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The CEO will be the next CLO

Chief Learning Officers will be the next CEO’s say John Hagel and John Seely Brown, in this short video from Deloitte. I disagree, because I do not see business leadership coming from Organizational Development, Human Resources or Training & Development. I think it will be much easier, and more important, for business leaders to understand the significance of learning in the workplace. Even Adidas has adopted my adage that today, work is learning and learning is the work.

A well-rounded CEO can more easily become the CLO than vice versa. In addition, the generalists are already in charge. Often, the learning professionals are not core to the business. So where will learning leadership come from? I think it will come from business, and that is where I am focusing my efforts, helping business understand workplace learning, not helping learning professionals understand business.

If business is waking up to the fact that learning is now mission critical, will executives continue to allow learning policy to reside in a separate department? Will they will let learning professionals maintain sole control? I doubt it.

Look at the military. In Canada, which is like most NATO countries, training specialists and schools run individual training. However, more time and effort is put into collective training that emphasizes social and informal learning. The latter is run by operators (e.g. line of business owners) not learning specialists.

If the struggle over control of enterprise social media is an indicator, the learning function seldom is allowed to run it for the business. Using the 70:20:10 framework as a guide, the new learning CEO will likely focus on the first 90% and leave the 10% formal training for the ex-CLO

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