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Are we moving ahead or what?

Maybe kicking and screaming at times. But one thing is for sure, as Talent Developers, we cannot stand still!  If we are to be anything in this world, we must be movers and shakers.  

In today’s confusing world, at your company or non-profit or, if you’re like me, at my little old organization of 1, we must be invincible change agents. Let’s face it, if we are operating the same way next week, as we did this week, we have failed.  We are headed for the scrap pile.  By some measure, we will be smaller, weaker, atrophied, or a bit like my late summer tomato plants, we are going to wither away. 

And, in case some of you were sleeping at our September meeting – Karla and the board announced we are changing the entire world of 30,000+  American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) members to a new “stage” name!  We are now officially known as – drum roll -- The Association for Talent Development – that’s ATD !

Let’s get used to it – ATD.  The Association for Talent DEVELOPMENT. The “development” word is sticking around.

I googled a definition for our word “Development.” I came across this: “Development is an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation.” So, what does that mean? Does it mean we cannot stay in one place?  We cannot bask in applause for our fine work? Does it mean we cannot coast while the world changes? Must we constantly invent a new “stage?” And if we don’t, what happens? Do we fall off the edge? Get fired? Or just…. wither away….? 

Most of us deal with a bucket of chaos.  Changing demands, financial targets getting loftier, and budgets growing tighter. Deadlines are shrinking, competition is fiercer, and support is thinner. Staffing is slacking, customers are fickle, attention is more difficult to maintain, clients are more demanding, personal boundaries are harder to defend, and the resources we need to deal with this great big mess get harder to find every day.  Oh my, and the grocery bills keep coming in.

So what then? Punt? Or should we try the “delay of game” tactic? And risk one of those yellow penalty flags from our boss (5 yards for “too much time” in the huddle) again and again, stretching out the agony, until we end up under our own goal posts?

While not easy, the answer is a big fat NO. Why? Because we are Talent Developers.  We cannot be procrastinators, we must be change agents. As in the definition above, we are here to create events that “constitute a new stage,” and we must leap on to that new stage, (gallantly if possible) so that others will follow and keep the journey moving. 

Yes, situations are changing faster than ever but so are successful change agents. We must be testing & developing to create that proverbial new stage of development. 

So, if this notion is worth anything (at least the key strokes that recorded it) then next week, any Chattanooga Area ATD member (worth their salt and annual dues) should look me or any other member in the eye and say – “Hey Bruce, SO, what does your “new stage” of development look like this week?” And, out of convenience, or perhaps, just out of a selfish childish habit of always trying to be right, I just might say something like……”Oh, it looks…..umm… Temporary…that’s what it looks like” ….

So, here’s hoping this week brings you some progress and a smile!   See you next time and on your new stage of development!



Bruce is a life long learner with a background in retail and hospital operations. He is currently managing principle of research and assessment at Caldwell Butler and Associates.  He is 6 year member /volunteer for the Chattanooga area ATD.  As a past president he has also attended two ATD Leadership Conferences in Washington DC.


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