Learning and Development and its sour relationship with Cost Cutting

Learning and Development and its sour relationship with cost cutting.

” Sorry Anjali, the business priority is else where at the moment. So, all learning and development initiatives are on hold’

” When we get busy learning and development is the first to get out of our agenda”

These are just a couple of sentences I have heard in the recent past all implying that corporate learning and development is not a priority. Sheepishly, I have to agree that I held the same view for years.

Last week when I was just about to start my Storytelling Workshop at leading Hospital in Singapore my key point of contact says, “Sorry, we have had a new change introduced last week. So, two of the participants can’t join as they are busy cascading the change initiative ”

My usual response to such statements is ,” No problems.”

Anyway, we started the workshop and we worked extensively on Change Stories. We picked real life scenarios on Change with Productivity and Innovation, Healthcare Cluster Changes etc.

At the end of the workshop a participant says,” I wish those 2 participants where here today.”

It is then I showed them these two emails that I had received from doctors who have engaged with storytelling  in the past. These are great learners who did something with the learning and made the change happen. They did not just learn storytelling they applied it.

“Attached is a speech I delivered in Parliament on 19 Jan 2015. It’s gone ‘viral’ on the inStorytelling for Healthcare Training and Workshop Singapore ternet – Red Sports published it in full and has already garnered >116,000 views (by far the highest in the site’s history, with the next highest coming in at around 5,000 views). Posted it on my FB and the number of shares hit the roof. I’m surprised because the speech is 2,200 words – I thought that people on social media have short attention span and they don’t read anything if they have to scroll down and if there are no videos or pictures. Radio, TV, print, social media all picked up on it.

Dr. Ben Tan,  Chief, Department of Sports Medicine, Changi General Hospital , Senior Consultant, Changi Sports Medicine Centre, Senior Consultant, Singapore Sports Medicine Centre​


Storytelling for Healthcare Training and Workshop Singapore In the past, I concentrated on facts and instructions brought forth by my slides, and can frequently see the disinterested faces in the audience. Earlier this year, I focused on a TED-style storytelling (using a failure story and a success story) format to deliver the content, rather than too many slides or info overload. I could see emotions in peoples faces and I felt that we’ve connected, in fact there was applause at the end of it for the first time. I now hope my message translates into the culture change we advocate in CGH, and more lives saved.”

 Dr Augustine Tee, Chief of Department of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine, Changi General Hospital

Great learners come with a mindset.

Whenever I come across an organisation that removes learning and development from their agenda I am reminded of a chapter from Jack Welch’s book Jack: Straight from the Gut

Here is what it says

Jack’s first early decision was to take 118,000 off the payroll of GE – one of every four jobs. At the same time, he chose to spend millions of dollars upgrading Crotonville, his management development center. To quote Jack “my take on this was that these investments… were consistent with the ‘soft’ values of excellence I had outlined at the Pierre Hotel (his first major address to the financial community following his promotion to CEO). Jack took tremendous heat from everyone around him, but that’s the price of leadership. To summarize “I wanted to change the rules of engagement, asking for more – from fewer. I was insisting that we had to have only the best people. I’d argue that our best couldn’t be asked to spend four weeks away for training in cinder-block cells at a worn-out development center.”

What is the point I am trying to make?

I will let you figure.

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