CEEK Profiles: Meet Chris King


This week, we’re highlighting CEEK’s Chief Learning Provocateur, Chris King. Chris will be taking on the blog next week. For now: Meet Chris!

Can you tell us about what it means to be CEEK’s Chief Learning Provocateur?
I am the learning and development guy in a sea of creative and coach-y types. That means that my 20+ years of experience in learning and development is put to use changing behavior in the workplace. With CEEK’s focus on organizational design and changing culture, training is an important component.

How did you get into the field?
I started as a defense analyst in the post-Cold War defense industry, which was not a great time to be in the field: no money and dead-end contracts. About that time, my college roommate was setting up training department in a start-up. He called, said it would be a good fit, and offered me a raise I couldn’t refuse. Fortunately, he was right—training was a good fit for me. I started training folks on Microsoft products, and then the start-up decided not to do training anymore. I left that organization behind, but stayed with learning and development by moving into training in the financial services industry. Technology was really changing how we work. (“Sir, you will have to set the mouse down. Pointing it at the screen and clicking it doesn’t do anything.”) The financial advisors I was training were used to getting their information in the newspaper. Now, they had real time access to quotes from every stock in every market, past performance reports, mathematical models of performance. It was almost magic to some of them.

I covered a lot of ground through the dot com bubble, at an e-commerce start-up, then with some government agencies, over to GEICO and a management consulting firm. I eventually moved more firmly into the federal sector. This led to a great run at SRA, where I had the opportunity help government clients with a wide variety of learning and development challenges. Eventually, I wound up at CEEK because I believe in its mission and am glad to bring all my experience to bear helping our clients with their needs.

What are you working on now?
I’m producing a series of training solutions for a client who has to satisfy mission-critical, audit-based compliance needs and I’m also helping Steve develop a workshop for his book, Navigate Chaos. I’m also discovering that instructional design is not where I get a lot of energy from these days. (More on this next week.)

So what’s next for you then?
I want to continue my shift from instructional design to a more strategic focus on Learning and Development challenges, and expand my facilitation skills and qualifications. Basically, build fewer courses, start doing more “other stuff.” I’m enrolled in a facilitation certificate program for the Lego Serious Play methodology which I should complete in February. I also want to get a solid performance support implementation under way. Performance support is all about moving the learning in an organization as close to the workflow as possible, giving weight to what people have to DO over what they need to KNOW. The Five Moments of Learning Need is an exciting new framework for changing behavior on the job, and I look forward to digging into this more.

Any final words for readers?
When I was independent consultant, my motto was “Get stuff done.” That’s a theme that runs through my career. CEEK is giving me the chance to get stuff done in new venues and with a new focus on organizational wellness. Organizations that are looking to redefine wellness and change, to get more healthy and productive, absolutely need to change behavior and attitudes on the job. Ultimately, behavior change is the desired result of any learning and development intervention and with CEEK I get amazing opportunities to practice my craft to get these outcomes for our clients.