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ATD Blog

Adaptivity is a Must


Mon Oct 22 2012


Darwin said: “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Although he was writing about dinosaurs, his advice has been applied to the modern-day organization, and lately, to individual careers. Adapt or die is key advice for any employee. Forget updating your skills to change jobs. Today’s employees need constant retooling to stay competitive in their current roles, especially if those roles are touched by social media.

Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice the London Business School has coined the term “serial mastery” to describe the practice of seeking learning to stay relevant. “You can’t expect that what you’ve become a master in will keep you valuable throughout the whole of your career,” she told a New York Times reporter.


Despite and sometimes because of the recession, companies have continued to invest in training to keep employees relevant. ASTD data show x.  They are also introducing new ways to share knowledge such as having experienced employees share knowledge on internal social networks, using gaming technology to teach, bringing back retirees for short stints of mentoring, and ramping up coaching and job rotation.

Some employees are not waiting for their employers to train them. Instead they identify the skills they need and seek them on their own.  Lynda.com, which offers access to a slew of software training videos for just $25 a month, reports that its base of individual customers has been growing 42 percent a year since 2008. Coursera and other MOOCs which offer free courses online from prestigious universities, are growing rapidly. ASTD’s CPLP credential program (Certified Professional in Learning and Performance) grew 20 percent between 2010 and 2011. Jennifer Naughton, Senior Director of Credentialing for the ASTD Certification Institute, says “Learning professionals share the universal need to adapt constantly to changes in the workplace.”


People seeking social media savvy and digital literacy are signing up for courses online or at community colleges to learn such skills as Tweeting, updating a Facebook timeline, and uploading images. ASTD’s Techknowlege conference in San Jose, January 30 to February 1, 2013, will include a hands-on session on Twitter basics. Linda David, Manager of Conference Programming for ASTD, says such sessions are popular with mid-career professionals because they can help take a person to the next level. “Social media skills are expected in many training jobs,” she says.

Click here to learn more about the Techknowlege Conference.


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