Chief Learning Officer
November 2019

Editor’s Letter


Let Me Tell You a Story

Mike Prokopeak
W

hen Jack Welch wanted to take GE to its next level, the veteran CEO turned to Steve Kerr to lead the charge.

In more ways than one, Kerr was an unlikely candidate for the job. He wasn’t a high-flying young executive or a brash outsider ready to blow up the status quo. In fact, GE was doing OK at the time — regularly topping the list of most valuable companies in the early ’90s. From TV to appliances and lightbulbs to jet engines and nuclear technology, the corporate name was everywhere.

A professor of organizational behavior and dean at the University of Southern California’s business school, Kerr certainly didn’t need the job. He could have stayed comfortably ensconced in academia’s warm embrace for the rest of his career. Yet when Welch came knocking, Kerr took the plunge and went to work for GE.

NOVEMBER 2019 | Volume 18, Issue 9

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CLO Contents November 2019 typography top
Joe Ilvento featured image
Joe Ilvento featured image
ON THE COVER: PHOTO BY ED LEFKOWICZ
10
Akiba Smith-Francis of Egon Zehnder shares her career journey; Relativity’s Jennifer Westropp says D&I training is only the first step in inclusive company culture; and people share what they’re reading.
30
Profile
Sarah Fister Gale
Commvault CLO Joe Ilvento uses talent management software to reinvent employee reviews.
48

Case Study

Sarah Fister Gale
America’s largest tire distributor proves microlearning can have a huge impact on sales results.
50

Business Intelligence

Ashley St. John
Mentoring and coaching are valued more than ever, but the mentors and coaches themselves may be changing.
CLO Contents November 2019 typography
When Leaders Meet to Learn illustration
When Leaders Meet to Learn illustration
Resolving the Feedback Quandary illustration
The Value of Reverse Mentoring illustration
AI-Enabled Coaches: Replacement, Alternative or Complement? illustration
The Value of Reverse Mentoring illustration
AI-Enabled Coaches: Replacement, Alternative or Complement? illustration
Features
24
Rita Balian Allen
Reverse mentoring acknowledges you can have skill gaps on both sides and helps motivate both younger and more experienced employees.
34
Elizabeth Loutfi
AI-enabled coaching is on the rise in learning and development, and it comes with its own benefits and challenges.
40
Rick Koonce and Alyson Lyon
Cohort-based executive development programs can be a powerful way to develop leaders at all levels.
44
Joseph Folkman and Jack Zenger
Let’s change the underlying philosophy and pattern of feedback.

Experts

16
Elliott Masie
Learning Personalization Gets Personal
18
Bob Mosher
Train, Transfer, Sustain
20
Ken Blanchard
Leading Teams to High Performance
22
David DeFilippo
What Are Your 3 Career Criteria?
54
Scott Jeffrey Miller
Perfectly Imperfect Leadership

Resources

4
Let Me Tell You a Story
Your Career


Your Career


Career Advice From

Akiba Smith-Francis

Consultant, Egon Zehnder

Akiba Smith-Francis, consultant for Egon Zehnder and career coach at Columbia Business School, shares how she got into the coaching space and the lessons she’s carried with her throughout her career.
Red decorative line
Akiba Smith-FrancisHow did you start your career in learning?

I got into coaching rather unexpectedly and was surprised by how much I loved it. I started by advising nontraditional applicants to elite business schools, to help them understand how to tell their story in a context that was totally unfamiliar to them. I transitioned into leadership development as a natural extension. Business school was not my ultimate focus — it was supporting others in reaching their potential. I’m an executive coach who has recently transitioned to executive search and leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder, where I hope to leverage my experience in identifying strong leaders and supporting them in their integration and development.

Small Bites - Akiba Smith-Francis answers our rapid-fire questions.
The most important part of learning is:
To give yourself permission to get things wrong and try again.
The most overrated trend in learning and development is:
The increased use of technology for learning. I’ve never heard of anyone saying they’ve really learned from an online presentation or interactive webinar.
The most overrated trend in learning and development
Your Career


Your Career


What Are You Reading?
Wired to Connect: The Brain Science of Teams and a New Model for Creating Collaboration and Inclusion
Wired to Connect: The Brain Science of Teams and a New Model for Creating Collaboration and Inclusion
By Britt Andreatta
Fun and interesting read. Sometimes we have to look at the trends in our organizations and use them as opportunities to provide value. Take a look around and see how work gets done. If your organization is using the power of teams to accomplish important work, this book gives you strategies to help them become peak performers.
John Parsell
— John Parsell, senior manager, learning development at Accolade Inc.
Your Career


Your Career


Top of Mind
Making Inclusive Habits Training Effective By Jennifer Westropp
Jennifer Westropp, director for talent development and performance at Relativity, says D&I training is only the first step in creating inclusive company culture.
Jennifer Westropp
Jennifer Westropp
Companies around the world are making diversity and inclusion a top priority but few are achieving actionable change within their culture. We are learning that true D&I is an active effort to drive change. This change does not happen overnight and requires a hyperfocus from us all.

