What the World Needs Now Is…

…To take what we know about what works and what does not in driving human performance and to apply it to allow everyone on the planet to achieve their utmost potential.

By Tony O’Driscoll, Executive Director, Center for Technology, Entertainment, and Media (CTEM), Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

For the last 35 years, the training community has toiled tirelessly to better understand how to maximize human performance. During that time, we have learned a lot about what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to leveraging human capital to drive business results.

And yet, as we enter our 35th year as a community of committed human resource professionals, we remain frustrated that our potential to make a difference has yet to be fully realized. The gap between what we know is needed to drive human performance and what organizations actually do on a daily basis remains wide.

Despite our best efforts to share our understanding of what drives performance, we have not made as big an impact as we would like in influencing organizations to adopt policies and implement practices we know will benefit both individuals and the organizations they serve.

For those of you who have been tirelessly striving to build human capital bridges between what we know and what organizations do, I want to suggest that our time has FINALLY come!

Why? Because change and learning are two sides of the same coin. Without learning, there cannot be change. Today, I believe there is little disagreement that what the world needs now (in addition to love, sweet love) is a step change in human performance on a global scale.

Evidence? For starters, we need to make room for two more Chinas in the next 30 years. Furthermore, in making this room, we need to ensure that the fragile planet that nurtures and nourishes us does not exhaust itself. Moreover, while we’re at it, we need to ensure that economic disparity does not reach a flash point of unrest that amplifies the least attractive aspects of human behavior, resulting in a regression to the strife and conflict we collectively vowed to leave behind forever after World War II.

So, to mark our 35-year anniversary at Training 2012, our aspiration is a simple but audacious one: to take what we know about what works and what does not in driving human performance and to apply it to allow everyone on the planet to achieve their utmost potential.

As competent and capable learning professionals we must allow ourselves to recognize that what we know about human performance can change the world by allowing everyone to tap into their unique abilities and exercise them in a way that brings intrinsic value to themselves, economic value to the organizations they serve, and sustainable value to the planet we share.

This is our Moon-Shot. The tipping point from knowing to doing has arrived. Our collective challenge is take what we have learned over the last 35 years and leverage it to drive purpose maximization that enables each and every person in the world to achieve their fullest potential.

At Training 2012, we’ll begin by exploring what it takes to drive people who are living in a purpose-driven world. Next, we’ll examine the incredible possibilities that technology presents to humanity, and, finally, we’ll elucidate how we must redefine our own boundaries and enable others to maximize their potential.

I hope you will join us at Training 2012 February 13-15 in Atlanta as, together, we build the bridge to a better future for everyone. Visit http://www.trainingmagevents.comfor more information.

Tony O’Driscoll is the executive director of the Center for Technology, Entertainment, and Media (CTEM) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His most recent book, “Learning in 3-D: Bringing a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration,” explores how emerging Web technologies are transforming the learning landscape within organizations.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders.