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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Building a Powerful Coalition for Learning and Development

Learning and Development is a means to an end. We introduce interventions because something needs to change in order to achieve the organization’s objectives. In John Kotter’s Book, Leading Change, he introduced the eight-step process for leading change, step 5 of which is “Enable Action by Removing Barriers”. A lot of these barriers can be removed by using learning and development interventions but only if people are committed to acquiring the needed competencies for change.  

Commitment is the magic word here. In his book, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni said that Commitment is achieved when there is buy-in and clarity. In the case of L&D we see buy-in as the stakeholders’ support for the intervention and clarity means being clear about what needs to be done to see results. We believe that to achieve success, L&D professionals must mind Kotter’s Step 2: Build a Guiding Coalition- a team of powerful individuals who will champion, follow through and make people accountable for making change happen.

To make learning and development interventions work, stakeholders must want it. They must be motivated to effect it.  For that to happen, L&D managers must share ownership of it.  Here’s my recommendation; Form and L&D Council. Make someone with sufficient power and influence chair it. Make sure the organization is well represented so that the council can make informed decisions.  Have council members take ownership of follow through and give them scorecards for it. L&D manager’s role should be that of an internal consultant, a technical expert who can give them advice on concepts, techniques and methods and help the council in making policy L&D procedures decision. I propose that the council take the following roles:

  •  Participate in Human Resource Development Planning to ensure alignment with organizational objectives
  •  Develop Policies and guidelines for L&D implementation
  • Ensure follow through and application of learning in their work unit
  • Ensure that monitoring and evaluation system is in place to gauge impact of interventions
How to start? Kotter said it in step 1 of the same book; “create a sense of urgency”.

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