The CEO will be the next CLO

Chief Learning Officers will be the next CEO’s say John Hagel and John Seely Brown, in this short video from Deloitte. I disagree, because I do not see business leadership coming from Organizational Development, Human Resources, or Training & Development. I think it will be much easier, and more important, for business leaders to understand the significance of learning in the workplace. Even Adidas has adopted my adage that today, work is learning and learning is the work.

A well-rounded CEO can more easily become the CLO than vice versa. In addition, the generalists are already in charge. Often, the learning professionals are not core to the business. So where will learning leadership come from? I think it will come from business, and that is where I am focusing my efforts, helping business understand workplace learning, not helping learning professionals understand business.

If business is waking up to the fact that learning is now mission critical, will executives continue to allow learning policy to reside in a separate department? Will they will let learning professionals maintain sole control? I doubt it.

Look at the military. In Canada, which is like most NATO countries, training specialists and schools run individual training. However, more time and effort is put into collective training that emphasizes social and informal learning. The latter is run by operators (e.g. line of business owners) not learning specialists.

If the struggle over control of enterprise social media is an indicator, the learning function seldom is allowed to run it for the business. Using something like the 70:20:10 framework as a guide, the new learning CEO will likely focus on the first 90% and leave the 10% formal training for the ex-CLO

One Response to “The CEO will be the next CLO”

  1. Karyn Romeis

    “leave the 10% formal training for the ex-CLO” – this made me chuckle.

    There are certain roles that seem to feed the position of CEO, like CFO and COO. I can’t see CLO being one of them in a hurry. Apart from anything else, too few CLOs engage much with the core business, which has got to be a primary criterion for the position of CEO.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>