How we Modernised our Learning and Development Model, Mindset and Capabilities

Modernising our approach to learning in Coca-Cola Amatil’s Supply Chain over the past two years has been a gradual process. This shift has come about through parallel changes in our operating model alongside the mindset, practices and capabilities of our Learning and Development (L&D) function. (Note – We use the term ‘Capability’ to refer to the L&D function. The two terms are used interchangeably in this post.) Our Supply Chain Capability Community consists of:

  1. Technical Academy team – myself, four Capability Consultants, and a Coordinator; and
  2. State Capability Managers – seven people who plan, coordinate and support Capability development at operational sites around Australia.

In March 2014 members of our Capability Community attended an event where Charles Jennings spoke about practical approaches to workplace learning.  We also had a private discussion with Charles about the application of these approaches in our context. Our discussion continued back in the office. Performance support was a sticking point – in particular job aids that people can access as they work.   Most of the group felt that  Operations was solely responsible for developing and publishing job aids.

Fast forward to late 2015. In several States the Capability Managers were helping to implement a system to host Standard Operating Procedures – job aids that form part of our Quality Management System. Their contribution included helping to define information architecture so that content is easy for people to access as they work. In mid 2016 our Capability team helped to develop job aids alongside Operations for a new Quality Control system. The Capability Community now sees performance support as a shared responsibility with Operations.

This story illustrates how our Capability mindset, practices and capabilities have shifted. The most significant shifts are outlined below, followed by a list of key resources, people and development programs that have helped us to modernise.

Evolution of Our Capability Strategy

702010 framework


CCA Supply Chain joined the 70:20:10 Forum in late 2013. Within a few months of joining the Forum I realised that while CCA had adopted the 70:20:10 framework a number of years previously, the organisation had narrowly interpreted it.  We had developed blended learning programs that included theory (10), learning from experience (70) and others (20).  An example of this is ‘CCA’s 70:20:10 Learning Solution for Equipment Operation.’

However, we were not purposefully enabling people to learn as they worked, or building social learning capability.  As discussed in my post 70:20:10 Forum Value Creation Story, after attending a 70:20:10 Forum webinar on the changing role of the learning function I saw that the skills of our capability team needed to be updated. I also identified an opportunity to speak with key stakeholders about improving organisational performance more effectively if we adjusted our Capability strategy, mindset and practices.  I built awareness of the broader scope of 70:20:10 using resources from the 70:20:10 Forum and attendance at the Charles Jennings event described earlier in this post. By late March we had updated out strategy.

The key change to our strategy was the inclusion of ‘Continuous Workplace Learning’ as an element, as per the diagram below. Our operating model now includes a range of new approaches to enable continuous workplace learning including Communities of Practice, user generated content, guided social learning and learning transfer support.

Capability Strategy elements

Our Capability Strategy Elements

Performance Mindset

The mindset shift from ‘training’ to ‘performance’ is reflected in the change in Academy tagline from ‘Creating Technical Excellence’ to ‘Improving Supply Chain Performance.’

In early 2014 performance consulting was not seen as a practice required by L&D. By mid 2015 performance consulting was a standard element of our L&D toolkit. This shift was assisted by the dual role that many of the State Capability Managers have as they are also part of the Operational Excellence (OE) team who work on continuous improvement initiatives. Some of the OE tools can be readily used for performance consulting, and this is now seen as a natural precursor to development of a performance solution that may, or may not, include training.

Similarly the Capability Community now see development of performance support mechanisms and content as a joint responsibility with Operations, rather than something that is outside of their scope.

Social Learning

We have put substantial effort into enabling social learning in order to spread knowledge and better utilise expertise across Supply Chain. In order to support social learning our Capability Community had to experience it ourselves first. We have done this through participation in external communities, including the 70:20:10 Forum and Modern Workplace Learning community (via participation in a range of guided social learning programs and the associated ongoing community). Although participation was optional, enough people have joined in to shift mindset and practices. All Capability Community members also participated in the first rollout of our internal Work Connect and Learn program which builds digital, networking and self-directed learning skills.

online social learning.jpg

Our internal Capability Community has gradually matured, shifting our interactions from fortnightly teleconference catch-ups focussed on project status updates to a combination of:

  1. fortnightly catch-ups focussed on knowledge sharing  (run using Skype for Business);
  2. narrating our work and learning via a log maintained in OneNote; and
  3. use of online discussion forums in SharePoint for collaborative work and sharing of resources for professional development and improvement of our  practices. (Refer to  how I use social tools with my team for more on this.)

In mid 2014 the Academy voluntarily took responsibility for SharePoint governance in Supply Chain. This has allowed us to shape the Enterprise Social Network (ESN) infrastructure to support connection and discovery, enabling knowledge sharing, collaboration, and hosting of user generated content. We have built several online hubs on the ESN to support the growth of Communities of Practice. In May 2016 a Supply Chain restructure was announced, including the expansion of Communities of Practice. This decision was influenced by the work our Capability Community has done to establish, build and advocate for communities.

