OPINION LEADERS About Enterprise Learning

What you need is course,” or “I need couple of days away from the office, what sort of course is available?”
It might not be like that in your organisation, but for many executives I work with, something along these lines describes their approach to executive education or personal development.
We see it everywhere, from those attending first-time management courses to more senior executives headed for overseas ‘seats of learning’. It’s almost as if the learning, or course attendance, is silo operation. And yes, the experience is intended to enhance the skill level of the employee, but the question is: how is that enhanced skill used to benefit the employer?
Not so long ago I worked with CEO to identify, and if possible quantify, the value of course attendances to the organisation. After couple of hours of examining various alternatives we decided that the employer would offer his managers up to six days training year. Each manager could select any course they wanted so long as they were not away from the job for more than the six days. The proviso was that before attending the courses, the applicants had to identify how they expected the learning would improve their job performance.
And when it came to the individual’s annual performance assessment, the attendees had to show how they had applied the course material to their job and in what ways it had enhanced their performance. The employer wasn’t concerned about the cost of the courses selected, but he did want to be absolutely clear about how the course added value to the organisation.
In similar but slightly different approach, colleague who is more involved in training than I, invites course attendees’ sponsoring managers to afternoon tea prior to the beginning of the course to identify with them what they expect their attendees to take from the course, and how they will apply the experience in their work environment.
Both these approaches certainly add value to the employer and provide valuable reality check on the reason for attending the course. They both also provide check on the course content. Is the course relevant to the issues the candidates face in today’s workplace?
But there is shortcoming with each of these approaches.
The real value of training… learning… course attendance… call it what you will, is delivered only when it is consistent with the mission or purpose of the organisation. It is all about enterprise learning.
For learning to be valuable both to the individual and the organisation it must be consistent with an holistic view of the organisation. And that applied to learning from the CEO right through the organisation. Enterprise learning fits within the purpose for the organisation’s existence and is consistent with the employee’s individual performance objectives, which in turn are consistent with the purpose.
This approach requires CEOs to set the framework in which all management training or learning is undertaken. It doesn’t mean that the CEO determines the appropriate courses but, it does mean that he or she sets the context in which management upskilling occurs.
The CEO should, for example, be satisfied that the learning framework is consistent with the business plan for the year and consistent with the long-term direction of the organisation. Once the business plan is written, the learning plan can be developed. The plan will include the learning which the CEO intends to undertake, and the identification of relevant learning for each level of management.
Enterprise learning embraces the entire enterprise, treating it as learning organisation intent on optimising the capability of its management in way that is consistent with both the current year’s business objectives and the direction in which the organisation wants to evolve in future.
In their book Blur, authors Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer, suggest that the success of any organisation is function of what it knows, how it uses what it knows and how fast it can know something new.
In similar vein, Arie de Geuss in his book The Living Company says that the majority of enterprises suffer from learning disability, they are somehow unable to adapt and evolve as the world around them changes. successful company is, he says, “one that can learn effectively”.
Enterprise learning is aimed at developing successful organisations and NZIM is well equipped to assist in developing an enterprise learning plan.

Tony Hassed FNZIM is national chairman of NZIM and consultant to and director of number of New Zealand companies.

Visited 4 times, 1 visit(s) today

Business benefits of privacy

Privacy Week (13-17 May) is a great time to consider the importance of privacy and to help ensure you and your company have good privacy practices in place, writes Privacy

Read More »
Close Search Window