L&D Is Your Secret Weapon
These are tough times for businesses, leaders, and humans. The skyrocketing unemployment and economic downturn translate to reduced workforces and budgets, which has the potential to extend talent to the breaking point. Historically, leaders tend to cut learning and development (L&D) budgets and redirect funds to sales and operations. Decisions like these leave organizations exposed. When you choose not to invest in the people who drive your business day in and out—your greatest asset——they not only suffer the consequences, but errors increase, customer service and positive experiences fly out the window, profits diminish, and your teams recognize and remember who you were and how you behaved during the darkest times. Leaders who choose this path will witness their brand’s demise and the mass exodus of talent once the economy rebounds.
It’s not an either-or situation. You can realign your budgets to sales and operations and L&D without breaking the bank. When you reframe your view of L&D as a cost center to a profit center that is necessary to support sales, operations, and other vital departments, you reap the rewards of the investment exponentially. Your team members can access the information, knowledge, and skills development they need to work and compete effectively in the new normal. They feel validated and supported in a learning culture that is responsive to and sustains them. They engage at their best, and you retain them and their legacy knowledge long after the crisis has abated. In short, L&D is your secret weapon, and we’re here to help you fortify and deliver on that commitment to your valued people.
Solutions Arts to the Rescue
Many organizations are up to their eyeballs putting out fires, figuring out their next steps, juggling priorities, and inventing new ways to do business. You might see yourself and your organization in one of these descriptors. And much of what we’ve been saying in our recent blog series may have spoken directly to you. We hope you found it beneficial for yourself, your teams, and your organization. If you’ve applied some of the techniques we’ve discussed and you feel that you and/or your team members may benefit from more targeted, specific training, please connect with us. We’d be happy to listen and offer solutions for your unique needs and circumstances.
When we first set out to create our recent blog series focused on supporting and developing managers, we wanted to provide steps they could take immediately to tackle the daily onslaught of the unexpected. We knew managers would be strapped with competing priorities and might be struggling to best serve the needs of their organization, teams, and themselves. We asked people where they were struggling the most and then responded with nine articles covering the following recurring themes of how to:
From now to the end of the year, we’re shifting our focus to the next set of challenges confronting leadership. Leaders and teams still face an uncertain future that stretches their ability to remain agile. Our roadmap moving forward encompasses and concentrates on strategy as well as skills development and intertwining the two:
Dare to Be Vulnerable
Mahatma Gandhi said, “In the midst of darkness, light persists.” We hear our own Cindy Chambers often say, “Check out this silver lining!” There are endless reasons these days to feel enveloped by darkness, but excessive optimism isn’t the remedy. Instead, we don our headlamps, combine our lights, and pave the way forward.
We hear it weekly from our clients. All are rising to the challenges presented by the new normal and shining brightly. We see them express care and vulnerability with their teams and leadership, and as a result, great things happen. Trust and safety are built and earned. Increased communication and bonding lead to pivoting and soaring productivity.
In the midst of darkness, light persists.
A simple act—such as honestly answering the question, “How are you?”—opens a space for authenticity, vulnerability, and caring. One such leader experienced this firsthand after a series of rough weeks. The cumulative effect of those weeks wore him down, yet every day he slipped on his mask and soldiered forward until the day his leader asked, “No really … how are you?” The floodgates opened, he had a chance to empty out what had been festering, and his leadership team jumped at the chance to show him the same support and care he had always shown them. He got to be a human first, a c-level suite leader second, and his leadership team’s trust in him as a result of his vulnerability multiplied.
Brené Brown shares her journey when talking about the power of vulnerability. Among the many things she uncovers on this journey is this: “To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, … to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, ’I’m enough’ … then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
We’ll wrap up this current blog series with an activity that we encourage you to try, should you choose, to dare to be vulnerable.
Exercise: Who’s Got Your Back?
Either on your own or in a truly safe environment where all participants may answer without fear of reprisal, ask, “Who’s got my back?”
Followed by, “Who’s back do I have?”
See if it opens the door to deeper conversations, possibilities to grow yourself and your connections, and shine a light on and heal wounds.
Remember to return next week to read our blog on the course we’re charting from now to the end of the year. For example, you may find your emotional intelligence skills improving while your resilience is waning. Or, you might feel stuck on how to transform diversity, equity, and inclusion from transparent conversations to real, authentic action. We’ll be discussing this and more. We’ve got some exciting stuff in development, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you.
Our clients and the training community ask us questions and often consistent themes emerge. From making learning stick to developing skills we once assumed every employee possessed, the challenges today’s businesses face can be transformed through a strong learning culture.
Every year, the learning and development industry presents exciting developments, time-saving innovations, and new research. Solutions Arts follows and tests theories, practices, and technologies, and our clients benefit from what we learn. We value sharing what we learn and the opportunity to discuss it here on our blog.