“The future depends on what you do today.” —Mahatma Ghandi
I started working in the hospitality industry over 40 years ago as a restaurant manager for one of the world’s largest hospitality companies. As part of my management training, I completed the business management training program. The quality of the material and the engaging in-person delivery of the content impressed me so much that I set my sights on a job as a corporate trainer.
Reflecting on this singular experience and the trajectory it traced for me professionally led me to deeply understand the importance that the love of learning can have on one’s life and career.
When I started my career in learning and development (L&D), I wanted to learn more about training, adult learning, learning technologies, measurement and evaluation . I was really lucky to work for an organization that gave me the opportunity to travel the world. It wasn’t just fun; I also learned about the field of learning and development, people, international affairs, traditions and culture. I have tasted delicious dishes from all over the world! And those experiences made me a better L&D professional because I learned that a holistic view of people, their cultures and norms, business expectations, and learning theories and practices were all needed to create experiences. Effective L&Ds.
Throughout my career, learning has always been a key priority. Each time I advanced, I needed to learn more, like the importance of measurement and evaluation. I recognized that the further one advances in the field, the more one needs to know how to prove the return on investment (ROI) and the return on equity (ROE) of learning. Hitting the proverbial books should always be a first option for learning professionals. And the same goes for volunteering.
One great experience I had and learned from was volunteering for my local chapter of ATD. I became president of the Metro DC chapter and then was invited to serve on the board of directors of the worldwide organization ATD. It was quite an honor and helped me get a bigger and more strategic perspective of our field. Networking and benchmarking with colleagues around the world have been important experiences that have fueled my learning and that of my board colleagues. We were able to take what we learned and apply it to our own work.
Creating a culture of lifelong learning in an organization is a strategic decision. Why? Because it forces you to articulate your position on people and people development and how that investment affects the success of the organization. I vividly remember working with a boss who focused on talent assessment. We were working together on a talent assessment interview for a senior executive. At the end of the session, my boss shared with me his view that every interaction with a leader is an opportunity for evaluation. I agreed with him, but also suggested that interacting with a senior leader was also a development opportunity for that leader. You need both a good assessment process and focused development efforts to build the skills that drive success.
Looking to the future, I am optimistic and positive. This is the best time to be in the realm of learning and development. I like to think of it as our “day in the sun”. Given all the technological changes and the latest sentiments about work, organizations that put the employee experience at the center will be the ones that succeed. It is the employee and the employee experience that drive customer experience and customer retention.
Throughout my career in the hospitality industry, this was a constant theme: my managers would talk to me about the importance of taking care of employees to ensure they are happy, safe, confident, well-trained and that they have the tools they need to do their job. jobs to provide excellent customer service.
When I became a leader, I saw this maxim repeated daily.
Learning empowers. It reinforces our own experiences and opportunities, and it enables us to provide meaningful experiences and opportunities to others. Developing learning cultures in our organizations is a key strategy for creating psychological safety, belonging and inclusion that creates a culture of accountability. Through coaching, mentoring and excellent leadership, training and development professionals can also equip their colleagues outside the training and development function to become talent development champions.
Having a greater sense of purpose and meaning in everything we do is important; learning and experience can fuel both. Hello.
Kimo Kippen is the star of Section VI, “Expanded Roles of Talent Development,” in the ATD Handbook for Training and Talent Development.