In-sourcing – the new out-sourcing?

Maybe what lies at the nub of the idea of disbanding the HR function is the concept of sense of purpose – not for ourselves, but as judged by other people. It’s not our own answer to ‘what are you here for, exactly?’ that’s the issue, it’s how other people see it: not the purpose we think we serve, but the one that others think we do. Or, more critically, don’t.

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… and what are we hoping to achieve?

If results matter, so does strategy. We believe that organisations improve their productivity and performance through their people, and that strategy – or, at least, L&D strategy – is the means by which they do so. If learners are not to forget why they have acquired new learning, if organisations are not going to forego the benefits this learning could deliver, there is something that we need not to do: forget strategy.

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Workplace Learning: don’t stand in your own way

As employees increasingly take their training ‘on the run’ as well as ‘on the job’, the percentage of training that takes place in the manager’s rather than the trainer’s arena will only increase, but how far are managers shouldering or responding to this increasing responsibility? Is the determining factor more one of willingness or of ability? Or, perhaps, of opportunity and encouragement? This is a vital debate, and one in which managers’ own voices have so far been little heard. To ask these questions so that we might all benefit from being aware of the answers, ASK (working with Institute of Leadership and Management) has launched the UK Workplace Learning Survey 2013-14.

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Populating the tent

Promoting other people in your own image not only says something about your preferences, it says something – and not something particularly healthy – about your own self-image. Leadership depends not just on developing self-awareness, but on maintaining it – staying aware of your impact, of the impression you create, and your relationship to the changing world around you. (If you want a truly ghastly analogy here, consider the scene in Behind the Candelabra where Liberace produces a photograph of himself as guidance for the plastic surgeon hired to ‘re-model’ his partner. If you want to be adored, try being adorable. It’s cheaper and it leaves fewer scars – on everyone – although it does mean finding out what other people find attractive.)

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Line Managers are organisational pillars, but pillars need support too

Despite the evidence of the passing years, we had perhaps clung to a hope that the optimism we were showing by doing so was less delusional than that of organisations that identify a genuine need and use ill-equipped people as sticking plaster or means to plaster over the cracks. Hand on heart (and palm on forehead), the brief chuckle that we had at the recent example of a project manager being hired to act as a dedicated change manager (see our recent post) was hollow laughter: the kind of merriment to be briefly gleaned when something terrible happens to someone else. But also the kind of merriment that dies on your lips when you realise that something far less than optimal will have happened to several other people as a result.

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Born or made: talent revisited

The ‘talent – born or made?’ debate is one of those L&D issues that resurfaces from time to time, although it’s not entirely clear in any empirical sense why this should be the case. Perhaps its longevity as an issue is something that we can chalk down to the power of belief: advocates of each side of the argument could be forgiven – or at least understood – for succumbing to the attractions of their case. One would hope, however, that those working as coaches, trainers, educators or developers might be more swayed by the ‘made’ argument. If not, there is more than a suggestion that they are denying the potential impact of their work – and potential is surely the critical word here – or tacitly abnegating responsibility.

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UK Learning Transfer Survey 2012 Results

Every two years, the UK Learning Transfer Survey seeks to look beyond the academic research on learning transfer to identify the actual practices of learning and development professionals and their organisations. The results of the 2012 UK survey – a full copy of which you can request from our website - provide compelling evidence that, although learning transfer has become established as a mainstream activity in most organisations, the dash to technology-enabled training observable in the organisational learnscape may threaten that progress as trainers seek to re-define their role for the digital era.

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Questions from the ASK Ideas Exchange, March 2013

At our recent Ideas Exchange event at The Gallery Soho, we invited those attending to write their questions on a giant blackboard as triggers for discussion. We’ve taken a few moments since then to offer suggested brief answers to three of these questions, and you’ll find our ‘starters for ten’ below – but we’d very much welcome the contributions, thoughts and suggestions of others: simply use the Leave a Reply box at the bottom of this posting to share your thoughts with us.

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