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HRD Leadership Elite Series: What’s in HRD Leadership for You?


In the second of this series for TrainingZONE, Paul Kearns offers his vision of the future for HRD leadership and looks at what’s in it for professionals in the field.

The best leaders have a vision of a future that does not currently exist. They tend to show little respect for conventional thinking and are prepared to break rules and re-draw the boundaries. Unfortunately, though, not all ‘leadership’ is good. So what might better leadership in HRD mean for you? Here are some possible ideas to provide a flavour of how enormous the scale of change now required in HRD might be addressed by better leadership.

Training budgets will probably become a thing of the past. Even accounts are now seriously challenging their own blind adherence to the tyranny of budgets. HRD leaders will put a case for whatever resources they believe the organisation needs to deliver its strategic learning objectives. No longer will you have to go ‘cap-in-hand’ looking for whatever you can get. Decisions on learning investments will be made far in advance of the usual business planning cycle. They will lead, not follow, the usual budget forecasts on sales and costs. You will find yourself working in a highly respected function whose contribution to organisational success will be clear.

You will probably find that the accounts department have had to devise a new place in the accounts for learning ‘spend’ as they will no longer show up as costs but as ‘investments’. Instead of telling you what you have to do with this money in terms of accounting they will be seeking your advice.

It is inevitable that HRD people working for the best HRD leaders will attract significantly higher salaries. The best will match the best paid to all other functions.

If you like running a menu of courses you might need to look for another job. However, if you really like being creative and engaging people in the process of learning you will find that not only do you have much more time to do this but you will have many more willing learners at all levels in the organisation.

You will certainly find this new reality challenging. There will be no off-the-shelf answers or ‘knee-jerk reaction’ training. You will have to think long and hard about every learning intervention you plan. The rewards will come though in much higher levels of job satisfaction and personal development.

If you are already ‘leading’ the HRD profession then maybe you could share some of your own ideas with readers as well?


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