At Relativity, that meant taking a multiyear approach supported by a companywide key business imperative. The first year, 2018, was about listening to and assessing our employees’ current state as well as their readiness so that we could identify our biggest areas of opportunity and what was currently working. The second year employed a more tactical approach, with a range of learning opportunities to engage our employees’ hearts and minds. Here’s a look at our approach.

imperatives


Learning Personalization Gets Personal
Making learning personalization a reality in the workplace By Elliott Masie
Elliott Masie
Elliott Masie is CEO of The Masie Center, an international think tank focused on learning and workplace productivity, and chairman and CLO of The Masie Center’s Learning Consortium.
I

’ve been writing about learning personalization for more than two decades. Influenced by the perspectives of Sir Ken Robinson and others, it seemed only a matter of time until learning content, activities and experiences would be personalized to some degree for each of our learners.

Learning personalization makes total sense. We should “optimize” the time (and wage expense) of learning content. We should shape the content around what employees need to know, avoid what they know already, and adapt to their requirements, backgrounds and ideal learning formats. The aggregate impact on motivation, engagement, efficiency and cost could be amazing for both learners and the organization!

Learning personalization is a great idea. Yet, it has been amazingly difficult to implement. There are a number of enemies and obstacles to personalization.

First, there’s compliance: The rules, expectations and style of compliance and regulatory action demand a common delivery for all. They want to know that employees have been taught the same stipulated content.

selling up, selling down


Train, Transfer, Sustain
Moving past the training event By Bob Mosher
Bob Mosher

Bob Mosher is a senior partner and chief learning evangelist for APPLY Synergies, a strategic consulting firm.

Y

ou’ve trained them. Now what? They go back to their desks, immediately apply what they learned and voila — they achieve increased performance.

Not quite. There’s more to it than just the training event. In fact, there are two additional phases in the learning ecosystem that must be addressed to support those we serve in successfully performing on the job. Beyond the “training,” the true challenge is to transfer what’s been learned and to sustain, even grow, that knowledge over the span of a career. It starts by thinking of your learners as performers and of our job as supporting their entire learning journey, with the overall goal being competency, not mastery.

Leadership


Leading Teams to High Performance
Team training is key By KEN BLANCHARD
Ken Blanchard
Ken Blanchard is chief spiritual officer of The Ken Blanchard Cos. and co-author of “Servant Leadership in Action.”
T

o meet the challenges of today’s complex working environment, more organizations are employing teams, not solo practitioners, to get the job done. Why? Because, as I’ve often said: “No one of us is as smart as all of us.”

A Harvard Business Review study found that from 1996 to 2016, the time spent by people in collaborative activities increased by 50 percent or more.

So how are all these teams doing? Research conducted by Training magazine and The Ken Blanchard Cos. found that while people spend more than half of their time working in teams, only 27 percent feel their teams are high performing. In other words, fewer than 1 in 3 teams are functioning at a high level. And only 1 in 4 people think their organization does a good job of team leader training.

These dismal statistics provide an opportunity to review the state of teams in their organizations and take steps to strengthen them. And training is the key.

ON THE FRONT LINE


What Are Your 3 Career Criteria?
The journey to know thyself By David Defilippo
Michael E. Echols is principal and founder of Human Capital LLC
David DeFilippo is principal of DeFilippo Leadership Inc., executive learning officer for Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and an executive coach at Harvard Business School.
“K

now thyself” is a principle inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi which dates its origins back to fourth century B.C. It is one of 147 expressions carved into the temple and perhaps the most well-known historically. This belief influenced the writings of Socrates as demonstrated by his focus on “self-knowledge” and the repeated usage in Plato’s writings to espouse individual self-awareness as a precondition to understanding the world. Tracing this aphorism’s historical roots into contemporary times, we see this value shared time after time in diverse works, such as Ben Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” from 1750 — “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond and to know one’s self”; Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “Gnothi Seauton” (translated “Know Thyself”); and even in the “Matrix” movie series with Neo’s quest to know himself in order to save mankind.

