CorpU Weekly Digest: Learning Excellence (2012-Mar-12)

Topics: Learning Excellence

Here are this past week's headlines in learning excellence: 

 The university model revolution: What it is, what it means, and what possibilities are there for corporate education efforts?
This past week had a very insightful interview with the two people running Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for 21st Century Universities.  Richard A. DeMillo, the center's director and Georgia Tech's former dean of computing, and Paul M.A. Baker, the center's associate director, spoke at length with Marc Parry, and their discussion points were critical: 

  1. the current university model is undergoing massive change; 
  2. the emerging model is one of highly tuned curricula, connecting leading experts to larger swaths of students; 
  3. the massive open course experiments (such as Stephen Downes' and George Siemens's) suggest that the way that learning happens and they way it will reflect knowledge, understanding, and/or mastery will need to change; and 
  4. the blogging format, with some modest adjustments, can be turned into a massive open online seminar. 

What does this mean for professionals in organizational learning and development? Well, this shift has been happening all around us silently: the amount of change in business education, for instance, means that an MBA earned in the mid 1990s did not cover things like activity-based budgeting, balanced scorecards, or mutual-gains approach negotiation to name a few — meaning that the talent acquisition process has needed to reconsider some assumptions. It has been underway silently at some 300 or so corporate universities, in a shift that focuses more on improving collaboration and promotion of good content than setting paths through the content and curriculum. As universities fine-tune their curricula, opportunities to connect specific teams to specific courses will be possible, with some additional structure in place to help encourage reflection and communicating shared understanding from the course and its application to the tasks at hand. Read Marc Parry's interview with Georgia Tech's Richard DeMillo and Paul Baker on The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion?"

 One of the biggest risks for senior executives is isolation. One of the smartest solutions is coaching — from subordinates 
The problem for senior executives is that the people who give them feedback don't usually see them in action. Robert S. Kaplan, a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, writes that senior executives "may be 'overseen' by a board of directors or very senior boss," but those superiors are probably not closely watching their daily behavior. On the other hand, subordinates actually observe an executive's behavior on a regular basis. Asking subordinates for feedback is not a practice that has been modeled very much, which explains part of the resistance executives have towards it. But the value can be huge. Read the MIT/Sloan Review article "Why the Best Coach for a Senior Exec Could Be a Subordinate"

 What makes a company "family responsible" and how does it connect with learning and development efforts?
Every year, leading experts gather at IESE to participate in the IESE Family-Responsible Employer Index (IFREI) measuring how work/family balance is being treated by companies in different socio-cultural contexts around the world. They consider gender relations in the workplace, suggest areas where companies need to devote more attention, and highlight best practices country by country. Watch the video "Fresh Perspectives on Work/Family Balance"

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 The Business of Learning: New Major Products, Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Cornerstone OnDemand announced the acquisition of Sonar, a cloud-based talent management solution provider serving small businesses globally and headquartered in New Zealand. The acquisition will combine two of the talent management industry's most innovative providers and allows Cornerstone to strengthen its ability to serve clients of all sizes. Additionally, Cornerstone expects that the acquisition will accelerate the company's momentum in the small business (SMB) market. Sonar6 will bring more than 375 global clients to Cornerstone. The recent consolidation in the talent management space has disrupted the market over the past few months (such as acquiring Rypple, SAP acquiring SuccessFactors & Plateau; Saba acquiring Comartis; Oracle acquiring Taleo & ; and SumTotal acquiring GeoLearning). Read press release.

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 Books To Read

Continuous improvement, understanding complex systems, and promoting innovation are all part of the landscape of learning challenges today's companies face, and it's been a topic that Harvard Business School Prof. Amy Edmondson has published a good deal on. In her forthcoming book, to be published on April 3, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, Prof. Edmondson takes her analysis of organizational effectiveness a level deeper by showing that organizations thrive, or fail to thrive, based on how well the small groups within those organizations work. In most organizations, the work that produces value for customers is carried out by teams, and increasingly, by flexible team-like entities. The pace of change and the fluidity of most work structures means that it's not really about creating effective teams anymore, but instead about leading effective teaming as a process. Teaming shows that organizations learn when the flexible, fluid collaborations they encompass are able to learn. The problem is teams, and other dynamic groups, don't learn naturally. Edmondson outlines the factors that prevent them from doing so, such as interpersonal fear, irrational beliefs about failure, groupthink, problematic power dynamics, and information hoarding. With Teaming, leaders can shape these factors by encouraging reflection, creating psychological safety, and overcoming defensive interpersonal dynamics that inhibit the sharing of ideas. Buy now

Mental toughness is measured by how effectively individuals respond to stress, pressure and challenge, and it is increasingly becoming for some organizations a critical capability for certain roles. The challenge has historically been that identifying and developing this capability has been elusive. In the forthcoming book Developing Mental Toughness: Improving Performance, Wellbeing and Positive Behavior in Others, to be published on March 28, 2012, Prof. Peter Clough, Head of Psychology at Hull University, and Doug Strycharczyk, owner and Managing Director for AQR Ltd. an assessment organization, address this gap. The book covers the concept of mental toughness and traces its development from sports psychology into organizational development, health and education. This book covers the key skills and techniques required to recognize, use and develop mental toughness in others including evaluation, ROI and improving attention spans. Buy now

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Global Competency within a Leadership Framework
DateMonday, April 2, 2012 at 11:00am - 12:00 noon EDT
Presenter: Jo Danehl, Director, Account Management (Cartus) and Diane Mullen, Senior Training Consultant (Cartus) Register now


Making E-Learning Stick  
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT 
Presenter: Carole Robin, Stanford Graduate School of Business Register now

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Enterprise Learning! Summit 2012
Date: March 20-21, 2012
Location: Alexandria, VA, United States Register now

Trends and Trendsetters in HR Shared Services
Date: March 28, 2012
Location: New York, NY, US Register now

The Six Disciplines of Learning Transfer: Presented by ASTD in Partnership with Fort Hill Company
Date: April 4-5, 2012
Location: Atlanta, GA, United States Register now 

Talent Management Summit
Date April 10-12, 2012
Location: São Paulo, Brazil Register now

Assessing & Developing High Potentials
Date: April 16-17, 2012
Location: Washington DC, US Register now

OnBoarding Talent
Date: April 16-18, 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia Register now

Learning TECH 2012
Date: April 23 - 25, 2012
Location: Chicago, IL, USA Register now 

Delivering the Strategic Role of HR
Date: May 2, 2012 
Location: New Zealand Register now

1st Annual People Effectiveness @ Work Conference
Date: May 8, 2012
Location: South Africa Register now

Corporate University Xchange's Global Leadership Congress
  May 15-17, 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA Register now 

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