Adapt or Die: How Front Line Principles from an American General Can Aide the Training Industry

by Dave Letts on May 29, 2013

Raytheon Professional Services recently attended and participated in the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) conference in Dallas, Texas. During the conference, our team had the opportunity to listen to Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, former head of all U.S. Army installations, provide his viewpoints on the importance of adapting to the challenges of the 21st century. As Lynch stated in his remarks:

“The 21st-century leader faces a set of unprecedented challenges. Rapid change is the new normal and leaders with a keen ability to adapt are in high demand. The ability to adapt to rapidly changing scenarios and overcome obstacles is essential.”

The topic got me thinking about how the training industry has significantly evolved in recent years and the way technology is redefining the role of a corporate training partner. In today’s global economy, organizations must choose a training partner able to both understand their market, training and business objectives and execute across multiple technology platforms internationally. Training providers who can’t adapt to these new realities to meet the needs of an organization’s various groups will quickly find themselves being replaced.

Lynch also focused on the importance of leadership and recognizing trends early on so steps can be taken to prepare. When I look at our industry, I believe the same can be said for corporate training professionals who are charged with creating effective training programs — especially for high-consequence environments in rapidly changing industries such as those RPS serves (healthcare, oil and gas, automotive).

For example, breakthroughs in medical technology and healthcare reform are changing the way healthcare providers approach patient care and operational excellence. In the oil and gas industry, a litany of environmental and political influences has altered approaches to operations and safety. Couple these changes with a new generation of workers that has grown up with mobile technology and social networks, and the expectations for corporate learning and the results it can produce shift significantly. For RPS, the swift evolution of these industries over the past five to 10 years has created substantial challenges in keeping workforces current in training and certifications and will need continuous monitoring and training solutions adjustments.

Adapt or die. It’s a short but powerful message that every business leader should always keep in mind. The landscape is changing and the pace of change is only accelerating. Those who fail to stay ahead of the curve will quickly find themselves falling behind and eventually out of the race all together. Training will play a big role in an organization’s ability to adapt to new business conditions, and we, as an industry, need to be ready to provide the necessary solutions. Sounds like a challenge we can’t afford to lose.

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