It’s not an intentional thing, more accidental, that we have called ourselves “Trainers of trainers”. It is something that people understand, but I feel now it is no longer appropriate due to:
• The changing role of L&D and professionals
• The emerging “New Learning Organisation**” as defined by Jane Daly and Laura Overton from Towards Maturity
• We actually don’t just train trainers in how to train! (It is so much more!)
So what do we do? We help organisations, line managers, teams and individuals to:
• Have a strategic outlook when considering how people will learn to improve performance
• Learn how to engage with stakeholders and leverage them when looking for support and resources
• Be curious and dig deeper to find out underlying issues to find out what is needed
• To choose a complimentary blend of opportunities to help people improve their performance (#100ways2learn)
• Use accelerated learning principles so that the learning is sticky
• Be agile and fast
• Use a facilitative approach when doing any learning interventions rather than traditional trainer-led methods
• Build a cohesive learning community that benefits the whole organisation
• Open up to new ways of doing things
• Be motivated and inspired enough to have a go
Our open and in-house workshops do much more than “train” in the skills and knowledge required to become a new learning leader, for the new learning organisation. Through unique and innovative practices we have seen teams:
- Have a mind-set shift in their thinking about how they approach learning
- Become more cohesive a team in their approach to improving performance
- Be inspired to make a real and measurable difference to the organisation by helping people learn how to improve their performance
**To compliment the “New Learning Organisation” we have developed our first draft on the “New Learning Leader”:
The visual is above but the detail is below:
- Has clarity of purpose
- Business focused but also learner centred
- Strategically focused to deliver what the organisation needs
- Curious and analytical
- Able to engage stakeholders in order to leverage essential resources and achieve the ROI required
- In tune with what the organisation needs
- Helps create a holistic people experience
- Helps to nurture and encourage an environment where people are developed consistently and with heart
- Clearly defined and easy to apply models and frameworks
- Supports and nurtures a thriving ecosystem
- Knows how to encourage a learning culture
- Inspires a culture of feedback and healthy challenge
- Empowers people to learn for themselves
- In learning interventions inspires others to learn more and share
- Promotes accountability at all levels
- Agile, digitally enabled
- Digitally courageous, not scared to experiment
- Able to choose the appropriate method/media for the outcomes required
- Helps support continual engagement
- Provides appropriate learning support when it is needed
- Understands the way the brain works to help learning be engaging and focused
- Helps people make intelligent decisions
- Makes decisions informed by the organisations’ purpose
- Develops others capability in decision making by providing the appropriate tools
- Applies the latest neuroscience to help make wise decisions
- Emotionally Intelligent self-starter
- Has awareness of their own behaviours on others
- In touch with their own emotions
- Good networker
- Loves to learn
What have we missed or what could we add and to which category?
A while ago I wrote a series of blogs with a tag of “Being Brave” but after an LPI meeting this week for Learning Provider Connect, I have had a chance to rethink this “bravery”.
It occurred to me that the minute you start speaking about being brave, to some people it may have the effect of making them fearful. That this very encouragement, could have the opposite effect and instigate that “paralysis” we sometimes experience when we are afraid.
What I have encouraged in the past, is for L&D to be brave and to:
- Ask more questions
- Dig deeper and find out more about the organisation
- Don’t take at face value what the stakeholders see as “facts” – question it all!
So what I am proposing, is not in fact bravery, but curiosity! A real nosiness about what is happening, not happening, on the horizon etc.
So what would that look like?
Here is a scenario, that happens all too often:
Stakeholder to trainer: Hi, we need some training fast and lets put everyone though it!
Trainer to Stakeholder: Sure I can help, just tell me what you want
Following this might ensue some conversations about the who, what, when and where, but what I am suggesting is an alternative.
“Adopt an air of curiosity”
Stakeholder to trainer: Hi, we need some training fast and lets put everyone though it!
Trainer to Stakeholder: That’s interesting, I wonder if I could just have 10 minutes of your time to dig deeper to help you solve your problem and to come up with a solution that has measurable impact?
