If you have been listening to the Leading Learning podcast for a while, you know that one of our ongoing focus areas is interviews with top executives at membership organizations to get their perspectives on the role of learning in providing value to members and customers. So far, we have spoken to Cheryl Ronk from the Michigan Society of Association Executives, Rick Grimm from NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement, and Tom Reiser of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH)
In this episode, Jeff talks with Bruce Clarke, president and CEO of North Carolina-based CAI to get his perspective on peer learning, community, and a range of other topics. To tune in, just click below. To make sure you catch all of the future episodes, be sure to subscribe by RSS or on iTunes. And, if you like the podcast, be sure to give it a tweet!
Listen to the Show
Read the Show Notes
[02:27]- Introduction to Bruce Clarke and some background information about CAI.
[04:04] – Have you found that the role of learning and education has evolved in terms of your overall value proposition? Bruce discusses how workplace learning, particularly around soft skills, has evolved to become some form of peer learning. He shares that they have implemented peer learning models.
[05:37] – Do you play a role in helping to facilitate peer learning? Bruce says that it more about the process of learning and it has become more experienced based, rather than advice based. He also explains how hearing about others’ mistakes helps everyone learn.
[06:38] – Have you found any resistance to that [sharing about mistakes] since it involves taking a risk? Are people fully engaging and taking advantage of these learning opportunities? Bruce explains the good side of peer learning is that they offer real, in-classroom, personal experience focused on transforming behaviors rather than passing a test. He also shares that the difficulty with this model is that it takes a lot of time and it is hard to deliver virtually, but this is what differentiates them from and helps them to avoid a “red ocean”.
[08:22] – How does your membership model as a collaborative community and online community fit into your vision of learning and the type of value you are trying to deliver as an organization? Bruce shares that ideally members can pick and choose from a variety of avenues to share their problems/opportunities.
[10:10] – In this web-driven world, has phone call support continued to be a strong part of your overall membership model? Bruce discusses how this type of support is actually considered peer learning and is still very valuable because members can talk through their issues. He also shares that they have brought in some expertise on staff to help increase the value they can provide in specific areas and shares an example of this.
[12:55] – How fluid has the evolution been for you and to what extent have you had to step up as a leader to make all of this happen? Bruce says that their board is very supportive and that staff feedback varies by situation. He explains how the staff has had to adapt to the peer learning model.
[15:16] – As you look to the future what do you see as some of the new opportunities? Are there areas that you want to get into as far as learning and education that you are in the beginning stages of (or haven’t started yet)? Bruce says that they are looking at an alternative delivery model to get high quality, peer style learning without having to be face-to-face. He explains that he’s not entirely sure that it’s possible.
[16:56] – Do you feel like the economic question is the biggest one there? If the economics are right, do you find that you have a membership that will do this or are there other hurdles to get over? Bruce says that there isn’t a majority that would likely embrace what they can deliver at the price point but that they should have enough in that group to make it worthwhile. He also explains that all the traditional hurdles for training are still there even if they don’t have to drive to a central location, including some organizations not allowing employees to have more than 15 minutes at a time for training/learning.
[18:51] – From your perspective, what do associations and association leaders need to be doing to ensure that they maintain a leadership role in lifelong learning? Bruce says that if the association is in the business of helping their members to become better professionals in their field, he doesn’t know of a better method than some sort of peer learning.
[21:48] – What are some of your own lifelong learning habits? Bruce shares that he is in several different peer groups. He also reveals that he learns the most when he stakes himself/his team out on a vision when the path isn’t entirely clear.
[23:25] – How to connect with Bruce and CAI:
- LinkedIn – Bruce Clarke
- CAI Website: https://www.capital.org
- Also, make sure to check out CAI’s The Management Advantage tool
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[25:54] – Sign off