengthening relationships with customers, and cutting costs.”

    “I’m changing my title from VP of Training to VP of Core Capabilities. My assistants are becoming the Director of Sales Readiness and the Director of Competitive Advantage. The measure of our contributions will be results, not training measures. We’re scrapping the LMS post haste. Wherever possible, we’re replacing proprietary software with open source. We’ll make do with the computers we’ve got. We don’t intend to renew subscriptions to training magazines. (We’ll keep reading CLO since it’s free.)”

    “All of our energies will go into peer-to-peer, self-service learning. If something doesn’t dramatically improve the capabilities of our people, we won’t do it. We are scrapping lengthy program development projects in favor of quick-and-dirty rapid development. We are abandoning classrooms. Our goal is to help people to perform better, faster, cheaper.”

    “We are eliminating all travel and helping others do the same by introducing Skype and free realtime conferencing. We’re setting up a corporate FAQ on a wiki to capture and distribute the information we once received from people who are no longer with us. In this, and all of our efforts we intend to work smarter, not lower our standards or quality of service.”

    “Recognizing that informed customers make better customers, we are opening up most of our platforms for learning to them as well as our employees and former employees. To the extent that we help them cut costs, improve performance, and implement better methods, we both win.”

    “Everything has a price tag. When we wring out costs, I want senior management commitment that they will allocate time for people to help one another, to exploit the benefits of social networks, and to converse one another freely. This is a multi-year program. It will not work if we try to implement it while still doing business as usual. Burning people out is not a survival strategy.”

    “That is my plan for this week. If I have your support, I’ll be happy to come back with a few more things next week.”

  2. David Price:

    It was a joy meet you all yesterday and to participate in such a rich conversation about this fascinating and important topic.

    Here’s my first sketch of the conversation in Debategraph:

    http://debategraph.org/flash/fv.aspx?r=8451&d=2&i=1

    The key technical points to note at this stage are:

    Navigation

    (1) Click on the small coloured spheres to drill deeper into the map – and click on the largest sphere in any view to move back up.

    (2) Roll over the spheres to display a fuller text.

    (3) Roll over the icons at the bottom for a brief description of their function.

    Contributing to the map

    > The simplest way to contribute to the map, in the first instance, is to add a comments — much as you would do on a blog — using the speech bubble button/icon. I’ll happily weave the substance of any comments left this way into the structure of the map.

    > If you would like me to guide you through the process of adding new issues, positions, and arguments to the map directly, just let me know.

    Keeping up to date with changes to the map

    > Once you have registered with Debategraph you will automatically receive a daily email digest of changes to this map (and any other maps you visit). You can adjust the frequency of the email digests via links in the digest emails.

    > You can also keep track of the changes to the map, without registration, via the map RSS feed: http://debategraph.org/RecentChanges.ashx?mapID=520

    …and if you have any questions about any aspect of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.

    With very best wishes and thanks again for sharing your thoughts and insights yesterday,

    David

    David Price
    Co-founder
    Debategraph
    tel: +44 (0) 20 8144 2860
    skype: pricedavid
    e-mail: david@debategraph.org
    web: debategraph.org
    blog: opentopersuasion.com
    twitter: twitter.com/debategraph

  3. Ten years ago at an author event down the hill from my house in Berkeley, someone asked our doom-and-gloom speaker why he was optimistic about the future. He replied “Because it works better.” I’ve tried to apply his common-sense approach to live ever since.

    Hence, when I get feedback on our session at Reuters that…

    I was disappointed with the meeting overall – a very mixed calibre of attendee which held back the level of discussion considerably.

    I’m still no wiser as to how anyone around the table would convince me (or any executive) of the business case for what they are doing with ‘learning’ technology. I heard a lot of anecdotal gushing about how great learning can be with no evidence of its import or impact. I also heard how ‘technology’ had helped save money on training (which doesn’t guarantee it makes a difference to the business) but nothing about how it might add significant value.

    …, I have to say that this is not what I took away from the meeting at all. My take-away from our meeting is here. I don’t expect the world to hand us any guarantees. This is new territory. And I am delighted that our group included some people who haven’t written a half dozen books. This is a new frontier.

