In 1945 a group of men from the American Petroleum Institute got together in Chicago, Il. and formed a group that would eventually become the American Society of Training and Development. It adopted the tagline “create a world that works better” and is now the world’s largest association dedicated to training and development professionals.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions conference in Orlando, FL. Like ASTD, the eLearning Guild focuses on training professionals, but in the specific area of eLearning. It was a great conference full of fantastic keynote speakers, and practical tips on improving training and development efforts. Throughout the week I interacted regularly with CEOs, CLOs, training managers, and fresh-faced newbies trying to figure out what the heck training meant. The great thing was that people learned what they needed with no stigma on whether their “title” belonged in that course. There were CEOs in the class on Design for Non-designers and experienced training managers in classes on eLearning basics. And all of us sat together enraptured as Dr. Robert Ballard shared with us the new learning technology aboard his Nautilus ship.
Everyone was there to learn. I believe training professionals are among the best at continuous improvement. They generally don’t consider themselves “trained” or “developed”. The natures of those words have a finality to them that indicate completion and that completion doesn’t exist.
Have you ever met a really good leader or manager that finished learning? If they were truly good, you haven’t. Michael Hyatt writes a regular blog that is the most read blog on leadership in the world. It’s safe to say he is at the top-tier of leadership knowledge in the world today, and he regularly talks of the books he’s reading and new things he’s learned. He never stops learning. He has never reached the finish line. And you wont either.
How appealing would it be to join the American Society of Trained and Developed? It conjures images of a bunch of old men sitting around a dark paneled room, drinking scotch, and reminiscing about days of old. The best and brightest are the youngest in the room because they “arrived” earlier than most. They finished training; completed their learning; reached the pinnacle. Ug! What a dreary existence that would be.
Training and development should never stop. There isn’t a person in my company that doesn’t need training, from the partners, all the way down to the newest customer service rep. Training and development is an ongoing process of improvement that should end when we die and not moment sooner. Just as a business can’t sit still (it either moves forward or recedes) so too a mind. Learn and advance, or don’t and decline. There is no middle ground.
What was the last significant thing you really learned? How long ago was it?