In order to maximize the impact of training, it’s critical that learning programs are aligned with the intended behavior change and your organization’s goals. While L&D professionals understand this, achieving this level of strategic alignment and collaboration can be difficult and in many cases elusive, as learning professionals are pushed into the role of “order takers” rather than strategic partners.
In this episode of the podcast, we speak with chief learning officer, speaker and author Dr. Keith Keating, to explore the guidance and tools he has compiled in his new book, “The Trusted Learning Advisor.” In the book, Dr. Keating shares why learning professionals must evolve to earn and maintain the much-desired seat at the table, but also presents tools and templates to help you get there.
- “The Trusted Learning Advisor” (book by Keith Keating on Amazon.com)
- Dr. Keith Keating’s website
- Related Episode: “Leading L&D: Creating the Environment for Growth,” with Jay Letourneau of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Hello and welcome to the AXIOM Insights Learning and Development podcast. This is a podcast focused on improving performance through learning.
We all know that as learning professionals we need to find ways to work with the leadership and stakeholders in our organization to find ways to make learning more effective- and to do that by building trust and alignment between learning and learning measurement activities and the strategy and desired outcomes of the business – in other words, having a meaningful seat at the table.
And that’s really the topic I’m exploring today with my guest.
Dr. Keith Keating is a Chief Learning Officer and Talent Officer and has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies around the world. He is an industry keynote speaker and an advocate for talent development, and the author of the new book called The Trusted Learning Advisor, which can be described as both a manifesto for the need of learning professionals to elevate our place in our organizations, but also an instruction manual and tool kit for how we can make that happen.
I would say you’re correct. It’s part manifesto and part toolkit, and I wrote it with the intention that it’s not a sit down and read the book cover to cover and be done with it and think, Oh, that was a nice story. This is something that I expect learning development leaders and practitioners will have on their desk, throughout their journey throughout their transformation. And when a situation arises, new client, difficult relationship, still receiving the order wanting to grow as learn development practitioner, that they’re going to go to the guide, open up that chapter and digest really what’s there. The reason I say that is, and you correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s a little overwhelming. It’s nothing but strategies, tactics, best practices, tools, tips and tricks. And 260 pages of that can be a lot. And I knew that going into it. But I also had so much that I wanted to share that’s helped me on my journey that I did not want to leave anything out. And so I struggled with that and just thought it’s going to be both manifesto, it’s going to be a toolkit and a guide to help our industry evolve.
To your question about the why. We have been inherently order takers since the beginning of L&D being involved or part of organizations. And that’s how it started. It started with managers determining what workers needed to do. And they told us what they needed to do, and we went and trained them on what to do. We started as order takers, but over the years, we have gained a different set of skill sets practitioner skills, experience, we understand now the science of learning, we have a lot of other value outside of just being order takers. And I’ve experienced being an order taker throughout my entire career. And I’m still treated like an order taker. Regardless of being a Doctor in Education, regardless of my job title, or anything else.
We’re at a stage right now where it’s no longer we can just sit passively and be order takers. We have to be trusted learning advisors. We have to be strategic business partners at this point, because our future depends on it. And the statement that I’m using which we’ve used for ages is, “evolve, or else,” and really, the choice is ours.
And what I mean by that is, we didn’t have a great threat before. It wasn’t like there was something that could necessarily replace us there is now and AI is truly a threat to the portions of L&D that is mediocre. And what I mean by that is, our business partners can now go to chat GPT whatever their favorite AI tool is, and in minutes, they can create a course. It’s not going to be great. It’s not going to follow the science of learning and what we do, but it’s going to be good and sometimes good is simply good enough.
And I’m already hearing executives ask, well, then do I need an L&D department? If I can just go and create a quick sales course or a leadership course myself? That’s the answer that we have to proactively answer for them, or excuse me, that’s the question. We have to proactively answer for them. And we have to be demonstrating that value of why we still need to be existing in the future when there are tools that can complement us, in my opinion, not necessarily replace us, but there’s this whole other value proposition that we’ve got to be adding in to the conversation. And that is being a strategic business partner, otherwise known as a trusted learning advisor.
