A CLO must serve as a key role model for leadership in the organization. Reinventing yourself as a leader and enabling others to do the same adds value to the organization. There are many skills, competencies, personal traits and organizational conditions that need to be considered when reinventing yourself as a leader. Three of the most important “personal shifts” correspond to the “horizons” necessary for organizational transformation as described in my February 2007 column.
1. Scope of Efforts
It’s critical the CLO move beyond a narrow scope of effort, as in concentrating all your actions and resources on day-to-day operating plans and requirements (Horizon 1). I’ve worked with many CLOs who think they are being strategic, yet when observed in action, they are geared toward short-term results.
Reinventing the CLO role calls for ensuring day-to-day operations continue effectively and efficiently but not necessarily doing everything yourself. It calls for achieving them through your work team and others. The objective here is to free up 60 percent or more of your time, so you can selectively sunset all nonstrategically aligned learning and performance efforts (Horizon 2) and develop learning and performance technologies for the future (Horizon 3).
The key differentiator here is your hands-on involvement. If you and other organizational leaders and associates don’t spend the majority of your time focusing on the more strategic, transformational requirements, chances are these important ingredients for future success won’t be addressed.
2. Skill Sets
Although there are many different career paths that lead to becoming CLO, you might have ascended to it after spending time as an expert in one of the typical learning and development disciplines. Whatever your path, reinventing yourself requires that you move from being a specialist to being more of a generalist.
Becoming a generalist involves not only developing a wider range of learning and performance capabilities but also building a strong portfolio of general business management skills and industry knowledge. To influence future performance and be truly effective as a CLO, you must think, operate and be embraced by the organization as a strategic business leader.
You must take on leadership responsibilities for critical organizational initiatives such as global transformation, designing and deploying a customer/client engagement model for the business, and redefining and deploying strategically aligned performance measures throughout the organization.
Although these initiatives likely will include a learning and development component, it will be your ability to successfully direct all the facets that will enable you to develop the skills needed to become a recognized leader throughout the organization.
3. CLO Mindset
The third key shift in reinventing yourself is breaking out of the traditional response to drop-in requests for assistance/services. I’m not implying these types of requests should go unaddressed, but I have seen many CLOs and their direct reports operate as “order takers” rather than spending the majority of their time and effort strategically designing and deploying a variety of mid- to long-range initiatives aligned to the organization’s strategic plans.
Executing on the value-added approach requires you be much more proactive in your thinking and actions. By being very clear about (and aligned with) the future business requirements of the organization, you can identify and build the necessary performance capabilities and develop the high-potential leaders needed across the organization.
Taking the lead to reinvent yourself for the 21st century will make you an indispensable leader — in every sense of the word.
Richard Y. Chang, Ph.D., is founder and CEO of Richard Chang Associates and is author of “The Passion Plan.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.