Jess Elmquist presents at Fredrickson Learning's Learning Leadership Summit

From my chair at our 2015 Learning Leadership Summit, Jess Elmquist had a clear message to the assembled learning leaders. The message? Develop the skills and courage to advocate for what you need to meet business goals. I heard a similar message at the PACT* meeting last week: own your expertise and share it to enlighten others about the possibilities for how L&D can make a difference in business performance.

Jess shared some concepts that made me reflect on some of my own behavior. Maybe they’ll hit home for you, too:

  • Commiserating is “an indicator on your dashboard” of frustration and other feelings. It’s ok to commiserate a little bit as long as you deal with the feelings underneath.
  • What you call loyalty could very well be enablement. Sometimes we enable unproductive behavior for the sake of avoiding conflict. Doing so can keep you from achieving what you have promised to others. How loyal is that?

Jess challenged the group to recognize that sometimes moving on to another company is the right thing do when you’ve fought for what you need and haven’t achieved it. If learning leaders want to be more involved in business strategy and accountable for business results, they also have to be prepared to see that they may not be the right person for the job in context of their company’s leadership team.

These messages were refreshing and emboldening. I’d love to hear perspective from learning leaders inside organizations—any new insights from Jess’ talk?

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