Winter 2021
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CTDO Magazine

New Year, New Normal

Friday, January 15, 2021

Everyone is talking about a new normal. It has affected how we work, educate our children, and socialize.

At first seemingly temporary, this new normal has tediously stretched into our long-term reality, and it can be characterized by one word: disruption.


Most of us understand that today’s disruption can be defined as a problem that interrupts an event, activity, or process. Yet, the dictionary offers another definition: Disruption is a radical change to an existing industry or market due to technological innovation. In that sense, disruption is constructive.

And that definition resonates with Ann Schulte, global leader of learning and leadership development at Procter & Gamble, who is highlighted in this issue’s Spotlight.

Schulte describes P&G’s strategy of constructively disrupting as the key to reacting effectively to rapidly evolving business needs. “The DNA of the company is to focus on continuous improvement,” Schulte states.

“If we just sit around and wait for someone else in the market to disrupt us, that feels too reactive. We think that we are better served, as well as our customers and our consumers, when we look around corners.”

As we enter a new year, a positive mindset focused on responding constructively to change and a proactive approach to building agility and resiliency in our workforce are keys to thriving in the new normal.

In this issue’s Angst Index, Mary Ann Masarech explains how organizations can increase workforce engagement amid disruption by listening to employees better, focusing on career development, and keeping individuals accountable to their goals and performance.

Hot Topic authors Sharon J. Confessore and Timothy J. Tobin explain that leaders must accelerate and incorporate into disrupted work routines opportunities to build new capabilities. They call those opportunities real-time leadership development, which serves to enhance decision making, build trust, and accelerate adoption of new behaviors and ways of thinking.


“Instead of traditional leadership programs, think experiences,” Confessore and Tobin say. “Combine the power of everyday experiences and real-time learning tools to help emerging leaders gain new capabilities, capture fresh insights about themselves, solve business challenges, and quickly determine the viability of their decisions.”

As far as your organization’s current learning landscape, no doubt it looks different than it did a year ago. Check out the Prove It column for tips on how to show the impact of all that virtual learning you have implemented. And in View From the Top, author JJ Walcutt provides a unique perspective on modernizing your learning strategy to address changing business and skills needs.

I am feeling optimistic about this year. We have collectively struggled, learned, and grown during the past 12 months in ways we never could have predicted. I hope this issue of CTDO magazine brings you fresh insights and practical tips for flourishing in your new normal in the months ahead.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

Ann Parker is Associate Director, Talent Leader Consortiums at ATD. In this role she drives strategy, product development, and content acquisition for ATD’s senior leader and executive audience. She also oversees business development and program management for ATD's senior leader consortiums, CTDO Next and ATD Forum.

Ann began her tenure at ATD in an editorial capacity, primarily writing for TD magazine as Senior Writer/Editor. In this role she had the privilege to talk to many training and development practitioners, hear from a variety of prominent industry thought leaders, and develop a rich understanding of the profession's content. She then became a Senior Content Manager for Senior Leaders & Executives, focusing on content and product development for the talent executive audience, before moving into her current role.

Ann is a native Pennsylvanian where she currently resides, marathoner, avid writer, baker and eater of sweets, wife to an Ironman, and mother of two.

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