“ATD” is a pretty lame acronym: 20 alternatives that could have been considered

Last week, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) made a big announcement. It was changing its name. To ATD.

In world where we’re drowning in an alphabet soup of acronyms, ATD certainly doesn’t stand out. I spent some time thinking about how lame ATD is as an acronym. But simply sitting in my own little corner of the world, pondering the lameness of a new acronym doesn’t do anyone any good.

In fact, sitting here thinking about a lame acronym is, well, pretty lame of me. It reminds me of this classic movie clip from the movie Roxanne:

So, I’m going to channel Steve Martin and come up with 20 somethings better.

  1. For the lazy: Society for the Improvement of Talent (SIT)
  2. For the kinesthetic learners: Society for Talent and New skill Development (STAND)
  3. For those who think we should have simply embraced the old, unfortunate acronym: Your Employee Performance and Improvement Helpline And Value and Engagement Networked Society for Training and Development (YEP-I-HAVE-AN-STD)
  4. For the hardcore, no-pain-no-gain set: People Achievement and Improvement Network (PAIN)
  5. For the true believers in what we do: Institute for Making People Really Outstanding in their Vocations and Extracurriculars (IMPROVE)
  6. For the edgy: Association for Workplace Systems and Human Improvement and Transformation (AW-SHIT)
  7. For the instructional designers: Association for Disruptive Development In Employees (ADDIE)
  8. For the instructional designers who reject ADDIE: Society for Achievement and Mega-learning (SAM)
  9. For those who believe what we do is pure magic: Talent And Development Association (TA-DA!)
  10. For those who just want to chill: Society for People Achievement (SPA)
  11. For those who chew tobacco: Society for Professional Improvement and Talen (SPIT)
  12. For the cool crowd: Society for Knowledge, Instruction, Learning, Leadership and Zippiness (SKILLZ)
  13. For anyone like me: Association Where Everyone Stands Out More Everyday (AWESOME)
  14. For those who want to optimize their search engine results: Performance Optimization Resource Network (PORN)
  15. For those who like gyros: Performance Improvement and Training Association (PITA)
  16. For Bridgette Jones: Membership of Responsible Development And Resource Community Yammerers (MR DARCY)
  17. For the braggarts: Distinguished Association for Members New, Intermediate and Mature in Growing Opportunities for Optimizing Development (DAMN-I’M-GOOD)
  18. For Empire Strikes Back Fans: Association for Talent And Training (AT-AT)
  19. For those who want an asterisk next to their name in the record books: Performance Enhancing Development Society (PEDs)
  20. For the humanitarians: People for the Ethical Treatment of our Audience (PETA)

My point being that in a world in which talent and performance development requires innovation and creativity, and in which the name and identity of an organization goes a long way in defining its culture and values, ATD seems to have missed the mark.

Your turn: if the ASTD re-naming rights were in your hands, what’s the best acronym you could have come up with? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

10 thoughts on ““ATD” is a pretty lame acronym: 20 alternatives that could have been considered

  1. Oh you dirty….Really Awful Training Skills: RATS
    For those who have something to SING about: Superior Instructors Noticing Greatness
    For the Experienced trainer: Occasional Lapses Delivering: OLD
    For the inexperienced trainer: Yes Occasional Undefined Nervous Delivery: YOUNG

    • Old school?! Scott, are you suggesting I stop using the term “rad” when I meet with executives?

      On a slightly more serious note – “achievement and development” seems to go a little beyond talent (which, though “talent” is all the buzz these days, seems to imply inherent abilities – ie: that Michael Jordan has some talent!) or training. I like it.

      Perhaps we can start a new buzz word in the learning and development space? Achievement!

      • By no means stop using “rad”. In fact, I am proposing bringing back “gag me with a spoon” every time I hear an idea I don’t like. I am going to make sure I train every session “to the max” so that everyone is “stoked” by the time they leave. For those learners who are totally wiggin, I will be “like, oh my god you really need to chill because your attitude is totally bogus.”

    • Thanks Paul!

      I think the serious discussion is important. To an extent. And then I think we need to embrace the change (or walk away)… regardless of what the organization is called, there’s really important work to be done.

      All that said, it’s also important to not take ourselves too seriously!

      Out of curiosity, do you have an acronym to suggest if you were Tony Bingham for a day?

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