    It is late here in Aachen, and I’m coming down from a dozen hours of scintillating conversation about how we can democratize learning, make the world one, take advantage of major economic disruption for move ahead, and amp up innovation, so I don’t have a lot of patience for answering gripes that our attempts in London didn’t hit the center of the bulls eye.

    Do something more effective, and I’ll be more apt to pay attention.

  4. Paul,

    “not sure why Jay was afraid to ‘out’ me – if I have a view I am prepared to defend it.”
    Afraid? Come on, Paul. I did not attach your name to what I wrote because I don’t consider it polite to quote private emails. Not everyone wants to be outed.

    “It’s not about the technology – it’s about keeping a mature, open mind.”
    I seem to remember saying “It’s not about the technology” three times during our session.

    “Was Wednesday an informal learning session? – if it was it wasn’t a very good advert for it.”
    As I said, all learning is a mix of formal and informal. However, we called the meeting to discuss the near-term future of organizational learning, not to exemplify a learning model.

    “Kirkpatrick – a guy who never left the 1950’s in his thinking and still the most quoted evaluation model in the US today?!”
    Don Kirkpatrick no more represents current thinking in the U.S. than Benny Hill represents best practices in the UK.

    “a very mixed calibre of attendee which held back the level of discussion considerably.”
    Diversity is strength. Critiquing the calibre of those in the room is unwarranted snobbery.

    “I’m still no wiser as to how anyone around the table would convince me (or any executive) of the business case for what they are doing with ‘learning’ technology.”
    Promoting learning technology was not the purpose of our session.

    As for convincing people to change their approach to learning, I tried to address it in my article following the session:

    “Next week, we will close the training department. We are shifting our focus from training to performance. Legal or the line departments can handle compliance. Any remaining training staff will become mentors, coaches, and facilitators who work on improving core business processes, strengthening relationships with customers, and cutting costs.”

    “I’m changing my title from VP of Training to VP of Core Capabilities. My assistants are becoming the Director of Sales Readiness and the Director of Competitive Advantage. The measure of our contributions will be results, not training measures. We’re scrapping the LMS post haste. Wherever possible, we’re replacing proprietary software with open source. We’ll make do with the computers we’ve got. We don’t intend to renew subscriptions to training magazines. (We’ll keep reading CLO since it’s free.)”

    “All of our energies will go into peer-to-peer, self-service learning. If something doesn’t dramatically improve the capabilities of our people, we won’t do it. We are scrapping lengthy program development projects in favor of quick-and-dirty rapid development. We are abandoning classrooms. Our goal is to help people to perform better, faster, cheaper.”

    “We are eliminating all travel and helping others do the same by introducing Skype and free realtime conferencing. We’re setting up a corporate FAQ on a wiki to capture and distribute the information we once received from people who are no longer with us. In this, and all of our efforts we intend to work smarter, not lower our standards or quality of service.”

    “Recognizing that informed customers make better customers, we are opening up most of our platforms for learning to them as well as our employees and former employees. To the extent that we help them cut costs, improve performance, and implement better methods, we both win.”
    I concur that we should continue to move the debate forward. I encourage us to do so via comments here: http://tinyurl.com/6f33a2 That way, we’re less likely to lose continuity to spam filters and overlooked emails. That’s where I’ll be sharing my thoughts on these issues.

    Paul, if you have any positive suggestions, please share them. Help us build things, not destroy them.

    jay

    Jay Cross
    Internet Time Group
    Berkeley, California
    1.510.323.5380

  5. Thanks Paul

    I am delighted when people stick two fingers up to everyone!!!!:) Thanks Jay and Paul so good for you! – Unlike you however I feel that when people get together for the first time it is like a dance you tend not to want to step on peoples toes but after a while you find the rhythm. I wonder whether you saw Question Time last night Will Self was brilliant but only saying it as it is. Perhaps we can “learn” from each other and come up with some nuggets that can move learning forward in our organisations. Hard work I know but I am also sure that no one in that room this week is afraid of being outed!

    Onwards to the salsa!

    Fae

    PS I got nuggets you have to dig for them

  6. Photos and quotations from the session are here

  7. Donald Taylor is emailing each of the participants a free pass to the closing keynote of Learning Technologies on January 28th. Charles and I will be joined by Donald Clark to look at the progress of eLearning over the past decade and to share what we see in our crystal balls for the next few years out. Afterward, party time?

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