And that’s owning your own expertise, right? Because and I’ll use the parallel of medicine, because I think that there’s a little bit of truth there to say, well, individuals can go on WebMD now, and self diagnose and it to some degree, you can you can buy things over the counter and self treat. There is still however, I think, a value that most people wouldn’t argue too much about, to go into your physician who has the expertise and the context to be able to do that, what you describe in L&D is intake, discover analysis decision. It’s understand the symptoms, prescribe the right solution, and follow it through. Is that a fair parallel?
Absolutely, in fact, I am guilty of being a WebMD expert. And the minute there’s something wrong, I go to WebMD, I search it, I get the list, I go to my doctor, and I give them the order, hey, I research this, here’s my ailments, here’s what I think we need to do to solve it. And they say thank you very much. Sit down, we’re going to take your blood pressure, and we’re going to start over and we’re going to do it our way. And I listen, because they’re the expert. They are my trusted advisor.
So even though I went into that conversation with the order, and wanted them to be the order taker, so that I could get out of there quickly. That’s not how they operate. That’s the same mentality that we have to follow. It’s the same respect that we essentially need to demand, not overtly, but indirectly, by demonstrating the value that we can provide through things like the IDAD process, intake, discovery, analysis and decision. So yes, your analogy is spot on.
It’s interesting, too, I think when we think about what’s the role of the trusted learning advisor, and how do we how do we elevate ourselves in an organizational conversation, part of it is trust. And we’ll get into talking about how we build trust internally, I’m sure, as we get through this conversation, but part of it is also just realizing that the solutions that we bring forward and the answers to the problems that we’re given have to be responsive to the request, right? We can’t say everything needs to be, to use the extreme example, everything can’t be a 40 hour sit down classroom course. Nor can everything be microlearning. In a session that Jay Letourneau of the MBTA did for us when we went to the TICE conference this past summer. He sort of said to the room well, look, you know that question, that’s a job aid, that’s not the course. That’s a piece of paper that teaches you that the street sign has changed in the case of his example. Sometimes small is okay. And so is part of this building trust right-sizing your response to the person you’re speaking to?
100%. And I would add on to what you were saying is you maybe it’s a job aid, maybe it’s not even training at all, there have been so many situations where it has nothing to do with us. But we are often the scapegoat, we’re the easy out. There’s a there’s an issue, there’s a pain point somewhere in the organization, one of the first responses, is well, they need training. And what that does is it creates this subset or divisive mindset, if you will, where we’re sending a group of people, we’re not giving them any support beforehand, we’re not giving them any support after hand. And then we’re sending them to, you know, a room or virtual, we’re saying, hey, for this number of hours sit in here, and that’s going to solve the problem. That is a start and a stop, they leave. Nothing changes. Six months later, the business partner stakeholder goes back and says, Hey, you know, we told you to create training and we sent them there and didn’t fix the problem. Well, did we know what the problem was? Did we know how we were going to measure it? Did we know what the value proposition looked like at this? Did we know whether training was actually the issue here at all? And the answer is often no, we don’t.
So to your point. In summary, it’s not always training that’s the problem. But we have to have the skill set to be able to have that conversation with our stakeholders and our business partners. And sometimes it’s about the gentle art of persuasion, and the art of negotiation and influence. I mean, influence is one of the most important skills that we need to have as trusted learning advisors. I’m in so many situations with organizations that I work with, especially as a consultant, sometimes, I don’t have a team, I don’t have any authority there. So how do you change your mindset when you don’t have that authority? And it’s influence? It’s persuasion, it’s negotiation.
Yeah, and that’s really the root of the matter. Because if especially if you’re coming into a new organization, or new role, and you’re trying to influence expectations that have been built up, sometimes over years or decades, where, you know, if you’re in a room– let’s just take a hypothetical, you’re sitting down with someone new on the first meeting, and they’re saying, I need you to train my people to this, here’s the problem. Here’s, here’s what I want you to do. As a new person, you’re sort of sitting there saying, well, no, let’s take a beat. And you’re pushing back. And that’s uncomfortable.
