CARA had the privilege of sponsoring the 10th Annual Chicagoland Learning Leaders Conference again this year. It was held at McDonald’s Hamburger University on September 28, 2011 and engaged Learning Leaders from corporations around Chicago and across southern Wisconsin.
As an Account Manager, this is a main event for me – an opportunity to network with my clients and other strategic members of the learning community, in a non-sales environment. I always come away with valuable lessons learned and this year did not disappoint.
The theme of this year’s conference focused on accelerating leadership development. Here are some highlights:
ACCELERATING LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
The morning’s keynote speaker was Harry Kraemer, former CEO of Baxter, Professor of Management and Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and author of the book, From Values to Action.
Mr. Kraemer shared his insights on leadership, including characteristics of an emerging leader. Emerging leaders:
- Lead immediately even though they’re not in a leadership position. This is the type of person that doesn’t wait for permission, he or she takes the lead and makes things happen.
- Are disciplined and choose good habits.
- ‘Lead up’, meaning they know how to influence the C-level (this is key and the hardest to accomplish).
- Undergo self-reflection. Kramer advised a leader needs to know and lead herself before she can lead others.
- Demonstrate true self-confidence, he knows what he’s not good at, and admits it so he can surround himself with people who are good at “it”.
In summary, Harry Kraemer high-lighted his own lessons learned in identifying four key elements of a successful leader:
- Life/work balance
- True self-confidence
- Humility – never forget “the cube” you came from
Well, the morning’s keynote presentation set the tone for a day of collaboration with 70-80 corporate thought leaders and a difficult choice to select among 25 interactive sessions, including a case study presented by CARA’s own client, Kathleen Long, Director of Organizational Development at Career Education Corporation. Kathleen presented Building Foundational Management Skills to Accelerate Organizational Change. Kathleen shared how her organization rebuilt the necessary skills across middle management that had been depleted by the economic impact of corporate downsizing. She provided an inspiring model for other organizations to go back to basics.
The afternoon keynote presentation was equally noteworthy.
THE FUTURE OF TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT
Cigna’s Chief Learning Officer, Karen Kocher, was the afternoon’s keynote speaker. In her session, The Future of Training & Development: Identifying Behaviors, Competencies & Skills to Sustain High Performance, Karen shared trends emerging in the workforce over the next 10 years.
Karen’s insights were drawn, in part, from a recent study of more than 3,000 global CEOs. The study indicated that talent development is one of the top five differentiators a company must leverage for future success. Here are some other highlights that will impact the future of corporate learning and development:
- ”Smart mobbing” or “Swarming” – a process where sources from across the organization come together just to solve one problem and then dissolve.
- Millennials, born between 1980 and 1995, will be a force, and with only about 80 million of them, there will not be enough to fill the jobs required.
- Telecommuting will continue to be on the rise.
- Employees will prefer more job flexibility for less pay.
- Company Alumni networks will continue to grow, leveraging social media practices to stay in touch.
- Employees will want to be treated as individuals by HR, personally tailored programs and initiatives will be important to retaining key employees.
These trends appeared to resonate among the learning and talent executives in the room. The challenges facing corporate leaders to attract and retain the future brightest and best in the workforce are both exciting and daunting.
On a personal note, I have to continue a conversation with my clients to ensure CARA stays ahead of the curve and provides value to their future learning, performance and change management needs.
The 10th Annual Chicagoland Learning Leaders Conference was successful again this year. Learning thought leaders and vendor partners seemed to come away with solid lessons learned and an optimistic view of the future of workforce learning and development.