In the “new normal” organizations have to do with the resources they have or trade them out. As companies have slimmed down to the best performers, they are still faced with the prospect of growing them to become the future leaders of the company. Learning Maps and Knowledge Management are critical elements of successfully management companies. Growth is a basic imperative for companies today. One is to grow sales. That one is easy to identify and requires a concerted effort by an organization to focus and communicate effectively, while keeping their eye on the marketplace. If you don’t have 100% market share, growth is very possible, but every function must have the skills to support that objective through more highly skilled teams in sales, engineering, customer service, supply chain and marketing. But how do you grow organizations and create its new leaders? Learning Maps provide and Individual Development Plans (IDP) are another key element in the development of an organization. With the addition of online education and a carefully crafted learning and development map, it is possible to identify and grow near term leaders. All professional activities require continuing education that is focused on developing new skills, or refining existing ones. A Learning Map is a document that outlines a series of activities in which a functional professional would participate, in order to advance their career/profession. Learning maps consists of a series of:
- Interim assignments
- Leadership development courses
This combination is designed to communicate strategies, solidify culture, develop skills and test leaders. It is also intended to act as a planning tool for the employee and manager for the purpose of career planning and development. In the following diagram, a three pronged approach is proposed for creating an IDP for a professional in an organization.
As can be seen in this diagram, the professional career route will have a unique path that is different than the paths required for management or senior leadership to follow. In order to properly develop, learning maps require carefully planned groups of courses and assignments to move people through a specified development path. With the addition of the technology tools available today, on the job training can be easily complimented by unique courses, seminars and certifications on a cost effective basis. In the past, continuing education typically meant significant costs for tuition, attendance to seminars and time off the job, lowering overall productivity. That is not true today. The internet provides a plethora of opportunities for continuing education in the convenience of a professional’s office or home. Continuing professional education and certification can be done in bite sized chunks, making it more accessible and provides a high level of scheduling flexibility. Organizations who don’t utilize learning maps and these basic tools will take longer to develop people and will have a poorer operating result. Group50’s organizational development practice incorporates learning maps as one of its knowledge management tools.
About the author: Jim Gitney is the CEO of Group50® Consulting and specializes in the development and implementation of manufacturing and supply chain strategies. Jim and the Group50 team are all former executives with well-known manufacturing and distribution companies who understand what it takes to put together and manage the implementation of a successful strategic plan. Group50 has designed a series of strategic assessments, workshops and strategic execution tools that eliminate the existence of Anti-Strategy. You can reach us at (909) 949-9083 or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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