CLOs Are in Charge of Organizational Resources Intended to Enable Others to Perform at Peak Levels


The ultimate measure of their success is in measures of the abilities of their target audiences to perform at peak levels.

Not the success of the business plan, or the marketing plan, or of the competition’s failure which gets reflected in our stock price going up. There are many variables built into those ultimate business measures that are outside the control of the CLO – the Chief Learning Officers – who are there to lead their organizations efforts to enable the human assets of the enterprise, which sometimes are inclusive of the customers’ and suppliers’ people. What can they be held accountable for – and where does their accountability stop?

They – the CLO’s people and processes – may or may not “be tight” with the Recruiting Processes people and processes – who have a big say over who walks in the door and “with what awareness, knowledge and skills” – plus attitude and aptitude – or however your model frames that future capacity versus current capability. So that may be a variable that they then have to contend with…the incoming, new employees.

But once the new employee is on-board – the CLO’s resources go to work sharpening the saws of these new-to-the-Enterprise people – so that they might perform at their peak levels. The Learning function is typically given X resources to address Y target audiences on Z topics/tasks. What the employees knows along the way of their careers might be interesting – but it is not what’s important. What’s important is: can they do the job?

Smart CLO operations will be providing a blend of instruction and information – both before and during the moment of need.

If you see the goal as employees being “able to perform competently”  then understanding what competence looks like is critical.

And as the future unfolds in both predictable and unpredictable ways, will those employees, over time, be able to learn more in some areas, unlearn some things to learn different things in other areas?  Or will they tap out somewhere along the way…what used to be known as The Peter Principle?

Again, those Recruiting people and their processes are so impactful. So the CLO and their resources may be limited in terms of what they can do because of what they have to work with, what they are starting with and what they have to work with along the way.

And then let’s not forget about the greater variable of all – all of those managers of the target audiences – each bringing a different set of expectations and reinforcement intent and capabilities to the employee’s experience. Level 3 and Level 4 evaluations are more of a measure of the managers of the employees, and less of the Learning Products and Services packaged and deployed and/or accessible online.

If the CLO is “not tight with the management” of their target audiences – in order to collaborate more effectively – great scores in level 2 will not lead to Level 3 and Level 4 successes. And that’s what’s important.

How can you address this?

But getting a more formal Governance & Advisory System put into place, either slowly and deliberately – or quickly/ASAP!

Something very formal might look like this next graphic – but you may not need uniform formality up and down – nor sideways across the Enterprise. And that is a scope decision by the assembled customers and stakeholders. It’s part of where they want to strategically place their bets.

By getting aligned with your Customers and Stakeholders more formally, slowly or quickly as needed/feasible, is situational in nature. By doing so you’ll be better targeted – at something more than the low hanging fruit of the general needs of the enterprise. You will eventually be as formal or informal “aligned” as appropriate to your current culture, or some future state culture.

It’s 12 O’Clock in the clockface diagram of the T&D Systems View book – available as a free PDF here.

To me there are 12 key guage-sets for measuring “inside the box” of T&D – L&D – KMS – but the ultimate measure of that external success is in enabling the trainees/learners to do their jobs to peak levels. How the organizations uses them, effectively or not, is not in your control.

You can only show your colleagues the potential of more employees performing at peak levels and what that means to their bottom lines – which like your’s aren’t always so directly tied to the ultimate success of the Enterprise.

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