It is, and, and we can unpack this in multiple ways. So one of the ways is, their expectation immediately is, “stay in your lane.” You haven’t built up credibility with me yet, who are you to come in and push back? So we often have that stay in the lane mentality. And that’s where I think, you know, subtle strategy, persistence. But collaborative engagement is also important. Now, in a situation where it’s a brand new relationship, and we’re having that conversation, sometimes we do take the order upfront.
And I use this analogy, when someone’s house is on fire. And there’s an emergency, you don’t stand back and say, okay, you know what, let’s do a root cause analysis. And let’s figure out was it electrical? Was it arson? Did you leave a candle burning, and you leave the stove on, you don’t do any of that, you don’t do a needs analysis. You get as much water as you can, and you put that fire out. Once it’s stabilized, then you’re in a situation where you can look retrospectively. And a lot of times with new relationships, that’s the approach that we have to take is, we need to take the order to build our credibility, to build that relationship, build the trust. And then at some point in the future, once we’ve demonstrated that we can successfully listen to them and execute, then they give us the opportunity to get into the conversation earlier rather than later.
Because when you’re in that room for the first time, you’ve already missed the opportunity for your needs analysis and all the other things that we know we need to do. And, and that’s okay, for right then, as long as you’re having that conversation with them. And also being upfront with them, I would even say, goes to be as bold as to say, “in the future, I’d love to have this conversation sooner. I know that right now you’re having this challenge. And we’re going to help you solve this challenge.”
You can still talk about what are the ways that we’re going to measure this successfully, what is the type of support that we’re going to receive in the organization to make sure this is successful. And at that point, those are the types of conversations you can have. And even just planting the seeds about the fact that you want to do root cause analysis, you want to do quantitative or qualitative research next time. So that it’s they’re hearing that they’re planting the seeds, but you’re also executing on what it is they want to accomplish at that moment.
There’s this balance that we really have to we really have to navigate between being an order taker, and being a trusted learning advisor. And I would say it’s, there’s a scale. And my goal is not necessarily to be an order taker, but it’s to take the order. And there’s a difference in the mindset between those two, because an order taker will take the order and just execute and be done. Hey, look, I did what you told me to do. Here it is. When you’re taking the order, you’re listening to them. You’re acknowledging the situation that they’re in, and you’re willing to go and put forth the work. Now while maybe what they have asked you to do is happening, subsequently, you can have a second line of defense happening, where maybe you are doing some qualitative or quantitative research separately. Maybe you are doing some root cause analysis, you’re still working the swim lane, Option A which is exactly what they’ve asked, but maybe you’re also starting on option B so that you can present to them more than one option in the future.
I liked it in the in the book you, you sort of refer to your stakeholders as a customer. With the notion that, and I think this builds on what you were just saying, your job is not only to meet them where they are, and give them what they’re asking for and solve, you know, solve the house on fire problem. But also find ways to surprise and delight and impress them, impress being my word. But that’s the tool you can use or a tool, you can use them to go back and say, six months, a year later, as your relationship matures, we’ll say this is why it would be better if we have the upfront conversation.
The surprise and delight is such an important part of being a trusted adviser and think of it just like customer service, I think we would be hard pressed if we couldn’t remember the last time that somebody surprised and delighted us, you know, that becomes almost our new normal, but those really stay in our mind. There’s a scale, you know, we remember the horrible, horrible experiences. And we also remember those great ones.
And so for me, my motto is I want to always surprise and delight my stakeholder. And I want to be thinking one step ahead of them. So one of my personal best practices, which I talked about in the book is, if my stakeholder had to reach out to me, first, I’ve failed. I want to be so connected, I want to have the reoccurring conversations, I want to be embedded in the business, I want to be engaging with them, that they don’t need to reach out to me.
