I spent this month feeling younger. No secret anti-ageing medication – just talking to young students. It was invigorating to meet with the next generation and hear their dreams and aspirations. I also got to spend time chatting with teachers, school leaders and parents. What came through was the scale of the challenge and the opportunity we face in developing talent. Talking to students and teachers it became clear how our education system is relentlessly focused on ‘covering ground without necessarily cultivating anything in it’. Teachers are racing against time to cover a curriculum and students on memorizing all that’s required to pass an exam.
I also had the benefit of attending two conferences related to the two passions of my ‘second life’- education and the future of talent. At both, the content was good but my biggest takeaway was the audience. The first was on schooling and innovations in education. It was amazing to see so many school Principals block half a day to discover ways to make their schools more relevant, their teaching methods more effective. If an open mind is the beginning of progress that audience being there and their willingness to learn was a message of hope for me.
At the other conference for HR professionals, what impressed me was how dramatically the age profile of the attendees had dropped- off stage and on it. Much younger, much more willing to challenge the status quo, much more willing to see HR as a business driver function rather than just a business partner function. Dave Ulrich’s session drove this home very well. He spoke of employees but he spent a lot of time on customers, on the community, on investors. These were HR’s new stakeholders not just employees and line managers. HR from the outside-in was the future. It was time, he said for HR to move from gazing in the mirror to looking through the window.
Connecting the dots from those two conferences there clearly seems to be a gap between what the education system is churning out and what employers and organizations of the future need. The pity is that most of the Government bodies that could make reform happen seem to think nothing is wrong- but that’s a little bit like the clock that looks right because it is 12 hours behind!! The hope lies in the many entrepreneurs in India who are picking up the baton for change in education – their enthusiasm is catching.
Trust all is well with you and hope you are making time to relax and unwind over the holiday season. Here’s an interesting article –
“Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012” to help with those inevitable New Year resolution lists.
Warm wishes to you and your family for a very Blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year.