Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008 - (Page 38)

MEET BOB DEAN hile learning itself is as old as time, the corporate learning industry in its current incarnation is still fresh enough to be unique in many ways. One obvious area of uniqueness is the route individuals take to arrive at their positions. Some come from business backgrounds, some come from education backgrounds and some find their own personalized paths. That’s where Bob Dean comes into the story. Now serving as vice president of learning and talent development for the executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles, Dean started his collegiate studies with journalism in mind, taking advantage of his innate creativity and “right-brain skills.” But as often happens in college, life waylaid those best-laid plans when Dean took an accounting course … and enjoyed it greatly. “So, I used all my left-brain skills to become a CPA, and did that for the next seven years,” Dean said. After college, Dean went to work for Arthur Young, then one of the leading accounting firms, which evolved to become Ernst & Young. Eventually, that firm offered him the chance to enter a residency program where he spent 18 months in the training department. You probably can guess the end of the story: His interest in learning was piqued, and he never returned to accounting. “I’m basically bringing a background of strong business skills and combining it with my right-brain creative side and my passion for learning and development,” Dean said. Dean’s career took him to another accounting firm, Grant Thornton, where he spent five years as their chief learning officer. His award-winning work there eventually led to his current PEER REVIEW W challenge, leading a global learning team at Heidrick & Struggles, working heavily to align learning with talent management and using learning to power the transformation of the business. “I don’t know many people in the learning field who can say they have used learning to truly drive change in the business,” Dean said. “Most training, especially if you go back to the threeday class, is “check-the-box” training. That’s not transformation. Research shows that 80% of what gets taught in a classroom is forgotten. That’s not going to drive transformation.” Dean’s mission to drive change for the 1,800 global Heidrick & Struggles employees is focused now on creating continuous development experiences using a variety of learning methods. “You have to go beyond, the classroom and use a combination of learning channels,” Dean said. “By learning channels, I mean webcasts, online communities, peer coaching, mentoring, reference tools you can access on your iPod – everything many of us do to learn when we are outside the corporate environment. “A lot of companies have been trying this, but it’s still early. I don’t think too many have cracked the nut.” So even now, Dean’s career is evolving, to the point where he said in some ways, he’s now more coach and designer, seeking to create a global learning environment. “You need to find where your passion is. Whether you do it in college or afterward, you have to find it, because that’s where you’re going to want to spend your time,” Dean said. “My passion was in the creative area. Where I’ve really grown is in the creative side of learning and development. I also enjoy helping people thrive.” 38 Training Industry Quarterly, Fall 2008 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008

Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008
At the Editor's Desk
Ezine Email
Winning Organizations Through People
Before You Buy...
Learning Technologies
Informal Learning: Embracing Web 2.0
Leveraging Cutting-Edge Technologies for Learning
Reshaping the Learning Function to Think and Act Globally
The Importance and Growth of Customer Training
Meet Josh Blair
Meet Bob Dean
Meet Mark Myette
Training America's High-Flying Heroes
Closing Arguments

Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2008