But something else that you brought up is when I think of the stakeholder, and this is important for us as an industry to remember is, oftentimes our stakeholder or customer is also an order taker. And we’ve got to remember that, you know, we feel like we’re the order taker, but we’re looking at them as the person that’s giving that order when oftentimes, they’re the ones that are also given an order, and we’re passing that they’re passing that order to us. And so we’ve got to remember that they just might be a messenger conveying a statement conveying a problem from another part of the business. And this adds a nuanced layer to how we think about the needs analysis. You know, it’s not just about understanding the request. But it’s also about appreciating the dynamics of the requester. And the situation that they’re in and really being empathetic to them. And it goes back to kind of the fire statement. We don’t know necessarily what’s happening behind the scenes and what’s triggered this pain point. But at the end of the day, I believe our goal is to make our stakeholders the hero of their own story. It’s not about us elevating how great L&D is, it’s about elevating our stakeholders, and the problems that they’re facing, so that they become the heroes. And indirectly, we become the heroes that are supporting them. And that starts to build the trust, it builds the credibility, it builds the relationships. And that’s what gets us into the conversation sooner rather than later.
It builds that interpersonal aspect of it too, because there’s nothing that I think more powerful in our organization is to be working with a group of colleagues that turn to you and say, you know, what, you made us look good.
And to add to that, what I love too, is when they come to us and say what do you think? That’s when you know, that you’ve made it is when you’re brought into that conversation before it becomes an order.
And that is built off of your credibility, your trust and your relationships. And for me, when I think about credibility, that’s when you’re perceived as being believable and trustworthy. And the only way that you can accomplish that is by truly possessing L&D practitioner skills.
And one thing about our industry, it’s very inclusive. We accept anybody, which, in transparency, I didn’t have experience. And so I am wholeheartedly admitting I’m one of the people that joined this industry, zero experience zero skills, became a trainer. I was the worst trainer that ever existed. But I had tenacity, and I got better each day I studied, I studied hard to practice hard. And I built the skills up. And so I apologize to all of my early trainees who are in my class. I’m trying to make up for it now.
But when that trajectory is so so common, I can’t I couldn’t even tell you, or even begin to count how many people I’ve met over the years who have that I stepped into training because you know, it was an opportunity. It was a challenge. It was a need. The other trainer had something [come up], someone needed someone to step up and I did. But you felt your way through it. So many people do that.
It’s beautiful, but it’s also dangerous. It’s beautiful because it gives people an opportunity. It’s dangerous, because anybody can and is joining. And then they call themselves learning and development practitioners. And then they get in the room, and they don’t have the skill set to follow through with it. They’re not able to have these types of conversations. They’re not trusted learning advisors, they don’t know the science of learning. You’ve got to understand the science of learning.
There is truly a science behind what we do, and the way the brain works, and the way people learn. And when you don’t have those skill sets, you’re doing a disservice to you, to your learners to your organization, but to our entire industry, because then it perpetuates this belief that anybody can be in L&D. So why do we need an L&D department? Just let Mary take over you know, she’s in HR, she’s doing this that they can they can do that as well. I still see people cycled through L&D, who are business subject matter experts, today. I know a number of fortune 500 companies when I ask, Hey, how did you get in here? Oh, well, I was in the business. I was in operations. And I just I knew the product. And so they decided to make me part of L&D.
That’s who I wrote this book for, I mean, for the whole industry, but also for them, because I want everyone to have a guide as a baseline. For me, this book is about the baseline of the minimum viable product of what we should be if we want to still exist 20 years from now.
So let’s talk about the elements that you lay out in the book about—you call them the five pillars of trust. And I think we’ve touched on a few of these, but some of the book you talk about really the these pillars, I’m just going to list them out. And we can we can put them perhaps on the episode page to make it an easier resource for people to refer to. But we’re talking about credibility, reliability, intention, communication, and then what you call professional intimacy, which is perhaps a tricky, tricky pillar, but one that’s important. So we’ve talked about credibility, you need to be a subject matter expert in the science of learning in the process of learning, as well as the topic, your’re instructing on. Reliability and communication, I think, to me, go together; I think intention is an interesting one. Because that’s, that’s built in conversations where we’re reminding stakeholders that you’re on the same team, that you’re after the same goal that you’re with them. And I think sometimes that gets missed.
