This year will determine whether we have the courage to address the most difficult issues that have arisen due to the fires of 2020. The importance of these issues has not changed. The world has changed – and the urgency of our response.
Let’s unpack three main problemstogether with new responsibilities for training and development, in reverse order:
3. Human development and empowerment have reached crisis levels
For decades, we have followed the approach: “You are responsible for your own training – we provide everything you need to help the company succeed.”
What gave such an approach? The workforce is unfortunately ill-prepared for a devastating future. Speaking of Ray Dalio, co-chair of Bridgewater Associates, co-chair of investment, we contributed to the creation Divide by 40/60A: The middle class is being eradicated, and we will soon have people in the 40% of the upper economy working separately from the people of the lower 60%.
How can we be even partially responsible for this division? Doesn’t that exceed our pay grade? No, our responsibility as talents and leaders in development lies in our core belief: improved education is the best way forward for all. But this best path is different from the one most of us have built.
According to Rohan Roberts, Innovation Leader at GEMS Educationwe need to emphasize critical survival skills such as managing through influence, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurship, communication, information analysis, and curiosity and imagination. How many of us have built such programs for all employees? Unfortunately, little.
As JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Diman recently stated, “Every company is doing something in this area, but it needs to be ten times more.”
The crisis of 2020 has forced us all to change. In fact, in the US Fr. National Public Radio Poll found that more than half of the working poor lost eight times more jobs than those earning higher wages. We are at the forefront of rethinking learning and development. Companies need us to speak out – to take a stand for our people and the support they need.
2. Will the workforce become more active and demand what it deserves?
The workers have established themselves as ardent supporters of their political concerns, justice on the streets, climate change and more. Will they be repelled by systems that help create a social and economic gap of 40/60? Will they demand more from us – more of the training and development that Ray Kurzweil requires?
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught people to stand up for themselves more than in the past. They are stuck in an age-old design that they need to be in the office to make their way forward, and that they need to be tied directly to the order of their immediate supervisor. Almost at night, the pandemic proved that many of them can work from home – that they can manage themselves, their work and their schedules much better than their companies imagined.
Look for such bottom-up changes to continue throughout 2021.
1. We have left people behind for centuries. What are we going to do about it?
Not only workers should be ardent supporters of disruptive change, and all necessary changes are feasible – if ardent supporters come out and take the initiative. Will these advocates be leaders in learning and development, or will we wait until someone else tells us what to do?
A complete guru of quality and management W. Edwards Deming once said“A bad system will defeat a good person every time.”
Your organization is filled with good and amazing people, and if it was built by 2020, your learning and development system is bad because it does not meet the requirements that 2021 will impose on us.
Will we have the courage to take on our own bad systems that are holding back our people? This is the most important question we need to answer when we enter 2021.