Our progress in social learning was recognised in November 2015 by the Australian Institute of Training and Development who awarded our Systems Certification program ‘highly commended’ in the Best Use of Social / Collaborative Learning category.

Integrating Learning with Work

Several Capability Community members have undertaken certification through the 70:20:10 Forum. We have modelled some aspects of our internal Systems Certification program on their Certification program, emphasising participants learning as they work. In addition to completing a range of competency-based assessments, evidence requirements for Systems Certification allow participants to choose their own workplace projects and activities. Evidence is heavily focussed on recognition of learning on the job via activities such as process improvements, solving your own or others’ problems, and demonstrating system use to others.

As part of the Systems Certification program the State Capability Managers took on the role of ‘Learning Coach.’ The purpose of a learning coach is to support self-directed learning by providing assistance to identify learning goals, advice on suitable learning activities and accountability via regular catch-ups with individual program participants.

Development Resources and Activities

Here is a list of some of the resources, organisations, practitioners and programs that we have used to modernise our L&D capability. The list is in no particular order. In all instances participation was encouraged, but not mandatory. New ideas and information only translate to learning through experience. The most important part of modernising L&D in our organisation was to try out new approaches, reflect individually and as a group on what happened, then adjust and repeat.

70:20:10 Forum – This forum offers 70:20:10-related resources, tools, an online community, and a 70:20:10 Practitioner Certification program.

Modern Workplace Learning (MWL), led by Jane Hart. MWL offers a range of short programs delivered via guided social learning. You get the benefit of great content, peer discussion, and the experience of being a participant in a program that uses a range of modern approaches.

Charles Jennings – Charles defines his focus as “all things related to learning, performance and organisational productivity, and to the 70:20:10 model.”   Charles has more recently founded the 70:20:10 Institute.

Helen Blunden of Activate Learning Solutions – We engaged Helen to help us establish our first Community of Practice. She helped us to analyse current state of connection, sharing, and peer-supported performance improvement in the target group; develop a Community strategy; and create the Work, Connect and Learn program. We’ve used this program in a range of formats to build networking, digital and self-directed learning skills in our organisation.

Learning Performance Institute – We used the LPI Capability Map to assess our modern learning capabilities and identify high priority development areas.

Towards Maturity – The Towards Maturity Benchmark is a useful way to gain insight on your current learning strategy compared to both other organisations and your own progress over time if you re-do the benchmark annually. Laura Overton and the Towards Maturity team publish a range of resources that provide research and evidence-based insight to help you identify how to improve your learning strategy and performance.

Working Out Loud Circles – We’ve recently run our first Working Out Loud Circles. They offer potential to build networking skills across our organisation, enabling self-directed and social learning.

Personal Learning Networks (PLN) – Everyone in our Capability Community has been encouraged to build their PLN. Having a PLN accelerates your professional development, and introduces you to new ideas and people who can support you as you learn and try new things. It also positions you to help others in your organisation to develop their PLN as a critical self-directed learning capability. Here’s one resource from Jane Bozarth on building your PLN – do an internet search to find more resources on this topic.

Conferences – I look for a mix of case studies presented by organisational practitioners and updates on industry trends and direction from thought leaders. The opportunity to network with other practitioners is also important. Some that we have attended are:

This list is not comprehensive, and there are new resources, organisations and programs becoming available on an ongoing basis that could be added.

It Won’t Happen Overnight….

Shifting your L&D mindset, practices and capabilities takes time. The L&D team needs to first become aware of the possibility of operating differently, then experience new approaches themselves in order to figure out how to adapt them in their organisation, and how best to support them. Our story provides an example of how this change can evolve over time.

What’s Worked For You (or not)?

To all the other workplace learning practitioners reading this post – what have your tried for your personal or team development? How are you going with modernising L&D practices and capability in your organisation? What has worked for you? What challenges do you have?  Let’s have a discussion and see what we can learn from each other.

Note: This post has been adapted from a post made on the 70:20:10 Forum as part of my Practitioner Certification


  1. #1 by Activate Learning Solutions on August 25, 2016 - 3:46 pm

    Michelle, what a fantastic post that goes to show the whole process, tasks and activities completed to get L&D onto the journey of changing mindsets and capabilities. What rings strongly for me as I read (and re-read the post out aloud to make sure that I understood it all) was that something like this simply doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a slow, gradual change and shift in thinking, behaviours and influence across all levels. It’s also about keeping in focus the “long game” as they call it and being clear and consistent about it. This post is something that will (and should) be referred to as a guide for L&D (and business) to see how things will unfold and how it takes time. I can remove the ