25.10.2018500 Words

L ≥ EC

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This 500 words on Leadership Development explores the change environment and how corporate training needs to stay ahead of this change.

“If we don’t learn faster and better than our environment is changing, we are history.”

My parents in law cannot text! They cannot use an iPad, WhatsApp, Skype or Facebook.

Actually, this is a bigger problem than it first seems as they are not able to communicate with their grandchildren because the latest generation doesn’t call anymore and contact is limited.

The frustrations on both sides can be understandable as different generations’ battle with the limitations their life experiences impose on them.

For the GI generation (teenagers during the Great Depression and who fought in World War II) and even the Baby Boomers, grabbling with the latest technologies can seem as if the world is now speaking an entirely different language.

As technology accelerates at an almost unstoppable rate each generation tends to understand technology better than the one before them.

Business are even more vulnerable as they face a lack of understanding and conflict.

Entering the fourth industrial revolution, the fast change of environment and the ecosystem organisations manoeuvre in is something all leaders need to be prepared for and, more importantly, need to ensure they are staying ahead of or they will be outdated, meaningless and simply not needed anymore.

“When I said the world is flat, Facebook didn’t exist. Or for most people it didn’t exist. Twitter was a sound. The Cloud was in the sky. 4G was a parking place. LinkedIn was a prison. Applications were something you sent to college. And for most people, Skype was a typo. That all happened in the last seven years. And what it has done is taken the world from connected to hyper-connected. And that’s been a huge opportunity and a huge challenge.”
Thomas Friedman, 2012

Reg Revans, the founder of Action Learning, gave us the Darwinian law of organisational survival: a simple formula ‘L ≥ EC’. Learning must equal (or be greater than) the rate that the environment is changing, otherwise organisations are on the road to extinction. Leaders of these organisations are even more at risk of Darwinian’s wrath. If we don’t learn more, faster and better than our environment is changing, we are history.

When was the last time you learned something ‘out of your comfort zone’?

Corporate Learning and Development needs to stay ahead of this change. Foci in particular have to be on whether leaders are driving self-development and development of their teams. Leaders’ paradigm of Leadership Development is to be changed from a “popcorn” culture (I am sitting in the back and you tell me what I should learn), to a proactive and self-responsible Leadership Development culture.

“When we talk about technology and the speed of digitization that’s taking place, leadership matters… Many CEOs, senior management teams, and even at the board level, [people] don’t fully appreciate the speed and scope of change. And they may not have the right skill sets to make the right decisions.” Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development for the government of Canada

One way to increase leaders’ curve of learning and development is to partner with companies and other entities that offer the types of lifelong-learning experiences that provide a workforce with the leadership skills to understand innovation and change on a deep level.

CLP’s role within this arena is to equip leaders with the mind-set to embrace change. As a global, strategic leadership consultancy we are devoted to working with leaders and organisations to build a desired, sustainable future within the Change Ecosystem. By using innovative, challenging, state of the art methods and processes we design change and leadership development solutions for major global corporations and smart leaders. We are equipping leaders to stop being afraid of Development and Change, instead making sure they stay ahead of it and bring their organisations with them.


Dr Marcus Gottschalk

CEO at CLP Ltd.

Christian Gerdes

Head of HR

Development Corporate,
Jungheinrich AG


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