One of my favorite trips was to a place called Ronda, Spain. Ronda is a city that resides on 2 cliffs, connected by a bridge. The bridge, built in 1793, connects the older part of town, La Ciudad, with the newer part of town, El Mercadillo.

In the years before 1793, I can imagine the townspeople, all living in the old part of the city, saying something like, “Dude, we need more space, but we live on a cliff. What should we do?” And then they decided that, even though it would be tough and take some time, they needed space to grow. So they built a beautiful and functional bridge over to the other cliff.

Ronda, Spain

Why am I sharing this? Because you should all go, but also because Ronda is a perfect metaphor for where most organizations are in their skills journey. Many organizations realize that they need to grow; they also understand that what got them here won’t get them there. New ground will be required. And how do you get from the old to the new? You gotta build a bridge.

Our current skills study focuses on that bridge – the things that organizations consider as they start (or continue) their skills journey. It builds on 3 podcast seasons, in which we were lucky enough to have candid conversations with more than 20 leaders about their approach to skills: the how, the challenges, advice they had, what they expected to get out of it – even the tech they’re using.

We expect the final report to publish in early October. So far, we’ve written and published both a Premise and a Readout from our roundtable. Next week, we’ll also publish a Lit Review – a summary of the 50 articles we reviewed, along with a complete list of them so you all can delve as deep as you want.

We’ve also assembled a small but scrappy group of leaders to act as our sounding board. They’ll get a first view of the model and major findings and tell us where we might be wrong. They’re there to keep us honest and grounded.  If you’d like to join this group, please let me know.

Dani Johnson

Dani is Co-founder and Principal Analyst for RedThread Research. She has spent the majority of her career writing about, conducting research in, and consulting on human capital practices and technology. Her ideas can be found in publications such as Wall Street Journal, CLO Magazine, HR Magazine, and Employment Relations. Dani holds an MBA and an MS and BS in Mechanical Engineering from BYU.

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