Great Leaders First…

With 2010 now here and a new decade of opportunity ahead of us… wanted to reflect on an event in 2009 and lessons we can learn to prepare us for the new decade…

While at Elliott Masie’s Learning 2009, I sat in an early Sunday session led by Nigel Paine (Former British Broadcasting Corporation CLO) to discuss the attributes of a “Learning Leader.” The session had good participation with 30+, as well as guest CLOs, Larry Israelite of Liberty Mutual and Patricia Crull of Time Warner.

We were asked by Nigel to identify what made a great learning leader. A sample of those included the following:

People Skills – Collaboration, Communication, Influence, Questioning

Change Management

Business Knowledge

Executive and Political Savvy

Business Acumen

Technology Friendly – Embracer

Risk Manager

Strategic Visionary

Relationship Manager

Consultant

Curiosity

What things didn’t make it to the list? No one said a learning leader needed Instructional Systems Design (ISD), learning management system (LMS), or human resource background. In fact the point was clearly made by participants that learning leaders have to be leaders first and experts in learning & development second to be successful.

The impact to developing strategic human capital capabilities is significant. If a learning leader doesn’t focus on those leadership attributes that enable them to engage customers, partners and stakeholders at a strategic level to understand the business and more importantly to motivate and guide the learning organization with a vision of learning & development’s role in business success…then the learning leader is likely to struggle.

So the key take away? If we are going to enable our customer’s and partner’s success in the future by developing strategic human capital capabilities…we have to be great leaders first…

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