Do as I say, not as I do.
If you’re a parent, teacher or pretty much anyone in a position with a little bit of authority, it’s quite possible you’ve fallen back on that old chestnut when called to explain your actions.
It’s far from ideal but I’m sympathetic to those who use it. It’s simply not possible to quickly and easily communicate the finer points of a situation. Sometimes words fail. It’s exhausting to have to minutely explain your reasons. And when you’re dealing with someone, let’s say for example your 8-year-old son, who treats seeking out inconsistencies in your behavior like a full-time, salaried position with sweet benefits, it’s even more so. Sometimes the fuse gets a little short.
While it may be understandable to use that argument, it doesn’t make it good. It looks like you’re taking short cuts. It risks painting you as a hypocrite. Which is why there’s a really big problem lying beneath the surface of a CLO’s work.
Less than half of you take your own learning seriously. See the problem? Every day, you identify skill gaps in others, assess their strengths and weaknesses and give clear-eyed assessments of people’s potential to grow.
You coach them to develop skills, cajole them to invest in their own learning and call them out when they fail to live up to potential. You strive to have open and honest conversations with others and deliver inconvenient, uncomfortable but necessary information that can set someone off on a new positive trajectory. But to be honest, you’re not being honest with yourself.
Far too many CLOs fail to live up to their own standards. According to research we conducted on the future of the role, only 44 percent have implemented their own development plan. Just over a third have a mentor and less than 1 in 5 are using an executive coach.
When it comes to their own development, CLOs are too often missing in action. They are like the cobbler’s children, walking around barefoot because all their time and energy was spent making shoes for everyone else.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Investing in your own development is easy to ignore. It takes time and concerted effort. It’s inconvenient and often expensive. It’s also one of the most important things you can do. Taking time to learn restocks your intellectual store, bringing in fresh ideas and tossing out expired ones. It clears away the dust and ensures you’re staying on top of your game.
Failure to invest in your own learning is a short-term gain with long-term pain. I’m reminded of that as our 2020 Chief Learning Officer events season kicks off.
The Spring CLO Symposium, taking place April 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Florida, is a great opportunity to recharge the CLO batteries. You’ll hear ideas and insights from more than three dozen learning executives in keynotes, workshops, panel discussions and conversations. The event is a chance to reconnect with your purpose, restock the cabinet and learn from like-minded leaders in an intimate setting.
Getting out of the office for three days isn’t always an option. For that, we have the CLO Breakfast Club, kicking off in April with stops in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and the Bay Area. The Breakfast Club is a morning-long event that puts you directly in the conversation about the future of talent development alongside like-minded peers from your local community.
Both are great opportunities to develop your own skills and competencies. But any true leader knows the hallmark of successful work is having a successor in place to carry it forward. For CLOs, having a development plan also means developing a plan to grow the next generation of learning leaders.
For that, we have an exciting new program launching this spring. The CLO Accelerator is a next-generation learning experience designed specifically with the needs of learning leaders in mind.
Developed by a faculty of award-winning CLOs, this online self-paced development program focuses on some of the most important topics for learning executives including leadership challenges, influencing skills, strategy development, funding and infrastructure, learning technology and, of course, creating your own personalized career development plan.
With those kinds of options, doing what you say is that much easier to do.