It does. So to me, intention is about being transparent about the desired outcomes as well. It’s about being bold. It’s about purpose, your motives, and ensuring that that’s aligned with what you’re communicating to stakeholders. And order takers don’t do that. We just say yes, yes. You know, we’ll do it. Oh, yes, that’ll be the outcome. Yes, we’re going to change all their behaviors, and we’re going to increase your sales tenfold, and everything’s going to be great. Yes, yes, yes. That’s not a true intention.
I want to go back a minute, though, because you had mentioned that reliability and communication to you kind of go together. I would, I would differ a little bit, because to me, reliability–
At any point– I’m paraphrasing your book!
Okay. If I said that, I need to go back to do a version two.
No, no, that was my that was my paraphrasing. So yes, reliability, go ahead.
So for me, reliability is consistently delivering on your promises and being dependable. And that really relies on you being aware of your own strength and your own limitations. And so all the five pillars are connected, they’re not, you know, maybe a pillar isn’t really the right way to think of it, I think of it maybe now more as threads.
These are the threads that really hold us together as trusted learning advisors, but also to create trust. So first, you’ve got to have your credibility, you have to be believable and authentic. And to do that, you have to have competencies is an L&D practitioner, then you need to be reliable. You need to be consistently delivering on your promises. You’ve got to be dependable, which involves you being aware of your own limitations and your own strengths so that you’re not out there committing to things that you know, we can’t do. Then there’s professional intimacy. And that’s where you’re establishing a close relationship and a deep understanding of our stakeholders, our stakeholders are people. They’re humans. We’ve got to be empathetic to them and understand them as a human. You know, it’s not just getting into meetings and getting right to business. But do you have conversations with them before the meeting? Do you go out for coffee? Do you stay after? Do you know about their family? Do you know what they like what they don’t like. You don’t need to be best friends with them. But you do need to make an effort to understand who they are as a human. And for me, that’s about empathy.
And then there’s intention. Being transparent about those desired outcomes, your purpose. What’s your motive? Stakeholders can see right through those who have ill intentions or their own selfish motivation. And if for whatever reason, you’re going to have a selfish motivation, communicate that be transparent with your stakeholder, because that should align to that. Maybe your intention is I want to win the award, I want to be the best learning and development organization. Your stakeholder wants that as well. So why not be transparent about that motive and have that communication, because that’s going to make them look good, that makes the business look good.
And then last is communication. And that’s being honest and transparent. And this is an important one, avoiding technical language. And that we do so much of. When I say technical language, I’m talking about our speak our language, our acronyms, our lexicons. Do you think your stakeholder knows anything about Kirkpatrick or Philips ROI, or Elton or learning transfer, or LXPs, LMSs. They don’t know any of that. And that’s not their job to know any of that. It is our job to understand their language and to pivot the words that we use the acronyms, the vocabulary. We keep all of our, our learning and development jargon to ourself, we can use it amongst our own group. But when you’re talking to your stakeholders, it’s their language that we’ve got to be using. So those are the five pillars.
I liked also in the book, you sort of build from that to the what you call the partner expectation and commitment charter, which, to me touches on a lot of those points, but puts them down in writing, and forces almost the conversation to say, look, this is what we’re doing, and what we agree on, and how we’re going to measure it and how we’re going to proceed. So you can really, I think, eliminate or at least reduce the risk of assumptions being baked in. But so how did you come to that?
How great would it be if when you met somebody new, they came with a warning label, so that you knew immediately specific things about that, like, for me, for example, my face, I have what’s called RBF, resting brat face. So when you see me on the street, or you see me at a meeting, my face looks like I’m angry. That’s just my DNA, I can’t change that. But if we’re just building a relationship, and I said to you upfront, hey, this will let you know my face, don’t try and read it, it doesn’t really show how I’m feeling I have RBF.
