Isn't it strange how you often find something when you are not actually looking for it?
Last Friday, I attended Connect at the Savoy in London and had a really productive day, meeting up with HR professionals to explore new ideas in learning and development. One of the speakers on the day was Amar Bachu, the European Talent Manager for Panasonic.
Fresh back from a trip to our Impact Japan office, I was interested to hear what Amar had to say about Panasonic, an established Japanese/global company, and their plans for the future. The technology market is going through tremendous change with Korean companies and other emerging brands creating real challenges for the well known Japanese electronics companies.
We have just launched our own "re-born" strategy in Impact Japan, to focus on what is a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive market. We aim to be more focused on the future needs of our clients in Japan as more of them respond to globalisation. We established our business in Tokyo back in 1988 and I have always been fascinated by the culture and the working practices of Japanese companies. Japan has changed tremendously since then, but many of the same core values are still intrinsic to how they do business and often very different to western practice.
Amar gave a really inspirational presentation on her role and priorities in talent development, responding to mega trends such as individuality, evolving markets in new technology and the challenges of succession planning.
She also announced the re-launch of TECHNICS, a Panasonic brand I was familiar with when I was a young record collector, but could never afford. The launch video she showed really inspired and captivated me...
The messaging in the video says:
"Music is borderless and timeless - touching people's hearts across cultures and generations"
I guess I had been thinking subconsciously about how best to describe the true nature of transformational people development and how it should realise human potential.
The video and especially this statement really resonated with me.
I believe that great people development should also be "borderless, timeless, touching people's hearts across cultures and generations".
Borderless - what we do needs to be engaging and relevant wherever it is delivered or applied. In different countries, through different media, whether it's face to face or virtual and in different languages.
Timeless - recognising that learning is a life long activity and our role is about equipping people with the skills and behaviours to use every experience they have as a learning opportunity.
Touching People's Hearts - too much of contemporary learning is intellectually focused, concentrating on the acquisition of knowledge rather than doing things differently. To achieve real emotional engagement and the consequential behavioural change that can emerge, we need to create real, inspirational learning environments that connect with people on an emotional level.
Across Cultures - so much of our best work comes from creating opportunities for people to genuinely learn from each other in multi-cultural environments. Understanding, for example, how leadership and decision-making are different from one culture to another and learning how to lead multicultural teams.
Across Generations - actively encouraging people of different ages within the workforce to share stories, to mentor each other and to learn from each others' very different experiences.
Amar finished with a quote from the founder of Panasonic - Konosuke Matsushita - and I'm guessing that it was written in the late 1940s.
Every person has a path to follow
It widens, narrows, climbs and descends.
There are times of desperate wanderings.
But with courageous perseverance and personal conviction, the right road will be found.
This is what brings real joy.
For me, this captures the essence of what great people development is all about.
Life is a journey, not a destination. Our role is to prepare people for the journey and to impel them into the experience with the skills they need to learn and develop.
I wasn't expecting to find all of this relevance and inspiration from one short presentation. Like I said, you often find what you are looking for when you least expect it.
Thanks Amar, you really made my day.