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Bola Owoade

Jewish Care

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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Creating a lean learning strategy – answering the third question


This series has been concentrating on how to create a lean learning and development  (L&D) strategy, and so far I have defined what a lean L&D strategy is and why it is important. I’ve also defined six questions which will help you to create a lean L&D strategy. In the two posts before this one I dealt with answering the first two of the six questions. In this post I will be dealing with the third question. You can read the previous two posts by going through the links below.

I’ve been using the company story of Tim, L&D Manager at Complete Compliance (this is a fictional company) to answer the questions. I will continue with Tim in this post. Tim has been able to answer the first two learning strategy questions and is now moving onto the third question which is, what capabilities does the organisation need to take the necessary actions (actions that will help the company to achieve its strategic objectives) successfully? Tim previously identified ten actions that the company needs to take. He now goes through each action, discusses them with his team, senior and divisional managers with the intention of identifying the core capabilities that Complete Compliance needs to have to undertake the actions successfully. Tim and his team have been able to identify the following capabilities that the company needs:

Strong project management skills because a number of the actions are based on completing projects.

  1. Good sales skills and in depth knowledge of the company’s products. mainly for the sales team and customer relationship managers.

  2. Strong front-end and back-end development for developing the new platform, mainly for the software development team.

  3. Quick but effective recruitment skills to get the right personnel quickly for the HR team and managers.

  4. Good understanding of business culture and practices in Africa.

By identifying these capabilities Tim and his team have answered the third learning strategy question, and in doing so they now have answers to the first three questions which means they know:

What the business wants to achieve in the next one year.

  • What the business is already doing and wants to start doing (actions) to achieve their one year objectives.

  • The strengths and capabilities the business needs to take the right actions.

The advantage of answering these questions is that the L&D now knows the top priorities of the business. Also in the process of learning about these priorities they have engaged with business leaders in the organisation not as learning and development people, but as business partners who want to understand the business.  So before any training or learning intervention is thought of, they had to spend time getting to know the business, and if this stage is done properly, it will give the L&D team more credibility as people who are interested in the success of the business.

Answering the next three questions will now allow Tim and his team to:

Decide what skills and knowledge is needed for the organisation to develop the identified capabilities.

  • Identify which of these can be provided via learning interventions and which will need a different type of intervention.

  • Identify who needs to learn what and when.

  • Decide how to design, develop, deliver and evaluate the necessary learning interventions.

So next up for Tim and his team, answering the fourth question.

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Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade

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