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Fiona Quigley


Director of Learning Innovation

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Have we failed L&D?


I just wrote an article on Linkedin; we've been talking about the need for change in L&D for sometime now, but there seems to be little improvement. So what is going on? Are we not getting our message out clearly enough? Are we not doing enough to support? You can read the article here. I would love to read your comments or insights.

Thanks, Fiona Quigley



11 Responses

  1. The single most significant
    The single most significant problem in my view is (irrespective of the learning media/medium) failure of L&D to galvanise the collaborative support of line managers, who have a major impact on learning transfer and; failure to design with business performance outcomes in mind, as opposed to learning outcomes.

    1. Yes! The link with line
      Yes! The link with line managers has been missed a a vital cog to the business. How are we to support staff in a ‘self-service’ style, if managers aren’t involved too?

  2. I totally agree with the
    I totally agree with the previous comment; in my experience L & D teams are still stuck in the mindset of thinking about hours delivered and learning outcomes rather than partnering with the operational business teams to agree how ‘training’ can be supported in the live environment and linking ‘learning interventions’ to actual expected impact on improving specific business goals.

    1. So I wonder what would make
      So I wonder what would make the difference Clive? What is holding L&D back? Is it the feat thing, comfort zone, or lack of skills? It is a chicken and egg situation too – L&D not always thought of well by best of the business, therefore afraid to take chances and try something new. But by staying ‘stuck’ nothing happens. What could they try as first steps? Without risking lots of money? In my experience they can start with simple things like talking to managers, finding out what their big challenges are and then working to break those down into meaningful tasks that can be addressed. Thanks for both your comments – much appreciated ūüôā

  3. I think it’s too broad a
    I think it’s too broad a subject to generalise but, in my experience, it’s a little bit of inertia i.e.’ we’ve always done it this way so why change’, it’s a little bit of denial about how things have changed i.e. lack of vision maybe and a little bit of we know best (from L & D teams).
    What do we do about it? With me it was just sheer tenacity – I had a key operational stakeholder who just didn’t get traditional L & D let alone the new ways of doing things (consultative approach). I just kept on gently pushing until I found a little ‘in’ to support him – he hated running his annual business planning session so I offered to facilitate and organise it for him, I invited a wider variety of people than he would normally and asked the group throughout the day ‘what does good look like?’ Their input helped him see just how invaluable L & D was in driving business performance and he started to engage and involve us more. So much so that I use his feedback on my linkedin profile. This, of course, does depend on how bad you want to change the way you do things and I think that some L & D people don’t want it bad enough.

    1. Thanks for the reply Clive.
      Thanks for the reply Clive. Tenacity – one of my favourite words in business. What you describe makes great sense. Some of the L&D people I meet seem to have a lack of confidence too. As well as the inertia, I do think confidence is holding them back – but as you say, trying things bit by bit until you unlock a good way to help does work. So along with tenacity, I’d say experiment – much better than doing nothing, even if you get it wrong. And if you say to the business upfront – I’m trying different things to see what works best for our staff and business, no-one can fault our efforts.

  4. Just thinking more about this
    Just thinking more about this Fiona; I think it’s also about re-thinking what skills L & D people might need because I think the traditional design and deliver skills now are too limiting. I think there is room for engagement/consultation approach to working with stakeholders. As well as being tenacious, I spent time building relationships, building trust and really listening to people. Thinking about the skill set required for this, it would be very different to the traditional trainer skill set.

    1. Funny – we were just thinking
      Funny – we were just thinking about the ideal skillset for an L&D manager. And training delivery skills didn’t even come into our top 10. It was things like networking, influencing/negotiating, listening, and business acumen. My challenge – is that a lot of these skills require time on the job to develop them, so it is helping my colleagues to do that. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of training/learning programme to develop these sorts of skills for L&D in a holistic way.

  5. Personally I think L&D and
    Personally I think L&D and the professionals I meet and work with are doing a great job. Don’t be too hard on ourselves, its one of the weaknesses/strengths of the industry I think.

    It’s hard to change the mindset of entire companies quickly. If you’ve got senior leaders who have grown up and been trained traditionally then getting them to adopt to new methods will take time.

    So yes continue to look for ways to improve but come on lets not keep kicking the work that does get done!

    1. Hi Blake, thanks for joining
      Hi Blake, thanks for joining the discussion – yes, many are doing good work, and I agree that it is about more than just the L&D department. I do think we have a job to ‘sell’ ourselves better & definitely to the senior leadership. Sharing more ideas about what helps – live Clive has done here, would create a bit more positivity. It is the pace of change – business and technology, so the more we can share ideas, the better.

  6. @ Fiona; re adapting a
    @ Fiona; re adapting a consultative approach, I’m sure TAP do a programme that looks at consultation and if you attend any of the Kirkpatrick’s programmes although they don’t develop those skills, they very much talk about how you engage with your stakeholders so that you are both on the same page.
    @ Blake agree that people in L & D do a good job, in my experience, I’m not sure it’s always the right job for modern times and we do need to keep on moving to stay relevant.

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Fiona Quigley

Director of Learning Innovation

Read more from Fiona Quigley

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