Placement with the Chief Executive Officer - Training and Development

How do you give proper authority to the T&D manager? How do you avoid wrangles about line and staff prerogatives? One answer is to have the T&D manager answer to the "big boss" to the chief executive officer; that person is often given the title of "Chief Learning Officer" (CLO). Although this arrangement is not the norm in all companies, it is happening more and more frequently, especially in large companies or those heavily dependent on human expertise for competitive advantage. There are some obvious advantages.

First,the position power is unquestioned. When it's necessary to arbitrate between departments battling for T&D assistance, there can be little doubt about the CLO's authority to make a decision. There can also be little doubt that from this position at the top of the pyramid, the CLO is more likely to be given the funds and support for resources, which would permit working on all the significant problems.

If it's hard to get at the facts, a person who answers to the top executive has rather a more forceful calling card than one whose boss is called Administrative Assistant or Staff Support Coordinator.

The view from the top provides a perspective permitting a proactive approach toT&D: Participation in strategic planning and crisis response permits far more effective decision making for T&D policy, priorities, and programs.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the perspective is that the news about new directions and imminent crises comes immediately. The T&D department is far more able to prevent fires if it has direct access to the top manager of the organization. T&D managers who are peers to the key decision makers are key decision makers themselves. The same thing is proportionately true when the T&D manager answers to the top manager of either the line or staff organization.

Finally,the quality of the T&D decisions and programs tends to improve if the accountable person, the CLO, is in direct and constant scrutiny of the person who must make "the-buck-stops-here" decisions for the entire organization.

Accountability rises in direct proportion to the position.


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