Learning Entrepreneur

Become a Learning Entrepreneur

Never before has L&D been under so much pressure. AND, of course, it is also a massive opportunity to shine. We are in the midst of a health, social and economic emergency. Organisations are struggling. Your learning; its strategy and deployment, can play a significant role in supporting your organisation to be one of the ones to succeed, despite this turbulence. You need to be a Learning Entrepreneur.

Why then, are there so many L&D roles being made redundant?

The organisations that thrive are the ones that have a culture built on learning. People no longer define themselves as experts (knowing it all and putting on a good show). Instead they define themselves through learning. People want to collaborate and solve problems. They want to understand the challenges, embrace learning and experimentation. They have created a culture that is the epitome of a Learning Organisation with Learning Entrepreneurs at the helm.

What do organisations need?

Your organisation needs leaders at all levels, in all functions to step up and shape the future of work. It is the people who embrace and perform against the backdrop of uncertainty who will win the day. These people are curious and more concerned to explore ideas and solutions than establish fault.

This is one of those significant opportunities for people to step up and take the lead. L&D has the ability to touch everyone in the organisation so we all need to lead from the front. 

This narrative is adapted from the opening page from our new book. “Your Genius Book of Ideas: A dose of commercial creativity for busy L&D professionals” You can find out more about becoming a Learning Entrepreneur inside this book.

You can buy it here .

It’s aim is to help L&D professionals stand out. To help you make the most of resources available to you and overcome the credibility gap. It will help you become a Learning Entrepreneur.

Organisations are under immense pressure. Profits slashed, economic uncertainty and localised lockdowns; health and social challenges are all impacting on the ability of an organisation to plan. No-one knows when things will change, no one can predict that future. As such it is not a surprise that roles are being made redundant; however sad that is. And, as usual, L&D are the first to be examined. Let’s be clear, no matter how essential WE view learning, L&D is a discretionary spend. When cost cutting is the operational priority, L&D roles are under the microscope.

Learning & Development is a discretionary spend.

But let’s not be all doom and gloom. L&D for many organisations is on pause not its usual slash and burn. The profession has improved its credibility significantly since the financial crisis but there is still more to be done.

The business commonly criticises L&D for not measuring impact and marketing successes. Its success becomes the well-kept secret of the business. But there is more to it than that. L&D professionals are often still the last to be consulted. Whilst many in the profession have adjusted their approach and brought in new roles to tether the function more strongly to business units, there is still a tension when it comes to getting a seat at the table.

We have previously explored how disruptive your learning is. Now more than ever we need to think creatively to offer greater commercial value to secure your seat at the table.

Gayle Tong posted last week for national underwear day “Pull your big pants up and step out of your comfort zone.” We love this phrase and its one of our mantras so it’s only appropriate to mention it here.

It’s time we really did ‘pull up our big pants’. Time to step out of our comfort zone to demonstrate our credibility and value.

So, whilst your budgets might have been slashed, hopefully you are still in post. If this is you, really think about what your organisation needs right now. What does it need to equip itself to survive? What changes need to happen (that are in the organisation’s control) to help it thrive?

Something else…

And remember, as people rise through the ranks of an organisation it can be very isolating. Particularly in tough times, staff are anxious about their jobs. More people simply become echo chambers for leaders rather than critical friends. Managers are more likely to make weaker decisions, simply because people don’t want to (or don’t feel they can) put their hands up and question. Don’t allow this to happen to you. Be that challenger and champion, help to stretch people’s thinking and maximise not only yours, but other’s value.

Take a look at our toolbox page for L&D professionals to help you stretch your thinking further.

Think entrepreneurially. Become a Learning Entrepreneur.

Below are some questions to help you pull your big pants up. To help you take charge of your situation and demonstrate your own credibility and the commercial potential for learning. These will help you either with your current organisation or if you are, sadly, one of those whose role has been made redundant, they will help you demonstrate your value at interview. Whatever you are doing make sure you manage your stress levels to keep a healthy balance. Take a look here to help you with that.

  • Learning needs don’t stop just because budget isn’t available. What are you going to do to plug the gap whilst you cannot spend?
  • How will you work out what the priorities are in preparation for when budget might be reintroduced?
  • How can you start influencing the learning agenda at senior level right now to bring in positive change quickly as confidence starts to grow?
  • Who do you need to start working with to demonstrate your own value and credibility and earn that seat at the table right now?

Good luck! Let us know what you are doing to enhance your credibility.