Stakeholder to trainer: That sounds interesting…. yes of course I can do it now…
Trainer to Stakeholder: So tell me more about what has been happening, I am really interested to know what has prompted this request?
To me the second scenario does not take bravery, but curiosity. So go on L&D get nosey! Find out more about what is going on behind the scenes. Ask questions… then ask more questions until you really find out what is at the bottom of it. Who knows what you will uncover?
I took part in a very interesting #ldinsight discussion on Twitter (@LnDConnect) last Friday and it made me think deeply. David D’Souza* was the one promoting this proposition and it really got me on the defensive. In defense of L&D that is.
*what David actually said was “Help them to learn how to learn & help others learn. Then disappear like mist.”
So in theory, if in L&D we did our jobs really well, we could help people to learn how to:
- Recruit the best people
- Learn on the job as well as other channels
- Pass on knowledge and skills where needed and when
- Adjust attitudinal misalignment through coaching
……just as a starter for 10
So in this Utopian world I could completely buy this, believing that 100% sustainable learning is achievable across the board, but these are the realities:
- People start to drift back into their silos, looking out for themselves and not the greater good
- Egos start to drive competition and not collaboration
- “Stuff” starts to happen in one area that others don’t notice
- We believe that how we have learned in the past is the absolute best way to learn in the future
……just a few little things…but that is why we need L&D to:
- Challenge when the drift starts to happen
- Remind people of common goals
- Infiltrate the organisation, so we have an overview of what is happening
- Keep abreast of new and better ways to learn in an ever changing world
Going back to David’s original tweet, I do agree somewhat… L&D should “disappear like the mist”, but not permanently, just waiting in the wings, to help, coach, support where necessary. My defensiveness around David’s statement was because his approach, is a philosophy and I am very much a pragmatist. Back to the original question though….. “Should L&D aim for obsolescence?”. If we take this on board as a philosophy, will that change our approach? I believe it might do….
My own approach to L&D is strongly in favour of everyone in an organisation being empowered to learn and I have blogged about this approach previously if you are interested in reading about it.
I mainly train trainers, facilitators and SME’s but just recently, in an exciting new project I worked with a team of team leaders, helping them to understand the whole of the learning cycle so they could develop their teams more effectively. This was a pilot and we are waiting to measure the outcomes to see the impact. One objective was to give these non L&D people enough knowledge of L&D so that they stop prescribing training as the only solution. L&D will be at hand though to help them in the trickier tasks of doing more detailed needs analysis, when they need it. Would David approve of this in theory I wonder?
This is the fourth in a series of blogs inspired by David Hayden, at the CIPD NAP(Northern Area Partnerships) conference June 2016, in a short workshop. The title of his workshop was “Is L&D prepared for the Future of Learning?” and the basis of the discussion was around key statistics uncovered in the “Towards Maturity” report of April 2016 “Preparing for the Future of Learning”.
Looking through report – “Preparing for The Future of Learning: A Changing Perspective for L&D Leaders” – it is great to see so much emphasis on L&D being business focussed. This is not a critique of the report, you should read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. The report makes some excellent points.
There are especially some really great points to in the “40 ways to build the skills of L&D” section of the report but, in my humble opinion, these cannot be done in isolation and require some sort of route map.
The report mentions in a few places about the “appropriate use of technology”, something I discussed in the last blog, “Are L&D thinking digitally?” . Also I mentioned in the past about the difference between efficiency and effectiveness...
More about the report….
The report compares the best practice performers (top deck) versus everyone else and judging by the statistics, that lower deck is pretty full! On this bus, do we assume that the that the driver is the business leader, or has the route been set by the business leadership. Are L&D actually helping to drive the bus, or somewhere at the back, hanging on for dear life?
