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Bola Owoade

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Senior Learning and Development Advisor

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Creating a lean learning strategy with six questions


In a previous post I tried to explain what a lean learning strategy is and why it is important for the L&D function and the organisation. Just to recap, a lean learning strategy is an action plan that outlines how learning will be used to support an organisation to achieve its strategic objectives. It is:

- Adaptive and flexible to organisational changes, developments and needs.

- A strategy with a document that is not voluminous, just a couple of pages will do.

- A strategy that can be created rapidly and continually updated to reflect organisational changes.

- Also a strategy that focuses on what the business really needs.

But how do we go about creating such a strategy? To start creating a strategy there are six important questions that the L&D function needs to answer. Here they are:

1 - What are the key strategic objectives that your business/organisation needs to achieve?

2 - What key actions is the business/organisation going to take to achieve the strategic objectives?

3 - What organisational capabilities (or competencies) does the business/organisation need to take the actions successfully?

4 - What skills and knowledge do people need for the business/organisation to develop the capabilities?

5 - How do we (L&D function) help people to acquire the right skills and knowledge?

6 - How do we know that people have acquired the right skills and knowledge for the organisation to develop the necessary capabilities?

All these  questions are linked to each other and they can be broken into two categories. Questions 1 to 3 deal with understanding the business, while questions 4 to 6 deal with how L&D is going to support the business. The points below summarise what I mean.

Understanding the business:

Question 1 - Find out the key objectives the business needs to achieve in order to be successful (short, medium and long term).

Question 2 - Find out what the business is going to do (actions) to achieve those objectives.

Question 3 - Identify what the organisation needs to be good at to take the actions successfully.

How L&D is going to support the business

Question 4 - Identify what people need to learn and be able to do for the organisation to develop what it needs to be good at.

Question 5 - Identify how to develop and deliver the required learning to people.

Question 6 - Identify how to evaluate whether people are learning and doing what they need to do.

By answering these six questions the L&D function can begin to paint a picture of what the organisation needs from a learning perspective. Also it positions L&D as a business partner whose aim is to see the organisation succeed. In subsequent posts I will deal with all the questions in more detail. But in my next post I will take a detour to look at how L&D can start thinking like a business by using the Business Generation Model. 

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Bola Owoade

Senior Learning and Development Advisor

Read more from Bola Owoade

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