038 How L&D Is Adapting To The New World Of Work with Tom Edgar


Hi everyone! Welcome back to the show. Today’s topic is How Learning and Development is Adapting to the New World of Work.

My special guest today is Tom Edgar, Learning Visionary at Roche Pharmaceuticals. He’s someone whom I’ve known for many years as we crisscrossed paths in the pharmaceutical world.

In this episode, we also talk about:

  • The future of work,
  • Why learning needs to change,
  • Shifting the accountability to the learner,
  • Learning from your network,
  • Diversity of thought, and a whole lot more.

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Give people fish, or teach them to fish?

Probably the biggest failure is when you’re under the crunch, it’s so much faster to give that advice as opposed to actually stopping and asking the right questions and allowing it to bring that out.

I can honestly say that there are times, even today, that you really have to stop yourself from falling into – I know you interviewed Michael Bungay Stanier not too long ago around that – “advice trap”.

But if you take that to the learning side of things – and I think this is probably where I have developed, it is really from that learning state – is it actually to, to use the old adage, give people fish or teach them to fish?

The quick way might be to just give them the fish, but in the long run you’re really not doing them any favors. So from the long-run perspective, it’s better to take the time to ask those questions and to really draw out and let those individuals learn because it’s going to benefit them more in the long run.

Becoming self-directed learners

I think we need to see a shift in accountability to the learner. We talk about adult education and how it differs from educating kids, and I think we really need to take that to heart, not just as learning and development practitioners, but also as employees and as people who are going to have to become continuous, self-directed learners.

I think it was Wayne Gretzky who said, “Great hockey players go not where the puck is, but where it’s going,” and I think you really need to take accountability and say to yourself, “What is it that I want? What is it that I need from a knowledge perspective to be able to go to where the puck is going?”

The content – that’s another big piece of this. Again, you look at how fast information is changing around us. The old way of doing things, learning and development, curating content, is not going to be fast enough. We can’t create courses, we can’t create materials fast enough o be able to me the needs of learners, so learners have to be the ones to curate the content as well.

Diversity of thought

The old way is there’s a tried, true and tested way of doing things, so that was the hierarchical approach to business – this is just the way we do things. In old business, that makes a lot of sense.

In today’s world, things are moving so fast. In order to be agile, we need to be more open to different ideas. Your way of doing something might be a right way, but is it the best way? Is it the fastest way? Is it the most cost-effective way? Is there a way we could do it better? Because that’s going to give everybody a competitive advantage.

To be honest with you, that diversity of thought comes from a learning perspective. It really is, “Are you curious about doing things differently?” Learning is going to evolve from this idea of, “I’m going to go to a course and I’m going to learn something and I’m going to implement it in my job.”

Learning happens every single day on the job, and the companies that are going to succeed are the ones that can literally harness the power that comes out of learning every day and learning to do things better, faster. That comes through diversity of thought.

If I’m not open to Sally’s way of doing things because this is just the way we do it, I’m not going to innovate, I’m not going to get better and we’re not going to find ways to do things better.

Links and Resources

Connect with Tom: LinkedIn | Twitter

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