Sunday, June 19, 2005


If you work for a business, be a business person.

T+D (formerly called Training & Development) is the magazine of ASTD ( formerly known as the American Society for Training & Development). The cover story of the current issue tells WLP (workplace learning and performance) professionals that Business Acumen is Priority One.

The article, Build Your Business Acumen, tells us that "Workplace learning and performance professionals need to think and talk like their internal customers." The article advises readers to understand the business and how it operates, to use business terminology to gain credibility, to recognize business priorities, to create a value proposition, and to advance the learning and performance business agenda. Follow the instructions and you can become an Enabler, trusted by management to help run the business.

This is fine advice but it doesn't go far enough. You can do more than sharpening your business acumen, using management's vocabulary, and positioning yourself as an understanding, savvy helper. Instead of acting like a busienss person, why not become one?
"Earning a seat at the table" is not enough; you need to be invited back frequently.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. If a WLP professional looks like a business person, walks like a business person, and talks like a business person, why shouldn't she join a business community of practice and become a business person?

Am I being too subtle? You are paid to help create value, not to train people or design learning environments: those are but the means to an end. Make yourself profitable. Add value. Don't fake it. Just do it.

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood. Daniel H. Burnham

Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got. Janis Joplin


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