• Learning and Disruption

    by  • September 15, 2015 • OD and L&D • 0 Comments

    Time to rebrand L&D: How about Learning & Disruption?

    Time to rebrand L&D: How about Learning & Disruption?


    In the beginning, there was nothing. The people function was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God (?) was moving over the surface of the organisation.

    Then there was Personnel.

    And the gods saw that it was good, and so they made HR.

    (Maybe the gods had nothing to do with that, but) then the was HC.

    In another beginning, there was nothing.

    Then, there was a training department (note, no capital letters. Just a department).

    If the gods saw that it was good, there was then L&D. But not always.

    Rethinking people functions

    HR is undergoing a great transition. In the UK, especially, there is a great shift in the meaning and use of HR in organisations, what HR professionals do and how they operate.

    This shift has been attributed to the ongoing conversation about HR’s place at the strategic table, or rather, the lack of input it provides.

    But none of this is happening in L&D.

    Probably because L&D (especially in the UK) is HR’s forgotten cousin, and it seems to be getting lost in this struggle for strategic power.

    (A fact, I, personally, find ridiculous because L&D has got the real strategic power).

    Time to rebrand L&D

    So let’s stake our claim, L&D folks. Let’s stop being polite about it and give ourselves a name that gives us the right kind of statement.

    @CaribThompson tweeted not too long ago an image that had an L&D professional as a youngster, and their jacket had “L&D” embroidered on it. Only the professional joked and said that at the time it stood for “lazy and disruptive”.

    So that got me thinking…

    So what if we the D for Disruption?

    I know dropping “development” could be an issue because “development” is not 100% synonymous with learning. I’d be the first to argue semantics and lingual congruence, but I kind of see a bit of a redundancy in having both in the title.

    Let me argue my point.

    Time for some rhetoric

    What kind of activities does L&D provide? Training? Online Learning? Leadership development? Talent management?

    And what’s the purpose for all this? Keep people up to date with knowledge? Comply with regulation? Benchmark behaviours? Understand competence levels?

    Sure. But L&D can do so much more. Especially now. With big data, with advanced analytics, with a strategic view of people in organisations, competency matrices, integrated talent and learning systems… L&D sits on what capability we have in organisations, where and when. L&D has the toolbox that opens up silos, improves collaboration and induces creativity.

    If we use none of those tools, all we do is toe the line; keep up with the Jonses.

    Isn’t it time that we got ahead of the competition?

    Level up, L&D

    How do we get ahead?

    Oh, right! Innovation. Creativity. Collaboration.

    So many L&D people are looking into these programmes these days. So many of them are called to support transformational change with learning, because getting the people factor right is key to making the most of a change effort.

    Imagine learning activities that are aimed at augment the human capability in your organisation (not just benchmark, create an achievable common denominator, or retain compliance); learning activities that open up minds and communication channels and collaborative behaviours – inside the organisation and out.

    Are they imagined? Great. You have now painted yourself the foundation for a positively disruptive environment. You have the foundation for an organisation that promotes challenge and continuous improvement.

    You have imagined L&D that actually makes the people and the organisation do more. Do better. Do differently.

    How’s that for a rebrand?…


    What do you think? Could Learning & Disruption be provide become a better fit for the organisations of today (And tomorrow)? Let us know! Please comment!

    As always, please feel free to @disrupt me on twitter of disrupt@me over email. I love it when you do.


    Image credit: the image was borrowed from neogaf.com message board. It looks a lot like The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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