by Jennifer Colletta
Learning and development have become one of the cornerstones of many companies’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as organizations seek to arm their employees with the skills needed to navigate the frequent change and disruptions, while also preparing them for ongoing digital transformation. In order for such efforts to be sustainable, companies must have a true commitment to fostering a learning culture, says Joe Whittinghill, corporate vice president of talent, learning and insights at Microsoft.
Whittinghill has spent more than two decades with the tech giant, including the last five helming its learning initiatives. His work was influential in the development of the Microsoft Learning Center and the creation of Microsoft’s Leadership Principles—a driving force in the company’s cultural transformation. Whittinghill recently sat down with HRE to talk about the role of learning in culture, particularly at a time of rapid reinvention.
HRE: What were L&D leaders at Microsoft spending most of their energy on prior to the pandemic? And how did the pandemic shift those priorities?
Whittinghill: At Microsoft, we have long been focused on creating a culture of “learn-it-alls” by developing a personalized learning journey with cutting-edge learning and development, content, platforms and services. Our approach to learning has moved rapidly to be grounded in neuroscience, and more fully understanding how the brain functions, to truly enable our best work and best lives. While the pandemic hasn’t drastically changed our overall approach, it has certainly accelerated it. What has changed is the move to fully virtual, both real-time and asynchronous, and the development and optimization of these durable capabilities within our portfolio of available learning methods. Now more than ever, we’re looking at bringing new ways of learning to our employees and ensuring that we continue to prioritize a learning culture by offering time and space for learning.
by Bruno Aziza
January is a month CIOs often use to look back on the past year to build plans for the next. 2020 was a year like no other, and when Data Executives reflect on the “tech-celeration” their company experienced, they could find it challenging to prioritize opportunities for 2021 and beyond.
There is a lot to look forward to in 2021:
- CIO budgets are expected to rise by at least 4% this year according to SiliconAngle and Enterprise Technology Research (ETR).
- Almost 92% of companies report that the pace of investment in Data and AI will continue to accelerate, and
- This year is the “no turning back year” for Chief Data Officer (CDOs): 65% of companies now have one, according to the latest Big Data and AI Executive Survey.
Still, a lot needs to be solved: over 3/4 of executives admit they have not succeeded in building a data-driven organization and while investment in Big Data and AI remains high for 99% of them, results continue to lag.
In this post, I examine two phenomena that could make or break the future of CIOs. One is a favorable one. The other, a distracting one. I’ve labelled them the “Organizational Shuffle” and “VendorSpeak”. Let’s dive in! Continue reading
by Eric J. McNulty
After being bombarded with disruption in 2020, executives can better prepare for the next crisis by considering new perspectives.
It was the year we saw it all. And 2020 was also the year we didn’t see it all coming. Wildfires. Floods. So many storms in the Atlantic that meteorologists had to resort to the Greek alphabet to name them. Global protests over racial and economic inequality. And, of course, the pandemic.
What is surprising is that we were surprised. In a recent PwC study, 69 percent of responding organizations had experienced a crisis in the past five years and 95 percent expected to face one. We all watched Australia aflame in the months before the pandemic. California, too. It was only three years ago that multiple storms rattled the Gulf Coast in the United States in rapid succession. And climate watchers had been predicting that there will be more of these severe weather events in the future.
And the pandemic? Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, H1N1 influenza in 2009–10, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), first reported in 2012, and the Ebola outbreak in 2014–16 foreshadowed that a deadly, global, infectious disease outbreak was overdue. I warned about MERS, and public health risks in general, in this publication in 2013. It was not the most shared article of that year. Not by a long shot.
by Amy Stanton
“It’s really not about being seen as the person in charge. It’s about learning how to communicate in a way that other people trust.”
You never master the art of leadership.
This is something that seems to be missing from the public conversation around how to be an effective leader. In the workplace, in the world at large, and even at home with family and friends. Leadership isn’t a destination, it is a process: a never-ending practice that takes years to develop, and at any moment can feel like a massive fail.
We all, at some point or another, forget how to be great leaders.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about leadership over the course of my career, it’s that the soft skills are what matter most. It’s really not about being seen as the person in charge, or dressing a certain way, or reminding the people around you that you’re the final decision-maker.
It’s about learning how to communicate in a way that other people trust.
Here are five small ways you can start doing that right now.
1. Change up your feedback style, so people know you mean what you say
If you say, “Good job” to every person you work with, for every single thing they do, those words are going to lose their meaning.