Building a learning strategy is a key CLO mandate. Chief learning officers can add significant value to a learning strategy by aligning learning with the CEO’s agenda. To begin the process, CLOs and their teams can begin a dialogue with the CEO and his or her team to discuss the following four questions:
- How can we map learning to the CEO’s agenda?
- Ensure that learning programs map to the business wins defined in the CEO’s agenda for the next 3-5 years.
- Describe any repercussions in the CEO agenda across the organization’s key lines of business.
- Articulate learning and development success metrics for these wins.
- Define the key competencies all business leaders will need to achieve these wins and these metrics.
- How can we align learning with development resources?
- Develop all new learning offerings — courses, webcasts, content — to map to the CEO agenda.
- Ensure existing content maps to the CEO agenda by revising as needed.
- Confirm that instructional design methods align with content development needs.
- Create methodologies to measure the impact of learning on the CEO’s key agenda items.
- How can we gain buy-in for the learning agenda?
- Articulate the strategic logic in how the learning agenda aligns with the business wins.
- Discuss with key stakeholders, including HR, finance and lines of business how changes brought on by the learning agenda may impact them.
- Engage key champions, including the CEO, to support the learning agenda.
- Build a governance mechanism to ensure the learning agenda adapts to changing learning needs.
- How can we activate the learning agenda?
- Ensure all stakeholders are on board.
- Communicate the launch for the learning agenda.
- Provide periodic updates about small and big wins resulting from activating the learning agenda.
- Keep communication channels open, and keep listening to the lines of business.
- Evaluate the success of the activation and recalibrate.
While this cheat sheet is not exhaustive, it offers a practical starting point for learning leaders seeking to build alignment between learning and business strategy through a learning culture. What other key points could be added to the cheat sheet from your experience? What are some points that may look good on paper but are very challenging to implement?
Marina Theodotou is a learning and development leader. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com.