Strategic Foresight in L&D: Key Insights from the CLDI Fireside Chat

Erin Biehl
Erin Biehl
Apr 10 2024
3 min read
Strategic Foresight in L&D: Key Insights from the CLDI Fireside Chat

In an engaging fireside chat on March 26th, 2024, at the Corporate Learning & Development Institute, led by Growthspace, Melody Kelleher, the Global Talent Management & Development Director at Baker Hughes, and John Lucas, the Chief Human Resources Officer at Stanley Black & Decker, with Steve Kost, the VP and Head of Enterprise Sales at Growthspace steering the conversation, shared a wealth of insights into the changing world of Learning & Development (L&D). This insightful dialogue shed light on how to strike the perfect balance between meeting business goals and supporting individual growth in today’s dynamic workplace.

The Power of Personalized Learning Paths

Melody Kelleher shared her journey from a disengaged student to an L&D leader, which was nothing short of inspiring. She brought to life the essence of Baker Hughes’ “Run Your Race” initiative: “It’s a philosophy that we launched that encourages employees to put their best foot forward… Everybody deserves access to learning.” It’s a powerful call to embrace learning at all stages of life and career.

Strategic L&D Investments: A Deliberate Choice

John Lucas candidly tackled the delicate balance of L&D budgeting, revealing the strategic nuance behind investment decisions. He shared, “We have over 60,000 employees. If I were to invest a mere $1000 per person, you’re talking about meeting a budget of about $60 million on learning and development… so it really forces us to make planful choices in where we’re going to make our investments.” His words highlight the necessity for targeted, thoughtful investment in talent development.

Navigating the Future with AI and Technology

On integrating AI in L&D, Kelleher emphasized the importance of maintaining the human essence in the era of technological learning advancements, noting, “We’re moving from a remote to a hybrid environment… coaching is huge for us. But we have to balance that with the authenticity and the human element in learning experiences.”

Data and Insights: The New Frontiers of L&D

Kelleher praised Growthspace for revolutionizing L&D through data, saying, “What I really, really like right now from a lot of our providers, just like Growthspace, is the data and insights that come with that return on investment in L&D.” Her acknowledgment showcases the significant role of data-driven insights in shaping effective L&D strategies.

Succession Planning: Cultivating Future Leaders

Lucas provided insight into Stanley Black & Decker’s forward-thinking approach to succession planning, emphasizing its role in ensuring a robust leadership pipeline. “For the first time in the 181-year history of Stanley Black and Decker… we went through succession for each one of those top 50 jobs… ensuring a diverse and robust leadership pipeline.” His approach underscores the importance of strategic foresight and inclusivity in future-proofing leadership.

The Essential Role of Feedback

Feedback’s role in refining L&D strategies was underscored by both speakers. Kelleher stressed its value, “We’re not going to forget about feedback from our participants and our leaders… So feedback is important.” It serves as a reminder of the continuous loop of feedback and improvement in the developmental process.

Elevating L&D to the Board Level

Lucas highlighted a board-level shift towards a greater focus on L&D, marking its rising strategic importance. “There has been a shift that has happened over the last three to five years… they’re asking questions now about your talent development, talent management programs.” 


This fireside chat, rich in insights and perspectives, provided a nuanced roadmap for HR and L&D professionals.


For a deeper dive into the conversation, watch the full video here:

Erin Biehl
Erin Biehl
Over the past 20 years, Erin Biehl has led teams in the education, hospitality, and technology sectors, excelling in customer success and as a Learning & Development manager. In her L&D role, she designed a leadership framework and developed a comprehensive L&D program for a global company from scratch. Certified as both a DISC and change management facilitator, Erin merges her professional expertise with her academic background, holding a degree in education. Beyond work, her enthusiasm for teaching shines through as a group fitness instructor, specializing in barre and dance classes. Also, a proud mom to her son and two lovable pups, Erin relishes her family life in the beautiful state of Maine

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