ATD Keynote: President Barack Obama Discusses Fostering a Culture of Learning

Former President Barack Obama gave the keynote speech Monday, at the 2018 ATD International Conference and Exposition in San Diego, CA about the role of learning, and the culture of learning, within organizations and how his education and learning experiences shaped is own decision-making abilities. ATD is the Association for Talent Development.Obama
The following are several take-aways of his speech:

  • Worry less about what you want to be and focus more about what you want to do; what you want to accomplish rather than a title.
  • Build a culture of learning within your organization:
    • Carry your own set of the values in to your job, encourage respect, kindness, and generosity.
    • Help your workers feel part of the mission.
    • People respond when you expect a lot from them.
  • Anything really worth doing is hard; otherwise, everyone would be doing it. Don’t give up your values just to get something you want immediately.
  • Foster a culture that puts you in a position to make the best decisions and learn quickly from mistakes:
    • Set up an honest, transparent process to gather all the data and facts possible.
    • Reach out to your “outer ring” of workers that are collecting data and information and not just those who are reporting the information to you—they are important and valuable and may have additional insights that can help you.
    • Once you have all the information that’s available, make the best decision you can—it may not necessarily be the right one, but it’s the best one based on the information you had at the time.

When asked what prepared him for the presidency, he said obviously there’s no blueprint or manual. But he brought a set of values and habits of performance that he cultivated over time that served him well.

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