Comments are closed. Roger Smith, head of learning and development at Marlborough Stirling,reveals his plans for harnessing technology at his new employer. He is 50 (butdon’t tell anyone)How long have you been in this job? Nine months How long have you been with your organisation? One whole year. What does your role involve? Looking at how to help the company achieve the strong growth it expects bydeveloping the skills and knowledge of the people – increasing their bandwidth.What’s the best thing about your job? It being relatively new, I still feel the buzz and the excitement. I enjoymaking change happen within the organisation. What is your current major project? Developing a single supported process for learning and development. Thereview process uses skills and knowledge matrices to drive learning needs andthe individual can choose lots of delivery methods to achieve the learning,from one-to-one coaching from internal experts and PC-based delivery through toclassroom events. All this is supported by technology and available through ourintranet – I told you that I need to spend some money! Preferred terminology – training, development, education, learning? Learning – it implies the responsibility is with the individual, which itmost certainly is – and development. In fact, I considered having stickers madeto stick above the washbasins saying, “You are looking at the personresponsible for your development.” Favourite buzzwords? Knowledge management – the people within an organisation should not just bethe recipients of learning events, but should have a responsibility to createinformation that can benefit others. Organisations need to manage this processand make the best use of the mass of knowledge that exists. This will be a keydifferentiator for organisations that really want to create a sharing and learningenvironment. Most loathed buzzwords? E-learning – or, to be more precise, the letter “e”. It seems tobe a reason for PC-based learning to be charged at extortionate prices.Everyone’s rush to get “e” in their portfolios means that somesuppliers are getting away with a con of massive proportions. The e phenomenaseems to provide a way for good, indifferent and badly designed learning to beconsidered under the same umbrella. There’s nothing wrong with good e-learning,but some of the bad e-learning is complete rubbish and can be downrightdangerous. Are you good at self development? I’m sorry to say that I’m not particularly good at it. I tend to get tooinvolved in doing the job rather than looking towards my development needs. Icould say this is because it’s a new job, I’m really enthusiastic and it’schallenging, but these would all be excuses. Where do you want to be in five years’ time? Doing charity work in South America or Africa. Helping to make a differenceto people who have nothing. What was the most useful course you ever went on? How to talk to finance directors, by Nick Leeson`. What was your worst course ever? There are several. I find that a lot of classroom courses are slow andreally labour the points. It is not my preferred learning style. I likeinformation to hit me quickly and like to able to move forward at my own pace. What did you want to do for a living when you were at school? Be a rock star. It seemed an obvious choice for someone who really wantedto learn to live a life of excess. What was the best career decision you ever made? Agreeing to a completely left-field suggestion to take responsibility forthe running of my previous organisation’s training centre, a 30-training room,200-bedroom beast of a place. What was the worst career decision you ever made? Disagreeing with the sales director and chief executive at my previousposition… Evaluation – holy grail or impossible dream? Difficult, but essential. You must understand the value you are adding tothe individual and the organisation. Even though everyone agrees development is”a good thing”, you must be able to prove to your boss that theinvestment being made is giving the benefits expected by the people, theorganisation and the shareholders. How do you think your job will have changed in five years’ time? There will be incredible technology – which works. People will be takingresponsibility for their own learning needs and organisations will fullyencourage and invest in the development of sharing cultures. It will become aquestion of keeping up with the demand for innovation rather than trying toencourage it. I will be involved in a truly global enterprise where clients,staff and shareholders will see the value being added by learning anddevelopment. What do you think the core skills for your job will be in the future? E-management, e-strategic planning, e-resilience, e-adaptability ande-analysis. What advice would you give to someone starting out in training anddevelopment? Learn from others, keep in touch with what’s new and keep your mind opentoall things. How do you network? By keeping in contact with people, benchmarking with other organisationsand attending events. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Bass player for the Stones – I’d be the youngster! Do you take your work home with you? Only when absolutely essential. I believe that home life is just as (no,more) important than work and that people need the time to relax and recharge.I work hard and believe I am very efficient and effective when at my workplace.I make no apologies if people think this is heresy. You are on this worldonce… and if you don’t enjoy it, what is the point? What is your motto? Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Describe your management style in three words or less? Relaxed, but committed. How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues? Fair, fun and always looking to improve things; delivered what he promised. Recipes for sharing learningOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.