I also had the privilege to teach a pre-conference Project Management for Learning Professionals workshop for 30 people from across the globe. Most interesting, less than five learners were building 'training'. The Learning and Development (L&D) field (now called Talent Development by ATD is a diverse, somewhat undefined and talented group, who are implementing more complex projects than ever before. What they do is grow people. If they are really good, they also grow business performance. A company cannot be independent of the L&D staff working for them. In fact, L&D only works when the business is dependent on this innovative growth, specifically now, as all work evolves at the speed of technology.
Companies have various defined initiatives that include selling more, building more and making things more efficient. A critical role of Human Resources is to protect the company from its people. (This is called compliance.) The attendees at this conference are often the only people chartered with growing individuals within their organizations. We believe that this is sacred work.
As individuals, we continue to find new ways to quickly learn, usually online. Growing corporate human beings requires much more than a training course. Success depends on follow-up and follow-through. An independent training event disconnected from strategy is a waste of money and velocity. Alignment requires complexity, influence, depth of knowledge and resilience. The roles of L&D require highly technical competence (e-learning, simulations) as well. Job descriptions and accountabilities, if they exist, vary greatly. To meet business goals and engage employees requires constant adaptation to new technology, processes, people and challenges. In other words, performance improvement of human beings drives the ROI of organizations.