Passages of a Learning Professional

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.- Gail Sheehy

As I reflect on transitioning from a corporate role to a consulting one (again), it is with great anticipation that I enter what Gail Sheehy called the Age of Mastery.   No longer the arrogant 30-something with high ideals and no idea of reality, I'm now the seasoned professional synthesizing years of experience, observation and learning into suggestions for success.  Okay, I may still be a little arrogant.  I've reached the stage that I no longer care about political correctness: You hire me for my expertise; if you don't like what I suggest, what did you hire me for? 

As learning professionals, we tend to act as though we are servants. We (metaphorically) sidle up to leadership, cringing and bowing, begging for attention, a budget, a crumb of respect, a 'seat at the table'. Well stop it. Just. Stop. It. Sure, we 'serve' the company, but we aren't servants. We are professionals who know what has to be done to increase the value of workers to the business. We are critical elements for success, darn it!  And I, for one, am going to continue to be direct about what needs to be done, who needs to be doing it, and how much - yes - how much it is going to cost, not only in terms of dollars, but also in time, effort and responsibilities. Coincidently, my declaration of independence from servant-hood corresponds to the radical shifts occurring in business and the L&D industry. 

In their excellent article outlining the stages that L&D must take to change the paradigm (finally!) from training (a one-time event) to performance (a complete architecture), Frank Nguyen and Kanmei Yang lay out the steps learning organizations must take to build value -- for workers, for the business and for themselves.  Read the article. Send it to your manager. Become an advocate for change. 

If you want to really call yourself an L&D professional, you must change. Change and grow, to ive as a professional. Or get out of L&D.