So, what gives with the Greek mythology lesson combined with a historical walk down memory lane and a review of one of the more memorable action film characters of the twentieth century?

Reverse mentoring is an opportunity for organizations to acknowledge that skill gaps exist among all generations and can motivate both younger and more experienced employees to push outside their comfort zones.
By Rita Balian Allen
There are currently five generations in the workforce, presenting tremendous opportunity for all to enhance their outlook and creativity. But it also requires us to push our thinking and practices in new and different ways to access this depth of perspective and reap the incredible rewards and value.
The Value of Reverse Mentoring
Reverse mentoring is an opportunity for organizations to acknowledge that skill gaps exist among all generations and can motivate both younger and more experienced employees to push outside their comfort zones.
By Rita Balian Allen
There are currently five generations in the workforce, presenting tremendous opportunity for all to enhance their outlook and creativity. But it also requires us to push our thinking and practices in new and different ways to access this depth of perspective and reap the incredible rewards and value.
Sponsored Content
Sponsored Content
Why tuition assistance should be used for workforce development
3 things the Learning & Development department can do to maximize TA benefits

Even if tuition assistance doesn’t fall in the L&D arena, there are important reasons to tap into this funding source for employee development.

First and foremost, lifelong learning is now a mandate. With the scale of change in needed work-place skills, it’s simply insufficient to assume that everything you learn in your twenties will serve you for your career. As Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist puts it, we have arrived at the Age of Accelerations. “The single dose of education stockpiled in our twenties will barely last into our thirties. And the 40-year career arc is stretching to 50 or more years as we live longer, healthier, and more engaged lives.”

Profile


Unlocking Potential at Commvault
Commvault CLO Joe Ilvento used talent management software to reinvent employee reviews.
By Sarah Fister Gale
Joe Ilvento
Joe Ilvento knows how to sell. As a freshman biology major at Syracuse University, he took a summer sales job and outsold colleagues who had been on the job for 30 years. As a prize, he got to attend a sales seminar with Tom Hopkins, the international sales guru and author of “How to Master the Art of Selling.”

It changed Ilvento’s life. “I sat in the front row of 2,000 people and realized I don’t want to be a doctor, I want to make money,” he said.

Ilvento switched to psychology, and when he graduated he got a sales job at a cable company. Once again, he became the top sales rep, tripling his sales quotas while his peers struggled to make theirs. He gained so much recognition for his sales swagger that other reps started asking to go on calls with him, and his manager eventually promoted him to sales trainer. That’s when his career shifted to the learning and development field.

Replacement, Alternative or Complement?
By Elizabeth Loutfi
AI-enabled coaching is on the rise in learning and development, and it comes with its own benefits and challenges.
Coaching, whether it’s life coaching, executive coaching or performance, skills or career coaching, seems inherently personal and humane. After all, it involves opening yourself up to feedback, conversations and, ultimately, connection. But what if your career or executive coach wasn’t actually a coach at all — or even human?

Artificial intelligence made its way into learning and development with the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and more recently, it’s been showing up in the coaching space.

Hand holding telephone
Replacement, Alternative or Complement?
By Elizabeth Loutfi
AI-enabled coaching is on the rise in learning and development, and it comes with its own benefits and challenges.
Coaching, whether it’s life coaching, executive coaching or performance, skills or career coaching, seems inherently personal and humane. After all, it involves opening yourself up to feedback, conversations and, ultimately, connection. But what if your career or executive coach wasn’t actually a coach at all — or even human?

Artificial intelligence made its way into learning and development with the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and more recently, it’s been showing up in the coaching space.

When Leaders Meet To Learn
By Rick Koonce and Alyson Lyon
Cohort-based executive development programs can be a powerful way to develop leaders at all levels.
In today’s turbulent, fast-moving business environment, what’s the best way to build intellectually nimble, innovative and self-confident leaders, equipped for the challenges of constant change?

As executive coaches, we’ve found that cohort-based executive development programs that integrate four specific learning components — group learning, executive and peer coaching, experiential/action learning activities and a strong emphasis on personal development and self-awareness — offer a powerful way to rapidly develop leaders at any level. Moreover, the cohort (community-based) nature of such leadership development programs helps nurture the traits of collaboration, teamwork, empathy, communication, social dexterity and emotional intelligence that are so essential to effective leadership of others in modern-day work settings and organizational environments.

