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Masie's 30 Under 30: Interview with Gus Jaramillo, Ken Blanchard Companies

Each year, The Masie Center introduces us to 30 young leaders in the learning industry with its 30 Under 30 award. Maestro has the privilege of interviewing several of these individuals each year. We look forward to hearing their fresh perspectives and getting a glimpse of their predictions for the future of the learning industry. 

Today, we share with you an interview with Learning and Performance Specialist at the Ken Blanchard Companies, Gus Jaramillo.

Tell us a little bit about your company and your role within it.

Gus: KBC is a leadership development and training company. SLII, or Situational Leadership II, is the most widely used leadership development model in the world. Our clients range from Fortune 100 companies to small start ups. We are based out of Escondido, California but have offices in Canada, the UK, and Singapore. My main role is to train and onboard all of our 330 employees that are spread out across the world. I develop onboarding courses, facilitate training, and manage our learning management system (LMS). I enjoy the learning space and helping associates develop and grow within their roles.

Tell us about some of the things you are doing to keep learners engaged.

Gus: Diversifying our content and personalizing learning are probably the two best ways we keep our learners engaged. We have an Agile Learning Strategy that is tied into our business. So we are flexible, adaptive, and efficient just like our business strategy. What that means is we launch a learning campaign for H1 and a different campaign for H2. These campaigns can be on any topics (innovation, creativity, technology, leadership) but are directly tied to the shifting needs of our business. This keeps learning highly engaged!

We also make learning personal and have learners share in the responsibility of learning. We recently launched our learning cafes, which are short (30-45 minute) webinars, designed by associates and taught by associates. There is no restriction on topic and anyone can share about anything that they are passionate about and have knowledge about. These two learning strategies really keep our learners engaged!

have you seen technology incorporated into learning?

Gus: Yes, it has to be. We are moving way too fast and learners have access to unlimited information at all times. If you are not catching up, you will surely get stuck and fall behind. It’s like Jack Welch said, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” And technology does have it: web-based or virtually. There are many ways to incorporate technology in your face-to-face learning as well.

What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders — people like you?

Gus: This may seem ironic given that our generation has leaned more on technology that any other generation in existence, but we need to develop and maintain the technical skills necessary to create truly engaging learning content. Corporate learning is sometimes the last one to the party. Corporate learning has to rival and/or exceed the learning that the next generation is accustomed to. We can’t create content that is sub-par to what they have been playing or using and expect to truly engage the learner. This is a challenge that will need to be met head on.

What excites you about the future of learning?

Gus: Gamification. Plain and simple. More people are playing games/video games now than ever before. It’s not just 13 year-olds in their parents’ basements. Adults, men, women, children all age groups and demographics are “gaming”. Whether it’s an app on your phone, a RPG (role playing game) Playstaion, Xbox or whatever means, people enjoy playing, competing and winning. Channeling this arena into the corporate workforce is the future. 

Want to learn more? Get connected with Gus!

Connect on LinkedIn

Follow on Twitter: @Gus_Jaramillo_

Read the Blanchard Blog

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