ATD ICE 2016 concluded last week in Denver. With over 10,000 attendees, 350 exhibitors, 400 speakers, and 300 sessions over just 4 days – it was more than a handful.

With so much information coming at them, attendees had to be very selective in where they invested their time.

Here we share what we heard from the attendees we met in our booth, at our two speaking sessions, as well as through our connections with attendees through social media.

1. Integrity is Everything.

But how do you learn integrity?

Our social media poll question for attendees across the conference was “What is the single most important leadership characteristic every leader needs to have?”

We had a live word cloud running for 6 days showing the responses to that question. And there is a clear winner:

ATD Wordcloud

However, integrity is hard to teach.

Dr. Bill Gentry, Director of CCL’s Applied Research Services group, has an upcoming book Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For that addresses this as one of the key “flips” in the mindset of a first-time manager.

Bill presented the 6 key flips needed in the transition from individual contributor to first-time manager in his presentations in the booth. View these in the resources from Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work For.

2. Culture is Critical.

But how do you change a team’s culture?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” 90% of strategies fail to be carried out successfully.

Strategy answers the question – Why? The harder question that Culture gets at is How.

During the CCL session on Getting Your Culture Aligned, CCL’s practice leader on organizational leadership Dr. Laura Quinn and CCL Executive in Residence Larry McEvoy got a full audience of talent developers through 4 simple tools to start a culture change in the organization.

The tools, though simple on the surface, leverage CCL’s research on neuroscience, network theory, and complexity theory. View these and more in the Solutions Session resources.

3. Virtual Learning Is Here to Stay.

But how do we truly engage a virtual learner?

Across the conference, at booths and in speaker sessions, the words virtual and remote learner were almost ubiquitous.

In addition, from every conversation we had with talent leaders at our booth, we heard that while the new type of learner is a reality many face, the solutions for such learners are continuously moving targets. Technology keeps changing and hot new trends keep emerging.

CCL’s Senior Faculty Lynn Miller and Pitney Bowes’ Angela Spears engaged a room full of learners with a lively discussion on a completely virtual learning journey that CCL delivered for a senior global audience at Pitney Bowes. View their presentation in the Concurrent Session resources.

Attendees and visitors to the booth also had the ability to sign up for a CCL facilitator to take them through a virtual session applying the best practices that the presenters shared.

Lynn Miller also spoke in the booth about virtual learning communities and helping the learners apply the learning on the job, connecting what we know about organizations today with the time-tested principles of how learners learn — the 70-20-10 principle, based on the research done by CCL back in the late 70s.

View the resources for Building a Community of Learners Virtually.

4. Technology and Learning Are Inextricably Connected.

But how do you get the impact you need?

LMS, CMS, LCMS, mobile learning, text-based learning, and micro-learning are just some of the terms talked about at ATD 2016. Technology is clearly a game-changer for learning, but it has not yet had the impact that most talent leaders have wanted to see.

I (Samir Mehta, Manager, Digital Learning Products) spoke about 6 strategies that can drive success in a digital learning initiative through an organization. CCL continues to build out global learning products that talent leaders can leverage to drive internal learning.

CCL and the Apollo Education Group also introduced a new cohort-based accelerated learning experience for front-line leaders – a disruptive approach to talent development, which takes into consideration the 21st century learner, the technology we have today, and what front-line leaders need to be successful. Frontline Leader Impact is now active.

View the resources shared for Accelerated Learning for Frontline Leaders.

5. (Big) Data Is King.

But how do you make sense of all the data coming at you?

Talent leaders have far more data available to them today than ever before.

However, making sense of this data is just as hard, if not even harder, than ever before. More data does not mean more information, or more knowledge; it is just more data, if you don’t derive insights from it.

Dr. Bill Gentry presented CCL’s insights on how to leverage data to drive solutions. CCL’s Applied Research Services group helps clients to be much more successful in making sense from the data, bringing CCL’s rigor in research to client organizations.

View the How to Use Data to Drive Solutions presented.

As the conference was starting up, CCL received the news that we were ranked #4 worldwide in Executive Education for 3rd consecutive year, and in the top 10 for the 15th year in a row.

This ranking is important to us because it comes directly from our clients – we directly touch over 35,000 lives each year, so this is not a small number.

CCL is a mission-oriented, research-driven institution, and we like to share what we know to achieve our mission “to advance the understanding, practice, and development of leadership for the benefit of society worldwide.”

Thank you, ATD2016! And we look forward to SHRM 2016 in DC coming very soon…

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