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Blake Henegan

Optimus Learning Services

Managing Director

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CIPD Leaders in Learning Feb 2017


Time for L&D to take action

CIPD Leaders in Learning is a free to attend network for L&D leaders and I am lucky enough to attend their events, learning from and networking from L&D peers and thought leaders.

At the most recent meeting on the last day of February the agenda was focused on two areas; L&D as a brand, and Data driven learning improvement: The 2016 Towards Maturity Benchmark

The L&D Brand

Paul Matthews, a regular speaker at L&D events on topics such as harnessing the power of informal learning and workplace performance, had been interviewed by the CIPD about the importance of the L&D brand. He appeared before our eyes in video format and we had the pleasure of him physically being in the room as well to add further context. A true 4D experience one could say.

The key message…. your L&D brand is vital. This applies if you are the sole practitioner in your company or representing a department. This brand will reflect the work you do, how you are perceived by the business and influence their experience.  Invest time in understanding your brand, reach out to the business and your external supply chain for their feedback, your perceptions may differ. Branding which is reflected in your actions, and vice versa, should result in greater buy-in from your organisation, crucial for driving forward with the L&D changes that you wish to make.

Time for practical actions

Since 2003 Towards Maturity have been tracking the outcomes that organisations really care about and investigating what learning-related activities are most likely to deliver those outcomes.

Their most recent benchmark report, titled ‘Unlocking Potential’ is a must read for any L&D practitioner that wants to cultivate a continuous learning mindset.

We heard from Laura Overton, CEO of Towards Maturity, who highlighted some of the key facts and facilitated group discussions around the 5 key practical action areas to unlock the potential in L&D. These are:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Fine tune process
  • Boost performance
  • Cultivate agility
  • Influence culture

Group discussions led to a consensus that we need to invest in our development, be technology and digitally savvy, there is no silver bullet – combine old and trusted approaches with new ideas, and approach a ‘do it and see’ approach. Sure, you’ll make mistakes but you’ll be taking action and continuously improving your approach.

‘What is preventing us from being the L&D department we want to be?’ was asked……we had some excellent answers about business restrictions, budgets, access to technology and more until a voice said ‘Nothing’. (The voice belonged to Amanda Price, Associate Director of Education Training and Development at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust).

And she’s right. It’s challenging to drive through change, to turn theory into practical action but nothing is stopping L&D at all.

In my opinion, L&D need to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day – so take incremental steps.  Focus on a single issue completely until it is resolved, for example, upskilling managers to better coach employees.   This applies for lone practitioners, heads of large departments and all those in between.    Remember, the peers you meet at events like the CIPD’s Leaders in Learning are there to support and encourage you.

Good luck! 

Author Profile Picture
Blake Henegan

Managing Director

Read more from Blake Henegan

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