1. CLO as COO. All Chief Learning Officers worth their salt have assembled diverse, agile teams that can operate on a global scale. The CLO has a track record of shepherding high value, quality products and services that are quick to market, at the lowest cost possible that absolutely must leave customers highly satisfied. In order to accomplish this, CLO’s must understand the people involved in all processes and workflows they engage in as well as every task in those operations and the technologies either potentially available or actually deployed to support each of those tasks and understand their interoperability. Regardless of changing global factors, industry moves, government regulation philosophies, or mergers and acquisitions, the CLO’s mission in commanding resources to fulfill his customer’s needs are transparent, agile, scalable, high quality, and, of course, world class.
How many times has your CLO found a more efficient way to operate other organization’s processes? More than once I bet!
2. CLO as CMO. Understanding of target markets and their respective distribution channels to create brand awareness can make for a high energy, sexy, and fun career. But for the CLO this is just the first step in building trust, at an individual and personal level with audiences who see the CLO as a partner, a teacher, a friend. This mentor/protégé engagement changes customers lives, builds trust, and creates true fans. The CLO is your customers trusted partner. The CLO is also the best company spokesperson when it comes to collaborating within or across industries. When companies like Disney, Toyota, and Southwest Airlines tout your CLO as a guest speaker at their company functions it’s no wonder why your CEO attributes part of that “Goodwill” balance sheet item to his CLO.
How many times has your CLO been featured in another company’s marketing materials? More than once I bet!
3. CLO as CPO. CLO reputations rest on their organizations abilities to rapidly analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate, both at the business and learning solution levels. Good CLOs have the ability to attract top tier instructional designers. GREAT CLOs have the ability to attract top tier instructional designers, business analysts, project managers, technologists, and subject matter experts. Business requirements, customer requirements, audience analyses, functional specifications, and agile development are all part of a learning organization’s DNA. For every product your Chief Product Officer builds the CLO may have to build a dozen different learning solutions during the same time, ahead of launch, with less resources.
How many times has your learning organization uncovered unmet customer requirements in a product build? More than once I bet!
4. CLO as CRO. The core, driving mission of any customer training organization is to drive down operational risk. If customers do not know how to use your widgets properly then they might be open to physical harm, financial risk, reputation woes, or will just plain be unable to realize the value your product or service was supposed to deliver. That exposes your organization to litigation, reputation, and thus inevitably financial risk. When a great CLO is at the helm everybody in the process knows exactly what they should be doing, why they are doing it, how to do it, and the value delivered.
How many times has your CLO been turned to to help mitigate any type of risk? More than once I bet!
5. CLO as CQO. Key aspects of continuous improvement quality programs are the ability to observe all pieces of a process and the synthesis of feedback of all the parts of that process, and documenting their value. The ability of any member of a learning organization to ask questions around ‘why things are done a certain way, why they take the time they take, why they cost what they cost, and how can it be done faster, easier, quicker’ is an echo of a great CLO’s ability to ensure his team knows how to convey to customers what they need to do in the quickest, cheapest, most efficient manner possible with the desired result that meet the customer’s requirements.
How many times has your CLO been able to help better the quality of your organization’s input, throughput, or output? More than once I bet!
Of course, as the Chief most knowledgable on an organization’s people, processes, relationships, risks, and performance there are more than five reasons why your CLO should be your CEO’s favorite CXO.
The more you think about it it’s more of a wonder why more CLOs aren’t.
More about Bill Corrigan: Bill Corrigan is a Learning Program Manager at DTCC Learning, ScrumMaster, Certified Business Analyst, subject matter expert, MBA, and the world’s leading expert on writing about Bill Corrigan in the third person.