Since we announced our new name last week – the Association for Talent Development – there’s been a great deal of discussion on blogs and social media about it. We’ve received emails and phone calls and I want to thank everyone for being a part of the discussion. I know the announcement and introduction of our new name is still very fresh and we understand and appreciate the passion and engagement on this topic. Through this blog, I will provide additional information and answer some commonly asked questions from the community that we’ve received in the last week around the themes of community input, support for our chapters, and the CPLP credential.

A Growing Profession
Members in and outside the U.S. have told us for years that their responsibilities and scope have been expanding, and they’ve frequently asked whether ASTD’s name and brand was truly keeping up with the profession. While their department or function may be known as training or training and development, those working in it are likely doing many different things.

When talking about the field as talent development, we are referring to helping organizations develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities of their talent. It reinforces the importance of training or learning in ensuring performance improvement for individuals and organizations.

atd-logo-webWhile talent development provides a structure around which organizations can organize their training and performance improvement strategies, its ultimate implementation will be different for each organization, just as we see now with training and development. Our Competency Model provides this foundation and organizations can adapt their structure to a framework that works for their organization, culture, and industry.

We’ve been asked what kind of input there was for this decision. This change to ATD was the result of many years of member and customer input including survey data, direct feedback, focus groups, evaluations, chapter and international partner recommendations, and analyses on the field’s changes, growth in scope, and expanding breadth and depth. The importance and impact of the profession’s work has grown significantly since ASTD first began in 1943. Feedback from our members and the broader profession has absolutely been at the forefront of the input in this change.

If you’ve been involved in a rebranding effort in your own organization or in another context, you probably know how challenging timing can be (Dan Steer comments on this in his recent post). Unfortunately, given the competitive climate of today’s business environment, it is nearly impossible to provide advance details about a name, logo, or other assets without risking that they could be used by others. We chose to launch our new brand in the middle of our 2014 International Conference & Exposition, our largest gathering of members, suppliers, and the entire global community of professionals. This provided a great opportunity to talk to as many people as possible during the event. We also chose to make the announcement after sessions on Tuesday, May 6 so that we would minimize the disruption to attendees’ learning time.

Local Chapters
We recognize the impact this change will have on our volunteer-led local chapters, and we created many resources that were immediately available to chapter leaders after the announcement. Our chapters have an entire year to transition, and we have many resources available to assist them in these efforts including:
• branding guidance
• a checklist for implementation
• chapter logos / style guide
• communications templates
• governance assistance
• and more.
Our chapter relations managers (CRMs) were in touch with each chapter immediately following the announcement and will continue to work with each chapter’s leadership to answer questions and provide assistance throughout the entire transition process. Our CRMs are the go-to points of contact within ATD and are the authoritative source to answer questions and provide clarification and guidance for chapters. And, I will be talking with and answering questions from chapter leaders later this month.

CPLP
ATD and the ATD Certification Institute are highly committed -- as we’ve always been -- to the CPLP credential and helping candidates and those interested in pursuing it achieve success. The name and brand of the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance is as important today as it was when the credential started in 2006, and the credential continues to increase its relevancy with employers and other practitioners in the field.

The credential, much of our content, and the foundation of talent development are based on the 10 Areas of Expertise (AOE) in our Competency Model. Two critical parts of the credential’s name – Learning and Performance – continue to be at the core of the Model and the CPLP certification. These 10 AOEs cover the breadth and depth of all that talent development encompasses:
• Performance Improvement
• Instructional Design
• Training Delivery
• Learning Technologies
• Evaluating Learning Impact
• Managing Learning Programs
• Integrated Talent Management
• Coaching
• Knowledge Management
• Change Management

The terms talent management or integrated talent management (an AOE in the Competency Model) are often seen as a process or set of processes that involve multiple steps in the acquisition, development, and succession of employees. The 10 AOEs, plus the six Foundational Competencies— Business Skills, Global Mindset, Industry Knowledge, Interpersonal Skills, Personal Skills, and Technology Literacy—provide a tremendous foundation for what our broader profession is ultimately responsible for, and that’s developing talent.

This is the beginning of a journey for all of us. I appreciate the input everyone is providing. And I encourage you to connect with us directly to minimize any confusion for answers to questions you have.

We are pleased to share with you some of the excitement about the name change. If you have not already seen it, I invite you to view a recording of the live announcement from May 6 posted here in the Announcement tab.

Best regards,
Tony