Thursday, 5 December 2013

Learning Week Celebration

In an earlier post I had discussed the challenge faced by the learning & development professionals to get  sufficient participants  released for training programs by our internal customers like production who have their own challenges & priorities of meeting targets.

In order to highlight the importance of learning  & continuous improvement, our L&D department took the initiative to observe one week in the month of November ( 25th to 29th) as learning week.It was in November five years ago  that the L&D centre was established in the company with 5 classrooms & a conference hall. As part of the week long celebrations, we sent daily learning quotes to the section heads and team leaders of all departments.We asked  two of our training service providers, Mr Narendra kumar of Instivate Learning Services and Mr Dilip Krishna od Born to Win as to what they thought of the idea of observing a learning week.Bothof them expressed  their excitement at the idea of showcasing learning.Video messages of their thoughts  were telecast, one at the time of inauguration & the other during the valedictory session.

On the first day a special Knowledge sharing session (KSS) was organized on the subject "Unlocking the mystery of extraordinary leadership skills" by Mr T.V Shivakumar,a reputed trainer.This was preceded by a formal inaugural session well attended by employees cutting across departments.In the welcome  speech I explained to the audience the significance of observing the learning week. During the course of the week competitions would be held in article writing and elocution in which the participants will share as to how .they were able to apply the learning from training programs and benefited in their day to day work and personal life.  I also reminded the audience of the story of two wood cutters.One of them worked hard & continued cutting continuously while the other stopped for a while to sharpen his axe.In the beginning it looked as though the first person was cutting more wood but it was clear subsequently that the second wood cutter was able to deliver more since he had sharpened his axe in between.Similarly one should not think of training as a waste of time ,but as an investment which would give rich dividends in future.   In their learning messages ED(Admin) and the VP(Production) drew attention to the importance of learning & continuous improvement.They. appreciated the initiative and wished the  week long  celebration all success.In the special KSS, the speaker suggested adding two key qualities to one's leadership style apart from the ones usually associated with leadership namely 'altruism' and 'unconditional love.'  This was a novel and interesting suggestion and at the end of the session we had a healthy debate as to the practicality of applying these in a corporate scenario.

There was active participation in the competitions organized in both Tamil & English and we gave prizes to the winners in the form of books at the valedictory session on 29 th November 2013. On that occasion we exhibited a video showcasing our L&D activities during the year 2013.The valedictory address was given by our Director (Finance) who appreciated the initiative of  observing the learning week and hoped that this would set the momentum for a better appreciation of learning activities & continuous improvement in the company. As a fitting finale to the week long celebrations, we had a special KSS by Mr Srinivasan, former member of the Corporate Management committee of the ITC group on the subject " Knowledge and Learning is the key to Growth and prosperity" Mr sreenivasan spoke of the importance of reawakening the child in us so that we are not afraid of making mistakes and the need to sharpen our skills for a learning lifetime,as he put it.He also touched upon Ken blanchard's life cycle model of leadership and the 7th habit of "Sharpening the saw" propogated by Stephen Covey. The session was followed by a lively question and answer session at the end of which the participants termed it a very rewarding experience.

We, the seven member team of learning & development attemped this exercise of observing the learning week as an experiment.But along the way, we really got excited by its possibilities.It afforded an opportunity to team members to show case their creative & organizing skills on the one hand while on the other it served to highlight the concept of learning as a way of life with focus on continuous improvement.I am sharing our experience so that readers taking a cue, may be encouraged to observe similar learning weeks and convert learning into a celebration.


  1. Excellent topic :-)

    We have to make our organisation as "CONTINOUS LEARNING ORGANISATION" with the help of implementing various effective L&D interventions.

    Approach (observing learning weeks) we have discussed above really makes the difference, as it helps L&D department to measure the effectiveness and importance of learning in employees after the completion of training programs.

    L&D department in organisations must be considered at "Strategic Business Partner" , as predominant view of L&D as "Standard practice" is changing very fast. As a function, L&D will not just be “offering courses” and “managing development as best we can” but instead will play a greater role in generating value for the company.

    L&D department really needs to understand the business imperatives — what are the business issues, where are the talent gaps, how do we fill those gaps? It’s not about traditional training anymore. It’s getting the right people in the right roles with the right skills.

  2. I agree with your views.Thanks for sharing them.