May Day – May Day – The Tail Does Not Wag the Dog

Seriously – I find that sooooooo many people in the Learning & Development space – in an Enterprise Learning Context – have so little clue about Business – that their sentiments quite frankly embarrass me. And maybe they embarrass you too.

It’s been this way for me since the late 1970s.

Too many thought then – back in the day – that Training was the be-all-to-end-all – that they/we made the world go around. Their naivety cup running over BIG TIME like Flood Waters on the Mighty Mississippi after the Spring Melt.

Nowadays it’s different. Now it’s called Learning.

As system performance expert Dale Brethower advises,

If you are not adding value to the world you are subtracting value from the world.”

If You Are Not Adding Value – You Are Subtracting Value

Dale has been one of my Mentors since the late 1970s – an unknown to him Mentor – as I learned informally from him – although he was trying to formally inform and educate many of us – at NSPI – back in the day. I also had the great opportunity to serve as an ISPI Director on “his” Board when he was President of ISPI in 1999-2000.

Dale is one of those purists – that I love – who are all about the Evidence For and Against. It’s folks like that that have informed my Practice of Instructional Systems Design and non-Instructional Performance Improvement over the past 3 decades. Thank you to him – and to all of the rest. I owe you all – BIG TIME.

Oh, did I mention that he and the late Geary Rummler were buddies at college – at the U of M (Michigan) – back in the day – of the 1960s.

But I digress.

EBP – Evidence Based Practice

It is like the famous lyrics of the Hokey-Pokey – THAT’s what it’s all about.

Evidence Based Practice.

And yes – there are many things that have no evidence – one way or another. And they may seem to work – hopefully “seem to work” because of some Measured Results. There may be that data – some Measured Results – without the Research Data – to tell us why and under what conditions something works. You know – what’s in the secret sauce.

And as we serve our Enterprise Shareholders/Owners – for it’s their MONEY that is being invested for some targeted returns (Financial and/or Social) – as Good Stewards of Shareholder Equity – we should be mindful of the R’s for the I’s.

And not use ROI inappropriately – or believe that just because it cannot account for all of the variables – and – just because it has too often been misused by those who came before us – and exist within our midst still today – that it is worthless – and should not be used.

Talk to your CFO.

Seriously – talk to them and let them talk AT you – as needed. When and how and why do they use ROI or some other business metric – such as ROA or RONA, etc.

Climb that Learning Curve – please. For the sake of all of the rest of us.

Please – pretty please – with sugar on top.

And just because we’ve found a shiny tool that we think is WAY COOL and shouldn’t everyone learn to love and use this – doesn’t make it even close to being right for us to be the FAN BOYS and GIRLS that marketeers love to create – to continue the promotion within all of the Enterprises.

Your Tool Ain’t Necessarily Good For Me Too

Let’s let the Process specifics of various organizational entities DRIVE the tool selection.

Again – please.


Let the form follow the functional requirements.

The Big Dog

I don’t know if it’s all of our personal ego needs that drives this – and then put us together into a room – virtual or not – with others – and we begin to see this illusion that it is ourselves as the MOST IMPORTANT folks doing the MOST IMPORTANT work in the Enterprise.

Or some other such nonsense.

Marketing – Is Typically The BIG DOG

Unless you are in the strategic part – and not tactical part – of Marketing – that’s just not true.

And even THEY dance to the tune of the owners – or the trajectory of past decisions by the owners, leaders, stakeholders and the customers in the marketplace.

If you are in Learning – then PLEASE spend a fair amount of time Learning about those other non-Learning aspects and entities that make up the modern Enterprise and the Global Marketplace.

If not for yourself – then for sake of all of the rest of us.



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