The world is changing and the dynamism we are going through now has a name - VUCA - which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. In simple terms, it means the world is more dynamic than ever before, more unpredictable than ever before, which makes it difficult to do business, make decisions, predict the future or even know how to impact it. As a result a lot of our past ability to do well and succeed is no longer relevant.
Try this. Hold a pencil in your wrong hand, which is the hand you don't normally use and attempt to write your name.Easy? No. And that's what the VUCA world has done to us. Rendered our competence and skills irrelevant. So what does this mean for professionals in a world that is dynamic, ever-changing and random? What capabilities do you need? Adaptiveness, rapid reaction times and constant ability to learn new things and evolve as the environment changes, learning agility and flexibility.
No one man will always have all the answers, hence the ability to crowd-source answers and solutions - which means subjugating your ego, walking away from the "leader is hero is saviour" mythology and being comfortable with letting others lead when they know better than you - practicing a facilitative leadership style.
The ownership for keeping skills and competencies sharpened will move to the employee. With the emergence of MOOCs,social media enabled knowledge and connections, which facilitate you to identify and appoint mentors across dimensions and distance, the role of L&D as the provider of knowledge and provider of resource is soon becoming extinct. Individuals need to own their own development and leverage the resources available in social media. Just recently, IBM cut salaries by 10 per cent, of employees who had not kept their skills updated. The world is changing! If you're an L&D person and you don't have a MOOC app on your phone, you're are already endangered!
What does this mean for organisational culture? It will require a culture that supports:
1. Rapid responses
2. Adaptive thinking or mistake making promotes exploratory thinking - safe-fail v/s failsafe
3. Inclusive and tolerant
As Jack Welch said, "If the rate of change inside your organisation is slower than the rate of change outside, the end is near". In such a scenario, the thinking and orientation must shift from being able to manage change TO being able to change on a dime which means Dynamism. The role of L&D thus becomes key in influencing the above cultural pillars. And to do so, is to select for the relevant traits, focus on interventions that help hone those traits. Traits and skills are honed by Experience. And that brings me to the 70:20:10.
More than ever before, CLOs will need to leverage the 70 per cent that is experience on the ground. So far, L&D has focused 90 per cent of its time and attention on the 10 per cent, training. More and more focus will have to be drawn to the 70 per cent and it will involve a reframing and reorientation of how L&D conceptualise their roles and their partnership with the business. IBM's corporate services corps is an exceptional example of leveraging the 70 per cent.
L&D professionals will have to move away from training calendars, move away from content and leverage MOOCs, move away from smile sheets and training needs analyses. They will need to develop an appreciation of the culture that will drive strategy. They will need to develop an understanding of the attitudes and traits that will support the culture. This will entail and complete reconceptualisation of their roles. They will have to give up the "control orientation" that underpins ownership of delivery, creation of content and the front-end appreciation of running workshops in sexy locations.
They will need to develop the ability to "marshall" resource; leverage MOOCs, leverage mentors in the system, identify in partnership with business - experiences that will develop, test and hone traits and competencies.