Chief Learning Officer LO17451

David H. Sherrod (
Wed, 18 Mar 1998 08:02:04 -0500 (EST)

The following appeared in InternetWeek E-mail Newsletter for
March 17, 1998. I thought some people on this list may
find an Information Technology viewpoint interesting...

- David Sherrod
Executive Insights: Smart Companies Strive To Encourage

In today's information-oriented economy, learning is a
lifelong process. In fact, the habit of acquiring knowledge is so
important in our technology-driven workplace that individuals
and companies must institutionalize the process of education or
it won't happen.

And the definition of learning should be broad; not just
additional training to enhance job performance, but rather a
cultural change that affects the daily operations of a company
and its employees.

A learning-oriented company creates a culture that lets people
accumulate wisdom. It understands and celebrates intellectual
capital as a key driver of success. A learning culture values
innovation, creative thinking and continuing education, and
approaches business as a knowledge-based pursuit.

At the learning organization's heart are individuals who are
constantly growing--who ceaselessly take in new knowledge
and turn it into operational insight, competitive advantage and
action. An increasing number of companies recognize that
education, training and the accumulation of knowledge are
sound investments. The most intelligent of these are creating a
new position--chief learning officer. Their role is to:

* Act as heads of strategy, lay a foundation for the company's
next generation and gather as much information as possible
about today's competitive environment and tomorrow's

* Develop a design for the future. They're involved in task-
force planning and the acquisition of human resources;

* And finally--and perhaps most important--CLOs create a
center of expertise to which individuals throughout the
organization can turn and which ensures everyone access to the
intellectual tools, information and data they need.

Even if you don't have a CLO, you can still shift your
company toward a learning culture. Support people on all
levels in the search for education and excellence even if it
doesn't directly relate to their jobs. Commit to honest, intense
communication, even if it hurts. Lifelong education requires a
willingness to be uncomfortable. If you don't know where you
really are, you can't set goals and adopt disciplines that will
take you where you need to be.

As a manager, you need to become your own CLO. If your
company puts you in a box and doesn't let you grow, it's
probably time to start thinking of getting out--or, at the least,
to begin building a new box. By Dana Ardi

Ardi is a Los Angeles-based managing director in the media,
entertainment and technology practice of Ward Howell
International, a global executive search firm. She can be
reached at


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