Going beyond the analogy (before I stretch it too thin!) here are a few of the things I would think will help L&D become more ready for change:
- Move beyond the course and get closer to the business
- Expand the toolkit to include digital, but to be used appropriately
- Take on a consultancy approach
- Create learning communities by collaboration and the correct online tools
- Make learning part of everyones remit
- Get stakeholders on board and soak their language
- Infiltrate the organisation and be a part of key change initiatives
- Keep ahead of the game and know how your learners learn
….not much then! I love the fact that we are now (in L&D) starting to have these conversations about getting more business savvy, looking beyond just training and making a difference. Exciting times ahead, don’t you agree?
This is the third in a series of blogs inspired by David Hayden, at the CIPD NAP(Northern Area Partnerships) conference June 2016, in a short workshop. The title of his workshop was “Is L&D prepared for the Future of Learning?” and the basis of the discussion was around key statistics uncovered in the “Towards Maturity” report of April 2016 “Preparing for the Future of Learning”. The third question, not the statistics in the graphic, caused me to do some deep thinking!
So, let me tell you a little bit about my thinking in term of learners, digital stuff and also what my experience has been. I am an ex-engineer (if you can ever really leave that?) and a former IT trainer for IBM, so digitally, I would say I am maybe more comfortable than the minority, as keen as the majority, but not as convinced as the digital evangelists.
I have run webinars, created short learning videos, taken part in Twitter chats (LnDConnect) and learn from my own professional learning network, I blog regularly, share updates on LinkedIn and engage in forums, created online polls, used online reflective apps like Brainscape, I have designed blended learning programmes and generally embraced new technology, where it can accelerate and enhance the learning experience. Let me make it quite clear, I am fluent and practised in digital and I use it as an ingredient to a rich blend of many other methods. It is not the first or only thing I think of when looking for a learning solution. So this question is what has caused me to think deeply. “Are L&D thinking digitally?”
If I am baking a cake, I use the right tools for the job and in L&D I think exactly the same. I consider carefully*:
- Budget and resources
- Location(s) of the learners
- The topic
- Depth of the learning required (so I may layer different methods)
- Commitment of the stakeholders
- Size an culture of the organisation
*See also blog on LNA
The question“Are L&D thinking digitally?” implies that this is how we should be thinking. Digital is not the answer to every L&D problem, it is part of a toolkit available to L&D professionals to create a great blend of learning that will maximise the effectiveness of any planned learning interventions. It is very easy, with the latest, shiniest digital tools, to be thinking “Oh golly where can I use this?” (in my giddiness – I have been there!), whereas we should be thinking about:
“What will work best in this situation, with these learners and to achieve the best organisational outcomes?”
So with this in mind, I would change this question to: “Are L&D thinking digitally, in an appropriate way?“. Maybe its semantics…. what do you think?
From talking to many L&D professionals I hear so many stories of teams, budgets and classroom time being cut…..it’s sad but, hey L&D, what are we? Have you ever considered why L&D is under so much pressure to deliver with fewer resources? Now you can almost see the tumbleweed blowing through a once thriving department. Seriously, why are we taking this lying down?
I truly believe that we don’t need a budget … What we really need is a bit of gumption and the ability to put together a business case. Easy for you to say Krys….I can hear some of you say.
Your L&D job description will most likely contain words about responsibity for the identification and design, development and delivery of business-focused courses for your organisation. Regardless of whether you report into H&R, L&D, a functional department or even the MD; L&D must understand the business’ goals and be able to integrate them into a learning programme that supports their implementation. You’d also expect that the rest of the organisation would support you in that common goal. Makes sense doesn’t it?
No doubt you already have a passion for L&D, and you will have the skills required, but for you to succeed and to help the business to succeed you need the support of the business. You are most likely to gain support from the business if you have identified (or are addressing) a real need and understand the impact on the organisation. If you can do that, then L&D should appear to be very good value for money! (You know this!) So, instead of arguing about your L&D budget, maybe you should be discussing the value of the impact of your L&D and how to make it even better. L&D, in that light, is not a cost but an agent for change.