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One Thing TD Execs Should Do Right Now: Revisit Their Agenda

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

We’re still in the grips of a huge disruption. Sometimes crisis mode will prompt us to make a quick fix; but we need to remember that it may not always be a permanent fix—or even the beginning of a transition to one. Its time now to plan for the short-term and the long-term. There may be a huge difference between the best thing to do right now and the best thing to do in the future.

We had a TD agenda that was based on the agenda of the business. One way to start is to look at how the business agenda has changed. Talk to the business leaders.

Some of the changes they have either made or are contemplating will be temporary. But most of us don’t know how long temporary will last. Other changes may be permanent. We have to support those changes.

If we are not careful, we will spend most of our energy trying to figure out how to do all the TD things we were planning to do in a totally new way. So much of what we do is critical that it’s an easy mistake to make. We have to reconsider everything in our portfolio and decide if it should be done at all.

Show them you can help with whatever they are dealing with right now, even if it does not fit neatly into your traditional area of responsibility. It’s more important than ever to talk the language of the business and not use L&D jargon. Acting on what the business needs most can earn trust and open doors for what you always wanted to do.

And help them look forward. Be part of the discussion about how things may be changing (or have already changed). There are some fundamental questions being asked:

  • What does safety look like now and is that different from what it was?
  • What is the purpose of the office? What is the value proposition that physical proximity offers?
  • Why and when must we travel? When must large groups (or even small ones) meet?
  • What are the opportunities and benefits that we derived from the old way of working, especially the ones that happened naturally? Do we understand how culture has been built and reinforced almost incidentally and what must we do to replace those elements deliberately? If this is a time to be more deliberate about culture, how clear are we about what we want that culture to be? Apply this same thinking to resiliency, teams, agility, and so on.

Bottom line: Reconsider your agenda. Rethink your value proposition. Use your external network to learn what others are doing and to get ideas about other things to do.

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About the Author

Eivind Slaaen is head of people and culture development at Hilti Corporation and founding member of CTDO Next, ATD’s exclusive membership for talent development leaders who are shaping what’s next in the profession.

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