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Anticipate Need and Teach Success


Wed May 22 2024

Anticipate Need and Teach Success

Remove the detritus from training goals and focus on what matters.

“Talent development (like work) is in the space between no longer and not yet.” That is how Andre Martin—author of Wrong Fit, Right Fit; culture strategist; and long-time TD leader—opened Tuesday’s afternoon session, “The Future of Learning (or Growth) Is Everywhere.”


“All of our experiences to date are holding us back,” advised Martin (referring to talent development professionals, CEOs, and recipients of TD), from envisioning TD as what it could be. He provided five questions to help attendees think about talent development differently and break out of that mentality.

What if we shifted our focus from learning to a fuller definition of growth?

There’s a difference between “learning acquisition and actual growth that changes the habits, the ways we live, and the things we choose to do day to day,” posed Martin, before asking attendees to consider how masters learn when they spend very little time in class. Rather, such individuals spend time in experimentation, exploration, and being inspired by others. It’s time to rethink training and work toward “better, more meaningful solutions,” said Martin. “What if we were in the game of providing inspiration?”

What if the purpose of TD was to renew energy?

Human ingenuity is nearly endless, but we’re in an energy debt, which is causing individuals to be less patient, less empathetic, and less innovative, Martin states. We need to drive down the energy debt and create opportunities to be healthy under stress, using the confluence of commitment (maintaining a high degree of interest and sense of purpose), challenge (giving learners the ability to see the situation as a challenge versus a threat), and control (learners believe that they can exert control over life circumstances).

What if we were here to discover and distribute the better practice?

“I believe the better practice is already out there in your company,” Martin continued. Everyone should have access to the best practices.

The upside of artificial intelligence, he suggested, is that it can take care of administrative tasks so that TD professionals can work on more creative endeavors.


What if we could be there in the moment of need?

TD leaders can strive to “be there in repeatable moments with insights, tips, and better practices,” said Martin. Every year, stable moments take place: individuals create goals, start projects, and disband projects. TD leaders can be present at those moments with a reminder: “This is how to do that really well.”

What if our only job was to teach and reteach the secret decoder ring of success?

Every organization has its own unique ways of doing things. Each employee must find an organization that fits them. TD teams can help individuals come to work and be successful by “teach\[ing\] people how we work here,” Martin asserted.

In the question-and-answer period, Martin reminded small TD teams to pick one thing that they do well and focus on it, to include onboarding or leadership development.

He also believes humans need to have a better relationship with time, and we need to get better at gathering (in reference to Priya Parker’s book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters. Parker was one of the keynote speakers at ATD23).

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