Dollars and cents. Pounds and pence. Euros, yen and yuan. These are the currency of the global economy. Despite language barriers, their meaning is universal. Cash is what drives deals and finalizes transactions. Profits are what investors are seeking.
But while money makes the business world go round, it holds no intrinsic value other than what we place on it. What drives growth and progress isn’t money. Cash is a side effect of success.
Talent is the real currency of innovation and growth. Warren Buffett isn’t one of the world’s richest businesspeople simply because he’s created cash through his company, Berkshire Hathaway. What drives that success is his talent for finding overlooked investment opportunities and putting his money to work for the long term.
Bill Gates, Larry Page, Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg are wealthy because of the success of Microsoft, Google, Oracle and Facebook. But they acquired that wealth through smarts, hard work and, above all, talent. Talent is the most powerful resource a company can cultivate. The smart ones amass it and invest in it just as deliberately as they do other forms of capital.
The reality is we live in a talent economy. How organizations manage the talent that does all that work is the most important decision they have to make. That’s why we’re taking an in-depth look at talent management in this special issue of Chief Learning Officer.
Back when it was known as the training department, it was OK for learning and development to focus solely on courses and content. Identify an in-demand skill, talk to a few subject-matter experts and take a few months to develop a targeted course.
That world is no more. Job tenure is plummeting as employers move from being a career destination to a mere stop along the way to another destination. Globalization and technology have amped up the speed of business, eliminating the long runway to develop content and courses.
To be truly effective, learning needs to be tightly aligned with larger people management processes. Traditional courses and content remain vital, but just as often it’s more important to connect people with one another rather than channel them into classes and curriculum.
That’s why, as you’ll read in this special report, Nike’s CLO focuses not just on content but also on careers. When a recruit turns into an employee, they need targeted onboarding to get them up to speed fast. When that employee becomes a manager, a new focus is needed. Tying learning together with onboarding, performance management, succession planning and collaboration unleashes the power of development.
That importance of integrated learning is also why we’ve refocused and relaunched our flagship fall event, newly branded as the CLO Symposium+Plus. It will bring you the cutting-edge learning and development ideas and insight you’ve come to expect from us since 2004. But this time we’re adding a little extra.
Specially developed by our editors and built around the theme “The Talent Economy,” the CLO Symposium+Plus focuses on how learning integrated with talent management adds up to dramatic results.
In addition to inspirational keynote speakers and more than two dozen workshops spotlighting core learning and talent issues, we’re providing a plus-sized symposium experience with exciting new enhancements to the agenda.
Those additions include a hands-on practicum featuring a case study addressing real business challenges through an integrated talent development approach, and Fast Talks, which are short, powerful presentations from talent leaders who highlight what’s working in talent development and management. We’re also debuting a new mentoring program that will match attendees with experienced industry professionals to address their specific talent challenges.
Check out the enhanced program by visiting CLOsymposiumplus.com. I hope you’ll consider joining us in Scottsdale, Arizona, this September.
Developing talent isn’t just about dollars and cents. To compete in the fast-paced, idea-driven modern economy, it simply makes sense.
Mike Prokopeak is Chief Learning Officer’s editor in chief. Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.