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Bola Owoade

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Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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Creating a lean learning strategy – answering the fourth question

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If you’ve been following this series then you will know that of the six questions required to create a lean learning strategy, three have been answered. The first three questions help an L&D team to understand the business and its strategic priorities. Here are the questions:

  1. What are the key strategic objectives that your organisation needs to achieve?
  2. What key actions must your organisation take to achieve the strategic objectives?
  3. What organisational capabilities are necessary for the organisation to take these actions successfully?

The next three questions focus on L&D supporting the business with learning solutions now that it knows what is important to the business, these questions are:

  1. What skills and knowledge do people need for the organisation to have the right capabilities?
  2. How will the L&D function help people to acquire the right knowledge and skills?
  3. How will the L&D team know that people have acquired the right skills and knowledge and the organisation has the developed the right capabilities?

This post will deal with the question - What skills and knowledge do people need for the organisation to have the right capabilities?

I’ve been using a non-fictional company story of Complete Compliance to answer the question. Tim, the company’s learning and development manager and his team have worked hard to answer the first three questions which means they know a lot about the company. Answering the fourth question is more L&D territory because what they are really doing by answering the question is a learning needs analysis. They are looking at each organisational capability needed and deciding what people need to know and be able to do in order for the organisation to be competent in each capability (the capabilities were identified in the previous post, click the link below to read it).

https://www.trainingzone.co.uk/blogs-post/creating-lean-learning-strategy-answering-third-question/189360

For instance one of the needed organisational capabilities needed was, strong front-end and back-end development skills for building the new compliance solutions platform, mainly for the software development team.  A number of questions can be asked to identify the skills and knowledge for this capability. Some of the questions are:

  • Is this a skill and knowledge needed across the organisation or by a specific team? The answer to this has already been identified, it’s needed by just the software development team who will be building the platform.
  • Does everybody in the team need the skill or just some of the team members? Answering this question will require speaking to the manager and the team members.
  • What are the specific skills and knowledge needed and why? This is a question focusing on the specific skills and knowledge needed. We need to know what skills and knowledge is needed to build the platform and why each skill is needed. For example the team may have decided they want to rebuild the platform using a technology they previously weren’t using. So what technology is this? Why is it the preferred technology? How much of this technology do people need to know?

By asking these kind of questions Tim and his team are able to identify what precisely the software development team needs to learn. They will also take the time to go through each capability this way to identify what the specific learning need is. The key really is to focus the questions on identifying what the original goal is. In this case it’s building a new software platform, so all questions must be about finding out precisely what skills and knowledge the software team need to build that platform successfully in the next 12 months.

While the questions for each capability will be slightly different, the approach will still be the same. once Tim and his team have identified all the necessary learning needs, they can then move on to answer the next question, which is, how will the L&D function help people to acquire the right knowledge and skills?

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Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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