Or another example, I hate the phone. My ringer is never turned on. For some reason, when the phone rings, that gives me anxiety, it has for years. So my ringer is never on. If it’s an emergency, and you are calling me, I will never get the phone call. But if you text me or you send me an email, I will respond to you in two to three minutes, no matter what time of day it is, I’m always connected, I’m always reachable, just not by the phone. So just those two pieces of information about me already give you insight and already setting our relationship up for success.
So the partner expectation and commitment charter is a tool, a framework that you use, a template, the minute you meet a new stakeholder, you’re building a relationship, this is something that you fill out together. Or you can take time and you can fill out your portion, they can fill out their portion, then you can come together and compare notes, however you want to do it. The point is, it’s a tool that helps you understand the other person helps them understand you gives clear communication, understanding and accountability in our relationship, which puts that emphasis back on trust and the performance and the trust and learner advisor model. And this is it. It’s an iterative, organic tool. It’s not kind of just like a one and done and we leave it but you’re setting this up up-front. So you know what is our expectations? What can I expect of you as my partner? How often do you like to be communicated with? What’s the method you’d like to use to communicate? Like for me, it’s not the phone, I’d rather have a face to face. But to have zoom, lets text text me anytime, I’ll get back to you. So you’re laying out that foundation of what your relationship is going to look like. And you’re creating those expectations and commitments from day one, you can go back and refer to it throughout your relationship, you can change it, you can update it, but it’s also helping you from that intimacy standpoint, it’s helping you from the communication standpoint, it’s hitting on all of those five pillars.
And I think just the process of filling that out, or even just the fact that you’d have that in your hand, when you walk in the door, there’s a, it can be a tremendously powerful thing in a workplace. I’ll use an example from my own professional career. I had just started a position with the University of California back in the day. And I made a point and I sat down with some of the academic directors, one on one, we just sat down, tell me about your world? I wanted to learn. And one of them came to me a year, maybe two later, and in shared with me that, in their view, because they were junior on the job, or they’ve only had that role for a short period of time. They said, well, why does he want to listen to me? And it made such an impression, I didn’t even realize it at the time. But being present and being an active listener, can change the dynamic interpersonally. And so, you know, this charter process to me is you’re taking that and building it out on steroids.
It’s a commitment and a foundation for building a successful partnership. What it does is it allows you to acknowledge there’s a mutual respect. And that’s what you’re just talking about in terms of a wise person to listen to me, it’s kind of respect, it’s out of understanding. Ultimately, it’s about the fact that we share the same outcome, and that’s wanting to be successful. So this is a tool that allows us to identify what are our shared objectives? What are we trying to achieve together in this partnership?
In Keith’s book, he also presents a five level assessment called the L&D Maturity Level Model, which measures how you, as an L&D professional, are engaging with your organization, and also provides a roadmap or guide about what you can do to elevate your own performance. So I asked him to walk through the L&D Maturity Level Model, and explain what it is, what it means and how to use it.
The intention is it’s an instrument that allows you to gauge where you are today. So that you know where you need to be going tomorrow. And we think about how do we want to evolve? What do we need to improve on? You have to know where you are today. Now, I’ve spoken with a lot of L&D practitioners, I’ve been guilty of this too. We assess ourselves. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I think of myself. It matters what my business partner thinks, what my stakeholders think. What my organization thinks.
I’ve joined a couple of organizations, L&D groups before and in the beginning, they’ll say, hey, you know, how do you think we’re doing? How are you doing? Oh, my gosh, we’re great. We’re great. Our level one, surveys are great. Our business partners love us. How do you know this? Oh, well, you know, then they tell us they love the lunches.
