- FUNCTIONAL EFFECTIVENESS AND COMPETITIVENESS (e.g. MANUFACTURING)
Audience: Functional (Manufacturing) Executive and Department Heads
Pre Work: Each Department head Identifies their key quantitative industry standards, the current primary plans, and programs used to meet or exceed them, along with the existing reporting tools used to measure their status versus the standards.
Hard Skills: Purchasing
Warehousing and Distribution
Soft Skills: Interdepartmental Teamwork and Cooperation
Need for Manufacturing Innovation
Motivating and communicating the entire organization
Leading a functional renaissance
Business Value Outcome: In a workshop setting, each Department Head identifies their quantitative industry measures and the needed departmental objectives, plans and innovative practices that are required for functional and overall Manufacturing improvement.
- PROFIT IMPROVEMENT
Audience: Business Unit President and Immediate Functional Executives
Pre Work: Each executive brings their fiscal year operating objectives and current plans, schedules, risks, challenges, and budgetary data.
Hard Skills: Market Segment Penetration
Product Cost Opportunities
Manufacturing Cost Efficiencies
Product quality improvements
Customer Service Efficiencies
Soft Skills: Functional Teamwork and Cooperation
Motivating the entire organization towards improvement
Leading the Profit Improvement Plan Implementation
Business Value Outcome: In a workshop setting, the Business Unit President and his/her functional executives develop a cooperative multi-functional plan to achieve profit improvement through increased sales, better market penetration, and product and operational innovation.
To be considered as important and relevant by their ultimate customer in providing business value to the company, such LD programs must reinforce the above mix of soft and hard skills, and not simply deal with leadership soft skills. This is especially true for the LD programs for senior and upper management. In doing so, the newly acquired hard and soft skills should be TAUGHT TOGETHER in a workshop approach within the practical context of the executive’s actual business objectives, strategies, plans, challenges, and risks. These programs can be designed and developed by LD staff working in conjunction with outside consultants, business school staff and inside experts, who can also help to conduct the training itself. These experts can present the best-of-the-best successful and innovative business practices and programs so that the attending leaders can discuss their applicability in meeting some of their current business objectives.
While the LD programs in the vast majority of companies deal primarily with soft skill development, some companies, such as GE, offer a pragmatic mix of LD programs in their Crotonville leadership institute. This recognizes the fact that we cannot effectively teach leadership in a vacuum; devoid of the required hard skills. This reality begs the question of who is responsible for leading this major paradigm shift? Is it the leadership gurus, the Chief HR Officer or the Chief Learning Officer? I contend that it is not the leadership gurus because they are providing their services to meet the training needs expressed by their customer. Rather, the primary responsibility for doing so rests with the Chief HR Officer while the secondary responsibility rests with the Chief Learning Officer.
Now, is developing such a program easy? No. Can it be done well and within a reasonable amount of cost? Absolutely. Does it require a new business-like mindset on the part of HR and LD leaders? Absolutely. Will doing so require more time and effort to develop the program content? Yes. Will the CEO and line executives greatly appreciate the pragmatic program content and more actively support future LD programs? Absolutely.
Therefore, in order to develop such urgently needed LD programs, the Chief HR Officer faces the monumental challenge of redirecting the company’s Learning and Development staff and programs for senior and upper management AWAY from simplistic leadership styles, interpersonal and basic management skills, and TOWARDS being pragmatic business change agents for meeting some of the company’s major business objectives.
If accomplished, such LD programs will provide real BUSINESS VALUE to the company by providing LD programs that offer the right mix of hard and soft skills, taught together, within the practical context of the leader’s real-world business objectives, plans, strategies, risks, challenges and so on.
When this occurs, the Learning and Development function will be revitalized as it achieves the implementation of this major paradigm shift. However, if this paradigm shift is not accomplished, many years from now, the Chief HR and Learning Officers will still be wondering why CEOs and top line management executives are saying that their LD programs are failing the company in their eyes.