Today we sponsored the Accountingweb Live Virtual Conference, live from chilly Dallas, Texas. I had the pleasure of leading off with our esteemed panel led by Gail Perry, Caleb Newquist, (yours truly), Greg Kyte and Alexandra DeFelice (and featured in the photo).
The fundamental idea behind this session is that learning is changing. Learning is different, or rather should be different now. The panel grilled me as we had a great dialog about learning, leadership and talent development in these rapidly changing and complex times.
This clip sums up our view at the Business Learning Institute about learning – That was then, this is now.
The war for talent is just beginning. A 2012 survey by the Corporate Executive Board found that 60 percent of organizations were experiencing a leadership shortage, an increase of 40 percentage points from the previous year. Another survey by Ernst & Young titled, “Paradigm Shift: Building a New Talent Management Model to Boost Growth” states, “The scarcity of talent is quickly turning out to be the biggest obstacle to growth.”
Our strategic approach and tools to support learning begin to address the paradigm shift referenced in the E&Y study.
Recent research has identified social learning as one of the top trends in learning. The Business Learning Institute has been an innovator in this area, using the latest learning technologies to increase the impact of learning through better engagement and more peer-to-peer experiences. Social learning tools include Conferences.io, ThinkTank by Group Systems, Inc. and i2a:Insights to Action, in addition to Twitter, Slideshare and other web 2.0 applications.
With leadership being the No.1 issue facing organizations, BLI developed a Leadership Academy based on a highly participative, experiential model that builds critical competencies in strategic thinking, collaboration, and network leadership. This program is in its fifth year for the American Institute of CPAs and has been customized for CPA firms, and several State CPA Societies.
On-demand and just-in-time learning are also major trends in learning and BLI developed BLI Leadership Express to bring on-demand leadership training with over 50 hours of CPE/CPD to individuals and organizations.
These are all part of the “shift change” we see in the CPA Profession. The changeover from baby boomers to Gen X as they retire is causing shifts in skills and apporaches to five fundamental areas of business:
- Technology – hyper-connected, mobile, social, cloud, and big data.
- Generations – Generation gap, generation lap, and 2 for 1 (Boomers to Xers).
- Workplace – Work is no longer a place we go, but what we do – open, collaborative, and flexible.
- Leadership – A recent Harvard Business Publishing study found only 32% of business leaders believe that their organizations have the right leadership to achieve their strategic goals and cope with the current business environment.
- Learning – L>C, flipped classrooms, participation and engagement are the new normal.
The cause of the shift change is the rapidly changing and complex hyper-competitive environment which has become the new normal. The key to managing this shift change is a very simple, but very big idea – develop your talent and keep your L>C.
The winners of this shift change will be those who can keep their rate of learning greater than the rate of change and greater than their competition. This is true for the organizations as well as individuals. The secret to talent development and L>C is in the 4 C’s – Competencies, Career Path, Curriculum, and Cloud Learning:
* Identify critical skills needed or competencies.
* Develop a clear career path that shows how people progress in your organization (e.g. theBounce).
* Map the competencies to the career path and create a curriculum.
* Add in “just in time” cloud learning to help you get the right talent with the right skills at the right time.
Our research identified the top five critical skills or competencies needed for the shift change are these:
1. Leadership: The ability to develop and share insights and the aptitude to mobilize and inspire others to action. Leadership is about finding possibilities and developing people, utilizing their strengths, and shaping the future.
2. Communications: Able to give and exchange information with meaningful context and appropriate delivery and interpersonal skills. It includes the ability to make thinking visible to others in a way they can easily grasp.
3. Strategic thinking: A future-minded and flexible mindset that thinks critically and creatively. The ability to link data, knowledge and insights together to provide quality advice for strategic decision-making.
4. Collaboration and synthesis: Being effective at engaging others and working across boundaries to turn challenges into opportunities, including the ability to consider the whole picture (past, present, and future context) and create alternatives and options for the future.
5. Being tech savvy: Anticipating technology changes and how they can benefit others. Being adept at standardizing data for transparency, efficient exchange, and visualization.
How can you respond to the shift change whistle? The changes in technology have ushered in a new era and opportunity to help accountants develop talent and keep their L>C. There are now new systems available that were previously only available to the largest organizations that can provide a learning platform to support talent development.
An example of this big idea in action is from a Gaithersburg, Maryland CPA firm, DeLeon & Stang who implemented the 4 C’s into a cloud-based learning system with the help of the Business Learning Institute. The managing partner, Allen DeLeon said, “We see this system as a key recruitment and retention tool, allowing us to offer our people many of the things that the largest firms do – competency–based curriculum, career paths, and just-in-time learning, and our own custom D&S learning center.”
See our press release about “A New Era in Talent Development and Learning”