When Leaders Meet To Learn
By Rick Koonce and Alyson Lyon
Cohort-based executive development programs can be a powerful way to develop leaders at all levels.
In today’s turbulent, fast-moving business environment, what’s the best way to build intellectually nimble, innovative and self-confident leaders, equipped for the challenges of constant change?

As executive coaches, we’ve found that cohort-based executive development programs that integrate four specific learning components — group learning, executive and peer coaching, experiential/action learning activities and a strong emphasis on personal development and self-awareness — offer a powerful way to rapidly develop leaders at any level. Moreover, the cohort (community-based) nature of such leadership development programs helps nurture the traits of collaboration, teamwork, empathy, communication, social dexterity and emotional intelligence that are so essential to effective leadership of others in modern-day work settings and organizational environments.

A reader of the current business press is confronted by two extremely different points of view regarding the basic question of whether managers should provide feedback to their direct reports. On the one hand we have those who advocate extremely candid, no-holds-barred conversations between managers and their direct reports, such as Kim Scott in her book “Radical Candor.” At the other extreme are those who advocate that the feedback process is bound to fail. Furthermore, it is based on false assumptions and, at its worst, does more harm than good. This is the argument behind Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall’s Harvard Business Review article, “The Feedback Fallacy.”
A reader of the current business press is confronted by two extremely different points of view regarding the basic question of whether managers should provide feedback to their direct reports. On the one hand we have those who advocate extremely candid, no-holds-barred conversations between managers and their direct reports, such as Kim Scott in her book “Radical Candor.” At the other extreme are those who advocate that the feedback process is bound to fail. Furthermore, it is based on false assumptions and, at its worst, does more harm than good. This is the argument behind Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall’s Harvard Business Review article, “The Feedback Fallacy.”

Case Study


Sales Training in 5 Minutes or Less
By Sarah Fister Gale
A

merican Tire Distributors is U.S.’ largest distributor of tires, far exceeding the scope of even its closest competitors. The $2.1 billion company has more than 3,000 employees and sells 40,000 different products across a vast network of clients.

But company leaders knew they could do better. The automotive and tire service industry is getting more competitive, and they wanted to be sure their sales team and franchises had the tools and knowledge to deliver value to customers, said ATD Chief Operating Officer Owen Schiano: “Training has to be an important part of that business strategy.”

Schiano noted that tire manufacturers often provide ATD with training on their products, but it’s a “very check the box” offering. And while ATD has a sales training program for new hires, once reps were in the field it was up to their managers to reinforce their knowledge and development. That led to an inconsistent development experience.

Business Intelligence


Who’s Mentoring the Future?
Learning leaders value mentoring and coaching more than ever, but the mentors and coaches themselves may be changing.
By Ashley St. John
M

entoring and coaching are long-valued methods of leadership, career and personal development. Oprah Winfrey summed up the importance of mentoring during a 2002 interview: “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. A mentor is someone who allows you to know that no matter how dark the night, in the morning joy will come. A mentor is someone who allows you to see the higher part of yourself when sometimes it becomes hidden to your own view.”

Organizations and learning leaders have long recognized the value of coaching and mentoring their people to bring them to the next level in their careers. And in today’s business environment, where younger employees value development opportunities, offering mentoring and coaching can lead to higher levels of engagement and retention. According to data from the Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board’s “2019 Learning State of the Industry” report, more than 75 percent of responding organizations currently use coaching or mentoring as a learning delivery method (Figure 1).

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In Conclusion


Perfectly Imperfect Leadership
Inspirational leaders own their mistakes By Scott Jeffrey Miller
Scott Jeffrey Miller
Scott Jeffrey Miller is executive vice president for FranklinCovey and author of “Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow.”
H

ave you ever worked with a perfect leader? I have and it’s not as inspiring as you’d imagine.

This leader achieved an almost untouchable level of success. He was an aspirational model of wise decisions and thoughtful accomplishments. He was buttoned down, deliberate, careful. He made few, if any, mistakes.

Honestly, I couldn’t relate.

But I also had the opportunity to work with another leader, one who was equally successful but full of pratfalls, public failures and candid admissions. He was open about his poor decisions, mistakes and outright messes — which took a tremendous amount of vulnerability and humility.

I respect both of these incredible leaders, but the first was so unrelatable and set such an unachievable standard that truthfully, I couldn’t learn much from him. How could I replicate leadership perfection when I was stumbling around, learning as I went?

Thanks for reading our November 2019 issue!