Okay, so let’s take a step back. And let’s do a couple of things. One, let’s have a self reflection and assessment, which we can do, where do we fall on this model? But more importantly, what’s the perception of our stakeholders? Where do they see us? Because at the end of the day, that’s what value what we need to value the most is how others perceive us. It’s not about how we perceive ourselves. So I look at it at a few ways. How am I doing on the model? Where do I fall? Where does my team fall? Because there can be a significant difference. I may be what I think is a trusted learning advisor, but my team may not be there yet.
And this is not an insult. It’s not meant in a negative manner. But it’s critical for us to evaluate where are we on this maturity model? Because we can’t just go out to the business and say we are trusted learning advisors to me you will not anoint yourself with that title ever, just like leader, you don’t put on your business card leader. You might put manager, you might put CEO, but you don’t say leader. Other people are the ones that will determine whether or not you are a leader because if nobody’s following you then you’re not leading anybody. Ready. And it’s the same thing with being a trusted learning adviser, I’m not going to anoint myself with this, it’s going to be up to how my business partners, my stakeholders perceive me, perceive the business unit. And so the maturity model is a way that we can, on an ongoing basis measure where we are, and what we need to be working on.
And regardless of where an individual might fall on that maturity model, there’s, there’s an implicit responsibility that goes with that to just say, Well, you have to keep, keep the learning in learning, right? Train yourself. Whether that’s trained yourself to better your skills, even if you if you’re satisfied being the learning administrator, you still have to advance your skill set. But certainly, if you want to advance your practice.
Exactly, you will never be a trusted learning advisor in perpetuity. It is not a destination, it is a journey. And it’s going to ebb and flow like most things do in our life. I am sometimes perceived as a trusted learning advisor. And sometimes I’m perceived and treated like an order taker. And that’s going to be the way that the journey essentially flows. So it’s just important to remember that that it is a journey, it’s not a destination. And it’s something that we need to continuously strive for. Because there might be moments you achieve it, or the next day, you might come in, and you’re back to somebody throwing an order over the wall for you.
We have an opportunity in front of us. And the opportunity is we can evolve, or else. The choice is ours. At this point, we are at a phase where there is technology that could conceivably replace us. We’re at a phase where we’ve been order takers long enough that some parts of the business are starting to question what value we have, what’s the relevance for us. And it’s time for us to move away from that comfortable position of being an order taker, because sometimes it is way more comfortable to just say, Yes, I’ll get it done. Even though you know, in your head, it’s not the right solution. It’s not going to change the behavior. It’s not going to change the outcome. But you know what, I’m not in a good mood today. And I don’t feel like trying to negotiate or influence this stakeholder, I’m just going to do what they say, and I’ll suffer the consequences or someone will six months down the road. That is easy to do. But there is a long term detrimental ramification to that.
And we’re starting to see that now with people questioning, what’s the value of L&D? The value of L&D, of learning and development, of talent development, is that we have the power to change lives. Learning changes lives. We wouldn’t be where we are without learning without education without development. Our talent, our workforce absolutely needs us. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is going to continue to disrupt the workforce. And there are going to be a significant number of people who are impacted. Technology destroys jobs, it changes jobs, and it creates new jobs. And for all three of those, we are the backbone that supports the talent and the organization’s through those challenges. And through those changes. So we absolutely have value. We have to demonstrate that value by being true learning and development practitioners by being trusted learned advisors by being strategic business partners, embedding ourself in the business so that we can be here to be the voice of the talent and continue to help them grow and thrive.
Well, Dr. Keith Keating, author of the trusted learning advisor, I appreciate your thoughts, and thanks for coming on the podcast.
Absolutely. My pleasure and great questions.
Thanks again to Dr Keith Keating. His book The Trusted Learning Advisor is available now on Amazon, and I’ll place a link to the book and to Keith Keating’s website on the episode page at axiom learning solutions dot-com, slash podcast.
And in this episode, earlier on, I referred to Jay Letourneau’s session from the 2023 TICE conference, which we also covered in this podcast as its own episode, which was released as episode 14 as part of our Leading L&D series, called Leading L&D, Creating the Environment for Growth. I’ll have a link to that, as well.
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