July 16, 2018
BIZ BOOKS

Companies must commit to worker education programs

"Learning to Succeed: Rethinking Corporate Education in a World of Unrelenting Change" by Jason Wingard (Thomas Nelson, $24.95).

Decades ago, management guru W. Edwards Deming wrote: "Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation." Given that training budgets are still among the first cuts when companies experience financial difficulties, it's apparent that many C-level execs don't believe that continuous learning creates success.

Wingard, formerly the managing director and chief learning officer of Goldman Sachs, drives home Deming's point again: "Well-planned and administered (education) programs will contribute to return on investment in nearly every sector of a company." His "continuous integration of learning and strategy" (CILS) model makes learning part of strategic planning. First, CILS identifies what needs to be learned to effectively execute the strategic plan. Next, it uses 4Cs — communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity — as tactics to develop a thought leadership and insight framework for managers and their subordinates.

The "organization" weighs in on what it needs to succeed. Group input crystalizes and shares the information and experiences of "a tapestry of topics," including management and operations.

Part of the process involves asking employees for input on how what they learned from the group can affect their roles.

Overall, the group-think provides a framework for organizing learning around various topics. Once identified, information can be distributed formally and informally to those involved.

Wingard points out that the CILS process involvement isn't just for large firms. Group meetings can be coffee-and-donuts discussions. Information can be provided to employees by disseminating information from trade publications and trade associations.

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