Don’t make me laugh.
The COUNTLESS conversations I have had about the ROI of learning. *bangs head against wall*
“The C-suite need to know.”
“If we can’t measure it, how will we know it was a success?”
“Yes, the idea has merit, but does that equate to bums on seats?”
And yet it keeps coming up.
I keep having it, and you know what? I’ve had enough. Enough of trying to articulate the ROI or the ROE of learning.
What was the ROI of your life when it was the last moments and you were on your deathbed? Asked no-one. Ever.
It takes money and investment to learn and develop. Yes, yes it does sadly. Mostly because education demands that people are taught the right skills and given the right tools so they discover things for themselves. So education becomes a commodity just like everything else on the stock exchange.
It frustrates the living hell out of me that even the number crunchers, who would have had the full benefit of a learning and development experience either through formal education, or through other methods, will question investing in people’s development. And what does it come down to?
Ego. That’s what it comes down to.
I know something you don’t, and I can leverage that knowledge to exert power over you.
Fear. That’s something no-one will ever admit to.
I’m afraid that if you learn and develop, you will be more successful than me.
Command and control. Because that’s what I can exert.
If I start to trust you and allow you a free path, it could lead anywhere, and I’m not ready for that.
It is the bane of my professional existence.
I do not discount that the conversation still needs to happen, and it will need to for a good many year in the future. I don’t discount that there are L&Ders out there who will be fighting tooth and nail to save budget where they can, and to walk cap in hand to the C-Suite for expenditure. I certainly don’t discount that being frustrated to the hilt with having to convince a normal sane human being that L&D is in itself an oxymoron.
Stand up, dear L&Der and be counted. Hitting that sweet spot of becoming a learning organisation is hard work. It means having to move beyond the confines of the role and being inter-woven with the organisation you’re serving.
You want to know how to do this? I don’t offer a ten point list of things you should do.
Instead I offer something better. Talk to these people about what they do, day in day out, to make their organisations learning organisations:
I know these people, and they give me the confidence that there is a better way to be. There is a better way to help our people, and there is a better way to make the argument work in your favour. Most of that list blog, all have Twitter accounts, and they’re all smart people.
You want the ROI of learning? Talk to them.
You want to stab yourself in the eye with a blunt baseball bat and go blue in the face with screaming? Go read another article about how the ROI of learning will lead you to the C-Suite.