Chief Learning Officer LO13760

Vana Prewitt (
Wed, 28 May 1997 18:36:37 -0700

Replying to LO13740 --

John H. Dicus wrote:

> Dear Vana,
> I don't mean for this in any way to be disrespectful or judgemental, but
> OUCH!!
> I hadn't heard the term "Chief Learning Officer" before. That caught my
> attention. It reminds me too much of "Director of Quality" or "Chief
> Information Officer" -- each being well intended but playing out
> oxymoron-ically in practice.



your point is well taken. Where the CLO (also known as a chief knowledge
officer, etc) comes into play for very good reasons is in an organization
such as mine. We have been king of the hill of our respective industry
for 70 years, got fat and happy, and kinda lazy in our organizational

Then reality caught up with us along with everyone else. We had
competition. The market was reacting wildly. Things weren't as
predictable. The company memory walked out the door (disgusted, fired, or
retired). Where was our institutional knowledge? Nowhere to be found.

Our "system" was in the heads and experiences of the people who worked
here and those folks weren't here anymore. Lots of things started going
bump in the night. In the meantime, we needed to get business taken care
of, so each little fiefdom within our organization started meeting their
own individual training needs, without regard to the impact or value to
the rest of the organization.

Voila! The need for a CLO. We have information, training technology, and
instructional design issues across the board, plus a history of not
documenting a damn thing that goes on here. 2500 people and no standard
operating procedures. YIKES!

Part of the goal is to bring a focus to the need to organize and
efficiently manage all learning within the organization while moving us to
a culture of continuous learning. Our people currently believe that
training is the responsibility of T&D. Well, it's not. It's the
responsibility of everyone who works here and the CLO strategy moves that
culture shift into place.

Anyway, sorry for the longwinded reply. But you asked.

And by the way, your experience at NASA has the awfully funny resemblence
to a Dilbert cartoon (Strategy Czar dogbert arrives with his turban on
head). The chief learning officer's responsibilities, however, should
include strategic planning, holistic thinking about performance management
issues, and many many more things than a T&D department could ever be.




Vana Prewitt <>

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