Learning and Development Strategy – 7 Winning Habits and 7 Losing Habits of L&D Practitioners
We spend our lives trying to develop a learning and development strategy, talking to and working with the in-house L&D community, and over the course of the last few months an idea came to me when we were working in the office chatting about L&D. I noticed that when we moaned about L&D practitioners there were common themes and, when we praised L&D practitioners there were also (different) common themes.
We have grouped these into positive and negative habits/traits. We could have been very ‘BBC’ about this and phrased the question as how many “less positive habits” but I think that this trend for excessive Political Correctness is actually doing our economy harm. So forgive me if we use plain English. How many winning habits do you display and how many losing habits do you recognise in yourself and how may these impact on your learning and development strategy?
- Curious: All the evidence points to the fact that your most curious employees are your most valuable. The same is true in the L&D community. The world moves on and is always changing, make sure you maintain a curious mindset.
- Open Minded: You do not and never will have all the answers. L&D practitioners who willingly embrace that position will inevitably learn more than those with closed minds. When did you last tell yourself, “that’s interesting” and then take action to learn more about it, be that directly connected with your learning and development strategy or more generally?
- Positive: Anyone can wallow in negativity and see the cloud and not the silver lining. The good news is that optimistic people live on average nearly 10-years longer than pessimistic people. I also think they have a much more enjoyable life. Just look what happened to the Remain camp when they focussed on the negative and not accentuated the positive.
- Business Benefit Focussed: Business leaders are not interested in training. In fact many of them resent training because it takes time and has an immediate negative impact on productivity. Winners in the L&D community are preaching and proving the business benefits derived from training and are talking the language of the business not L&D jargon.
- Realistic & Pragmatic: Business by its very nature has its ups and downs and its challenges and this means that things change and L&D like functional leaders have to adapt and overcome these. The realistic and pragmatic people out there will always be held in higher esteem than the dogged, jargon heavy perfectionists.
- Results orientated: You exist to deliver a successful outcome and no sane business leader counts training days delivered as a criteria for success! Training is a means to an end, understand the ‘end game’ your sponsors are looking for and deliver those results. In fact you are likely to get an increase in budget if your intervention strategy delivers clear economic benefit and uses LESS training days!
- Learning culture: True L&D professionals are creating a culture of learning and not a culture of training. Nobody cares about training, it is but a means to an end, what everybody wants is the benefit of the training and this is called learning!
- Always moaning: If I had just £1 for every carping moaning blog post I have read this week alone, I would be spending it living it up on the beach in Barbados by now! From “ever reducing budgets”, to “management and leadership that don’t value training” the L&D losers just love to moan. The future of L&D lies in those who can embrace the circumstances and find a way to work with the business and deliver value, whilst enhancing their learning and development strategy.
- Constantly quoting years of experience: At my age you have to rate experience, its one of the only things you can claim the advantage! But I don’t see surgeons, pilots, army officers, CEO’s constantly banging on about how many years of experience they have. But I do see lots of L&D folk who feel it necessary to tell me how many years they have been in L&D. Just look on Linked In at how many L&D practitioners feel the need to justify themselves with X years experience? What’s that about?
- Qualification obsessed: I never feel the need to ask my Doctor about their qualifications. As far as I am concerned they are either qualified to do the job or they aren’t. The same can be said of the joiner fitting my kitchen. The ones that really can do it have absolutely no need to remind me how many qualifications they have.
- Chat Room Warriors: Have you seen how many L&D/Training forums there are? I’m far too busy even to join most of them let alone actively participate in what appears to be pointless, irrelevant and generally negative commentary. One question that I saw posted in one of the largest forums went something like, “How do I get the people in my training sessions to listen to me … most of them are on their phones …”. Time for a career change perhaps, let alone enhancing a learning and development strategy!
- Far too busy: I can get to meet the CEO of a FTSE business easier than some L&D managers! I properly LOL when one L&D manager who shall remain nameless told me that her diary was full until March 2017 (it being October). Having held Executive roles in two of the UK’s largest firms I can tell you that such a statement makes the individual an object of ridicule. If you really are that busy at work then something is very, very wrong in your world! If on the other hand you are making excuses – pick a more credible one!
For a perhaps more enlightened approach to Learning and Development, take a peek here…