The Power of the “P” Word

latestnewsAccording to the World Bank, the US economy will continue grow at a slightly more rapid pace this year than it did in 2013. After reading and analyzing the report, they also predict that hiring will not match the growth for a number of reasons, from automation to the lack of technologically skilled workers.

The implications are more growth plus less hiring equals accelerated performance from the workforce. What does that mean for learning and development organization? It means learning must lead to improved performance.

One of the biggest drivers is the exodus of the millions of Boomers and the entrance of the Millennials.  The Boomers are taking with them 30 plus years of performance. They are one of the reasons this country has been outperforming the rest of the world since the end of WWII. What will happen to everything they know about being top performers? Short of a movie-like Matrix mind connection, how do you transfer that knowledge and know-how and equal that level of performance?

It’s All about Performance

Performance with a capital “P” continues to be on every list in this New Year.  It seemed to be part of the many surveys and discussions, webinars and demos that Brandon Hall Group did last year. For instance:

  • Learning and Development is still searching for ways to develop programs that enabled greater performance. L&D leaders taking a hard look at the informal side of the learning equation, trying to extend the learning value chain outside the company and measure performance downstream from the training or program.
  • Talent seemed focused on best practices for identifying  the people who were or would become top performers
  • Leadership Development conversations often turned to the best ways to develop leaders who inspired everyone to perform at their highest levels.
  • HR was concerned with discovering what enabled and disabled performance within their organization.

Improving performance in the L&D space – and providing the hard data to prove it – has always been difficult. I recently completed the Brandon Hall Group research showing that the emergence of cloud-based LMS Suites and LCMS programs, with their ability to connect with other cloud-based business systems like HRIS, may finally allow L&D organizations to start to find the answers to the following questions about the relationship of learning to performance:

  • What happens after the learning is completed? How well did it impact performance?
  • Was there any way to identify high=performing or especially talented individuals during the learning program?
  • Did performing well in a learning environment translate into higher performance in the workplace? If not, why not?

From L&D to L&P

I started out as a director of a training organization. From there I became a director of a training and development Group. After that, I was a VP of a learning and development department. From TO to T&D to L&D, the names changed , but the focus on performance remained the same.

In my latest career as the principal learning analyst for Brandon Hall Group, I want to make a recommendation. This year change Learning and Development into Learning and Performance. L&D becomes L&P. We are living in a flat, hypercompetitive new world. Competition is moving fast and faster. Personal development takes too much time. Performance is what is really needed. Needed now, not someday, since now has become the new standard for performance.  Connecting the dots between learning and higher performance would be a big step toward meeting the learning, talent, and leadership challenges of the future.

So here’s to the newly named L&P Groups in 2014!

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