Training Industry Magazine - Summer 2014 - (Page 15)

TOOLS IN LEARNING LE AR NI N G TO L I V E t h e BRAND The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard lived long before change management and leadership development were invented. Yet, somehow he discovered the Achilles heal of both. "Life can only be understood backward," he observed, "but must be lived forward." Like the rest of us, change agents and enterprise leaders are physically "present in the moment." And though mystics promote a state of mindfulness that is also keyed to the present, innovators and leaders rarely buy into that. Instead, they scrutinize the past in order to predict what will happen in the future. On the basis of such "backward" understanding, they build models of the future that differ from what already exists. These models in turn generate idealistic strategies and investments that may be operationalized in the real world. Operationalizing is what Kierkegaard called living forward. Business planners call it placing bets. Statistically, and despite the heavy lifting of Big Data, such bets are often bad. That's a consequence of being stuck in the present, and having a view of the future that's warped by an incomplete understanding of the past. Absent a crystal ball, business planners are reduced to playing games of chance, rather than skill. Technologies like game theory and regression analysis may tame some of the risks, but not eliminate them. The technologies of systems thinking and dynamic modeling are another hedge against uncertainty. Not a crystal ball, but a speedy onramp to the future. Systems thinking doesn't predict what will happen, nor does it - ROBERT BECKER, PH.D. operationalize a bold strategy. Its genius is to make organizations "sense and relate" better to constituents and surroundings. Wharton's George Day believed the ability of any company to sense and relate is a key driver of its success. Systems thinking is a pragmatic tool for getting the driver to work. So, what does this have to do with education and training? Well, everything. To sense and relate is to take in everything that can be known and that matters to a company; to analyze and assimilate, and use the resulting insights to grow the enterprise. So, who performs the role of sensing and relating? Is it the C-suite, the marketing department and ad agency, social networks, sales and customer service, R&D or the back office? The correct answer is, all of the above, along with people who don't work for the company, such as owners, government regulators, vendors, customers, and communities of interest. All are stakeholders in a company's brand and together they comprise a learning organization. A learning organization facilitates the learning of members in order to continuously transform or change itself. Scientist Peter Senge calls this the Fifth Discipline - a brand name of systems thinking, of sensing and relating. All business education and training culminates in a master brand, since the brand is the promise a company makes to constituents, especially its customers. A brand is also the commercialized value of trust that a company has earned. T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - SUMMER201 4 I WWW.TRAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE The brand promise is the reason why a company exists. A company that faces an uncertain future (most companies) has only one reliable way to reduce risk when it lives forward, and that is to increase trust in itself. Trust ultimately depends on people, not on things. Education and training are thus levers of brand building, when they are used to create knowledge, skills, styles, attitudes, processes, and (crucially) the values that enable people to live their brand, and keep their promises. TRUST ULTIMATELY DEPENDS ON PEOPLE. People cannot invent the brand of an enterprise, but they can learn it. They can be trained to express it in interactions or "touchpoints" with colleagues and customers. When doing so, they can epitomize their company and become eligible for deeper, stronger relationships, based on trust and continuously enhanced by sensing, relating and sharing. By learning to live your brand, you bravely face not only what you are now, but embrace what you become as you continue to live forward. Robert S. Becker, Ph.D., designs advanced interactive learning for corporate and institutional clients. He operates Becker Multimedia and is an adjunct professor of serious games and gamification at Elmhurst College. Email Robert. 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Summer 2014

From Where I Sit
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Developing Emerging Talent Pipelines
The Inherent Inertia of Training
Stop Harping on Generational Differences
Learning to Live the Brand
Leading through a Merger and Acquisition
Organizational Change through Applied Learning
Influencing without Line Authority: A Key Skill for Virtual Project Managers
The Currency of Trust: The Difference between Flourishing and Floundering
Building Buy-in for Learning Investments
Sales Winners Sell Differently: How Selling Is and Isn't Changing
From Mind-Full to Mindful: The Intention/Instruction Intersection
The Implications of Organizational Forgetting
Casebook: ADP: Improving Sales Process Effectiveness
Sustaining Training's Impact
Managing at the Speed of Business
Becoming an Authentic Leader
What's Online
Company News

Training Industry Magazine - Summer 2014