Tuesday, June 27

Race to the Bottom?

In all of the formal learning industries, including training and education, we have to teach the basic stuff, and we have to put out fires. We have to teach people how to use a portal, or create adequate footnotes. We have to get them their new password. A new compliance law pops up and we have to develop content to deal with it.

But what amazes me is how many people think that is enough. We have gone from tolerating the minutia on the way to greatness to relishing in the minutia.

We have metaphorically inherited our parent's business, and our satisfied with stripping away the vision, the R&D, the new projects, the passion, and prop up the cash cows as they slowly dwindle away. Then we complain that we are not respected, or influential, or growing. We grab onto hot trends, not because we have any urge to implement them, but because we can talk about them with ourselves and customers to keep their interest for a week. "I discuss n technology, but really all customers want is n-1" one vendor told me. What he was really delivering was n-10.

For 90% of the people I meet in this industry, my dominant question really is, what is your excuse for mediocrity? Budgets? Not enough support? Love the small stuff? You're new here? Don't want to take risks? Worry that you will fail? Hate doing pilots? Don't know how to evaluate results? Always working on something else that doesn't help anyone but has to get done? That is the job of the other training group? No one will return your calls? Think the biggest skill based problem in your organization really is using the advanced features in PowerPoint? The meanies over in IT won't let you touch anything? Too busy to do your job because you are doing other people's job?

By the way, for the other 10% of the industry, with whom many I have had the pleasure of working, thank you so, so much. I deeply respect all of you, and remain your humble servant.

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