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Friday, April 28, 2017

Building Strategic Partnership for Learning and Development

If you look at a lot of learning and development Intervention failures, You'll see that the immediate reason is lack of participation and follow through and the deeper reason is lack of commitment of partners and stakeholders

If I could get a dollar for every training participant who doesn't know why he or she was sent training, I'd be a very rich man. If I coud get another dollar for every supervisor or manager who don't follow through on training, I think I'd be a  multi-millionaire.

The main culprit for this phenomenon, I believe is the lack of coalition for learning. Many line managers have completely outsourced learning and development to HR or training department. I think that it can't work like that. Most HR or the Training Departments on the other hand, operate in a vacuum, often as shabby order-takers who don't have the energy to probe deep enough or activate a solid partnership or coalition between them and their stake holders. This has got to change.

My Recommendation - Follow John Kotter's Model

Step 1: Create a Sense of urgency - show data on learning and development initiatives and the correlation between follow through and success. Agree that ensuring effectiveness is not  achieved without partnership between HR and stakeholders.
Step 2: Build a Guiding Coalition for Learning - identify the true leaders in your organization who have both the formal authority and influence to make things happen. Get their buy-in on the concept of partnership for learning. Clarify roles, yours as HR and their as managers and leaders.

Step 3: Create a Vision for Change - you will need to agree on a desired destination and a roadmap. You'll need a framework that shows a line of sight between organizational need and developmental intervention. There has to be a clear indication of how training leads to outputs, outputs to outcome and outcome to organizational impact. It should also show how work is distributed among HR, Line Managers, learning service providers, and learners.

Step 4: Communicate the Vision for Buy-in
– After getting key organizational leaders involved in the crafting of the vision for change, it’s time to communicate it to stakeholders.  When we communicate, we don’t just seek compliance, we seek buy-in and clarity. This means entertaining questions, being open to suggestions for improvement and most importantlly, modeling the way of what we expect others to do. Furthermore, Communication should not be one time. It should be frequent and timely.

Step 5:  Empower broad-based action -  There are many potential barriers to learning coalitions; stakeholder priorities, lack of accountability, lack of capability that leads to resistance to change. The guiding coalition needs to agree on how learning and development can be part of Management KRA and how much it weighs against other KRAs. This should give L&D the importance it deserves. Capacitating Managers for identifying learning needs, communicating performance expectations, following through with coaching and mentoring  is crucial to their success and L&D champions and partners.

Step 6: Generate Short-term Wins – Piloting a program makes a great deal of sense. Announce a pilot cycle, see to it that players play their roles well, measure success and announce your success. If you are to get organizational buy-in, you have to show proof that it works. Once done, launch it in a big way, communicating the final framework, the roles played and keys to success.

Step 7: Don’t Let up – applying the plan-do-check-act model in your execution strategy allows for more change to happen. Engage your stakeholders in regular conversations about how the system can be improved and make those improvements happen.

Step 8: Make it stick – Establishing a formal Learning and Development Council that looks after the organization’s learning and performance, paves the way for new learning technologies and tactics. Make Learning and Development a part of Management onboarding. Establish a manifesto for organizational learning and development. Make sure that HR continues to build the competencies and credibility to lead (rather than operate) learning and development.

If you need help in making this happen for your organization, I’ll be more than happy to oblige.  We can start with buying me  coffee 😊

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