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OPINION Head of Learning and Development at O2

viewp int Practitioner’s

businesses has the appetite to back up what it says it wants from L&D. Be willing to throw out ROI as a

key metric and focus on aligning to existing metrics. Be a performance consultant and give the business choices so it can decide on its destiny. Let your users do the talking


he last 20 years have taught me many things in training, learning and organisational

development. So for me, it is clear that if we want to fl ourish as a profession, we need to develop some key characteristics. T ey don’t neces- sarily need to be gained all at once, but unlocked in all of us over time.

This much I know …

First and foremost, learning professionals should be passionate about the role they play in transforming businesses performance. And they should make their own development their number one priority. To do your most

eff ective work, try to develop the ability to align to the business and off er a service that is relevant. Focus on how the business can gain optimum value from its investment. On that note, don’t be shy to fi nd out what the business really wants from its L&D investment and where it thinks resources should be spent. Be willing to test new ideas – and ask for funding to trial these new concepts. T is will show that the

38 | December 2016 |

through engagement and good stories. Embrace digital learning and video and be comfortable that these only add to your portfolio of off erings – don’t feel you have to remove and replace any techniques you already use. It’s important to manage

people’s expectations. Explain that change is a marathon and not a sprint and take every day as a new day and a new opportunity. Finally, aim to improve by 1 per cent every day and make incremental changes – that will

Paul Morgan on the characteristics needed by learning professionals to survive and thrive in the next �ive years

have more impact than attempting to make one big change.

Challenge the status quo

It is a fantastic privilege to be part of this industry but for some reason we have not learnt the lessons from the last 20 years. We need to drive the business and be disruptive in order to prove our value. If you feel you can’t, then move to a company where you can. It is usually a lack

We need to drive the business and be disruptive in order to prove our value

of willingness to challenge the organisation that prevents change and therefore prevents L&D from becoming a business driver at the forefront of strategic decisions. I sometimes wonder whether

people have fallen into this career and whether they have a true passion. As harsh as it sounds, these people should step aside and enable the new breed of learning professional to take hold. Of course, learning pro-

fessionals can’t be great without

great leaders, and this extends to HR directors, CEOs and heads of L&D. T e profession needs investment in people, the process and the realisation that the L&D profession can, and does, make a diff erence to the bottom line. T ink of L&D like a plant – leave it alone and it will die.

Paul is head of L&D at O2. Follow him on Twitter @pmorganwales


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