Summary of The Chief Learning Officer

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  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Since the day Jack Welch tapped Steve Kerr to lead General Electric’s learning programs, other top companies have also named chief learning officers and put them to work. Authors Tamar Elkeles and Jack Phillips explain how corporate training has changed, what companies have gained from the CLO managerial approach and how you can garner these benefits for your company. They keep things practical, clear and concise by using many charts, bullet points, tables and explanatory graphics. The book also provides real-world business stories and instructive quotes from successful CLOs. In the last chapter, several corporate learning professionals who are actual heroes explain significant issues they have conquered. Since the profession of being a CLO is still growing, getAbstract recommends this worthwhile introduction to what a CLO should accomplish. The book also helpfully explains what a solid learning department should do to fulfill its teaching mission and to align well with corporate management.

About the Authors

Tamar Elkeles, Ph.D., is vice president of learning and development at Qualcomm, where she created the learning center in 1992. Jack Phillips, Ph.D., chairman of the ROI Institute, managed development and training at two Fortune 500 companies.



What Is a CLO?

Jack Welch and Steve Kerr established the position of chief learning officer (CLO) when Welch appointed Kerr to head General Electric’s training and development efforts. With this mandate, Kerr created GE’s pioneering Management Development Center in Crotonville, New York. The two men rejected the title “chief education officer,” because the acronym “CEO” is reserved for chief executive officers. They chose “learning” instead of “knowledge” because it is a verb and implies action. They planned educational programs at the Center that would spread important ideas throughout the company, give employees information and foster an organization without internal boundaries.

Today, top business leaders generally accept that a company requires a foundation of knowledgeable, talented people who must be hired, groomed and retained. Over the past decade or so, many companies have enriched their corporate cultures by emphasizing learning under the direction of a CLO. Demonstrating the business value that learning adds is a more recent concern. CLOs now focus on results that show how their work contributes to organizational success. CLO thought-leaders say the true...

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