Jessica Farquhar Campbell

Currently a Consultant in the Well-being business, Jessica Farquhar Campbell has nineteen years experience coaching and teaching in various settings, private and public, with individuals and groups. She has taught  in the nation's top writing programs at Purdue and University of Louisville. A veteran yoga and mindfulness practitioner, she is fueled by her passions for personal growth and well-being. One of her first teaching roles was as a behavioral therapist for children with autism.

As a graphic designer for the Air National Guard, she worked her way through undergraduate and graduate school, teaching and writing every step of the way. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, "the new MBA," according to Fast Company, as innovation and creativity become priorities for businesses looking to thrive in the twenty-first century.

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Jessica Farquhar Campbell

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September 17, 2020

Massive Change Refocuses L&D Strategies

Post-Covid-19 era concept of rebuilding

L&D imitates Business or Business imitates L&D

A CGS Pulse survey of Learning & Development leaders during July 2020, shows a shift in their priorities, which in turn signals to business leaders which reactions to the current national crises might be expediting transformation. Businesses that were not necessarily on the fast track to change might find themselves struggling to keep up and to recognize what’s here to stay.

Of several important insights, I highlight three from the survey results that offer some inkling into what to grasp onto right now in order to seize this opportunity to make meaningful change.

Let’s extrapolate the alignment of budget trends, digital transformation, and specific leadership skills showing to business strategy for some guidance.

 

BUDGET

Eighteen percent of respondents say their budgets will remain the same, seventeen percent say they expect decreases, and fifteen percent see increases, which might sound like a net zero stat. Fifty percent of respondents believe it’s too early to tell whether/how their budgets will be affected.

This might seem inconclusive, but I think these data do in fact point to a shift in spending. Kind of like my home budget where I’m spending less money on certain luxuries like manicures and vacations and spending more on groceries and carryout. Being healthy at home means my budget has changed a little. So, as we plan throughout the end of the year and into the next, let’s unpack the implications of spending differently.

 

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

For example, accelerating a digital transformation requires a shift in spending. L&D teams are suddenly integrating gamification, VILT, and VR, things that were on the horizon and now right in front of us. To move our learning engagements and other business engagements into a virtual space, we need outside help to do it well. Covid-imposed work restrictions required my team to shift an event we’d been planning since last year to a virtual platform, which means our budget stayed the same but instead of spending money on the brick-and-mortar venue, with food and lodging, we hired a production firm we could trust to fill in all the gaps and create confidence in things we wouldn’t know how to do if left on our own. CGS is smart to better understand these shifts, as they are likely the partner that businesses turn to for filling in gaps and creating confidence.

Accelerating digital transformation will necessitate changing leadership and changing the way businesses operate: “Furthermore, reimagination might require fundamental changes to board composition and operations in order to be successful,” writes Michael Peregrine in his recent Forbes piece on Microsoft CEO “Satya Nadella’s Three Phases Moving Through Recovery To Corporate Reimagination.” Beyond recovering from current crises, corporations have the opportunity to reimagine their identities by renegotiating relationships with top leaders and redesigning internal processes. Not surprisingly, the article suggests that rotating top leaders on and off the board is one solution worth considering.

 

DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP SKILLS

The survey findings also point to changing leadership as a critical factor in creating our next normal. Leadership, Diversity/Inclusion, and Change Management tying with tech for second highest need points to a need to address culture inside companies and respond to this moment in history—in particular, the civil unrest and awakening to racism by senior leaders. Some might be hoping this is a short-term focus area, but for many who have been pushing for change, this is a moment so seize and sustain. A recent JAMA opinion piece, “COVID-19 Pandemic, Unemployment, and Civil Unrest: Underlying Deep Racial and Socioeconomic Divides,” claims it’s this exact division that must be addressed for progress to be made: “But the narrative that should emerge centrally—which influences each of the 3 events the country is experiencing—is the role of underlying divides in making the US vulnerable to, and shaping the contours of, each of the events of 2020.” If division is the underlying issue, address the foundation of the business—your people.

If change is happening fast, how can a business keep up?

 “Only by advancing new cadres of adaptive, resilient leaders, as well as a middle bench fluent in technology that cuts across silos, will companies be able to work with the speed and impact necessary to further the broader transformation that has begun,” write Daniel Pacthod and Michael Park for McKinsey Accelerate in their piece, “To lead in the postcrisis tomorrow, put leadership and capabilities in place today.” Who are your adaptive, tech-savvy leaders ready to collaborate in new ways and drive the change that’s going to sustain your company? How can you empower them to do what they are ready to do?

Many business leaders may feel overwhelmed as they turn their attention to making plans for 2021 and beyond. Amidst so many unknowns, how can we possibly claim certainty about our futures, short-term or long-term? At this unprecedented time, these results show that Learning and Development teams are reacting to and anticipating business needs; that’s why a trends report like this one can be like a mirror showing us what we need to see. Budgets are the same but different; how can you look at the adaptations you’ve made as examples of your resiliency? The digital transformation is arriving a little faster; how can you shuffle priorities to meet its approach? And last, but never least, is your leadership team. How can you raise the voices of those who are ready to take on these challenges and create the culture that will invite in more top talent? Start with these three findings and themes, but don’t stop there. Explore other L&D strategies highlighted in this report as possible strategies you can adopt or maybe already are and just haven’t realized it yet.


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Jessica Farquhar Campbell

Currently a Consultant in the Well-being business, Jessica Farquhar Campbell has nineteen years experience coaching and teaching in various settings, private and public, with individuals and groups. She has taught  in the nation's top writing programs at Purdue and University of Louisville. A veteran yoga and mindfulness practitioner, she is fueled by her passions for personal growth and well-being. One of her first teaching roles was as a behavioral therapist for children with autism.

As a graphic designer for the Air National Guard, she worked her way through undergraduate and graduate school, teaching and writing every step of the way. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, "the new MBA," according to Fast Company, as innovation and creativity become priorities for businesses looking to thrive in the twenty-first century.

Written by

Jessica Farquhar Campbell

Topics

Enterprise learning and development report