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Owen Smith

Burberry Ltd

Service & Productivity Manager - Emerging Markets

Read more from Owen Smith

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TrainingZone Live – thoughts of Training Manager part 2


Day one of TZ Live is over, and what a fantastic day! So now its time to report in on how the day has gone. I’m going to focus on some of the key themes and messages that came through during the course of the day, so here goes, in no particular order…

The Pitch… or not!

One of the things that really engaged me was the lack of being ‘pitched’ to by providers. Now that doesn’t mean that I didn’t make some good contacts that could lead to some exciting business possibilities, but the speakers didn’t merely try to sell their wares. They imparted knowledge and ideas first and foremost and I for one found this far more engaging than feeling like I was being ‘sold to’. This leads me neatly on to the next theme...


During his workshop, Dr Peter Honey shard his vision of his ‘perfect world’ of learning and development. One of the key elements of his vision was a world where everyone would feel empowered to share their learning – well Peter, I’m pleased to say that your ‘perfect world’ was alive and well today, with the free flow of ideas, thoughts and learning evident throughout the day. There’s hope for us all yet!

Output, not input

Charles Jennings kicked off the day’s sessions with a compelling case that challenged the way we think about training and the approach that the L&D function has to the business. He talked about thinking about training not as an input, but how it would add value to the business through its outputs. He also challenged the old axiom ‘Knowledge is power’ as in the Google-age we should be saying ‘Access to knowledge is power’. Training and learning is no longer just about imparting knowledge, but about fundamentally changing behaviours and performance to add value and improved results.

A New World from the New World

(Remarkably!) fresh off the plane from St Louis, Missouri, Jim Kirkpatrick presented the UK with his New World 4 Levels of Evaluation Kirkpatrick Model. In keeping with Charles Jennings’ focus on results, he turned his father’s model on its head, showing that by ‘starting’ with Level 4 – Results, businesses could see an increase in training effectiveness from as little as 15% to a massive 85%. It is all about creating an ongoing, sustained learning journey and culture where we can demonstrate Return on Expectations to the business and ‘justify’ the value of learning and development. I was honoured to be able to share a drink with him and others afterwards and talk a little more about his model and other things L&D.

From order-takers to business partners

In his workshop, The Training Conspiracy, Nigel Harrison clarified the theory of a ‘conspiracy of convenience’, where the business declares it has a training need and the L&D department come up with the programme that fulfils this need, acting as an order taker rather than a truly valuable business partner. Despite sounding quite daunting, his 7-step systemic model fits very neatly into Kirkpatrick’s Level 4, and he brought this to life by focusing as much on the behaviours, such as building trust and rapport, as on the actual steps themselves.

Winning as a skill

Before a Q&A session with some of the guest speakers, Yehuda Shinar shared his Winning Intelligence coaching model, arguing that ‘winning’ is a skill that we all have the ability to learn. His credentials include helping Sir Clive Woodward coach the England rugby team to World Cup success in 2003 (sorry, have I mentioned this before!?), so I hope I didn’t come across as too star-struck when I got to meet him in the bar afterwards!

I’m really looking to tomorrow, when we will hear more from Jim Kirkpatrick in his ‘Training on Trial’ workshop, so I’d better get some sleep so I’m fresh and alert. It wouldn’t do to be yawning in front of someone who is fighting the effect of jet-lag!

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Owen Smith

Service & Productivity Manager - Emerging Markets

Read more from Owen Smith

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