Monday, August 9, 2010

My letter to UHCE's clients

Every year I write a letter to our corporate training clients.  I'd like to share this year's letter here.

Surf over to your favorite news website or tune your television or radio to a news channel and you are bound to hear something about the state of our economy.  Are we on the upswing?  Will there be another dip?  Among the cacophony of wild speculation about the future and stories of our present situation there is a much quieter discussion going on.  It is the discussion of what our workplace looks like now and will look like as we move forward and beyond this current downturn.  Articles are popping up in scholarly journals and other publications on leadership and organizational development.  Read any of them and you will most likely see one word over and over again: flattening.

While most of what we know about the future of our economy is wild speculation we do know that organizations are flattening and will continue to do so regardless of the economic circumstances.  This flattening is creating a dynamic shift in the traditional career path.  I’m reminded of the book Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dal.  In the end our hero Charlie, his Grandfather step into an elevator only to find that instead of just going up, this elevator goes sideways, forwards and backwards as well.  This is similar to what has happened to career paths. Instead of straight up we have career paths that go all different directions. 

This has left many training professionals scratching their heads and employees frustrated with a company culture that grooms everyone for the next step up only to find the next step has been eliminated, collapsed, or never vacated.  This challenge is only going to grow as we enter a period of recovery. 

I believe the key for training professionals within organizations is to begin working to develop a more holistic training plan that is geared not to prepare someone for a promotion but to create a well rounded and agile employee group that is prepared to work in all types of situations, teams and projects.  This belief is supported by a recent study by Forbes and IBM where they asked executives from top global companies what they felt their greatest organization need was.  The top of the list: the need to create organizations that value and allow innovation and the need for greater organizational agility.  These traits are not the product of heavily managed organizations.  They are the product of organizations that value the core principal of leadership: self-knowledge.  By developing leaders at all levels organizations will be better able to deal with flattening and the demands of any economic climate.

University of Houston Continuing Education is here to help you.  We have faculty members who are on the forefront of this organization shift.  As your trusted training partner we are proud to not only offer you training but also our expertise and knowledge about our current and future workplace.  I hope that you find the attached brochure informative and I look forward to contacting you very soon about how U of H can help you and your organization.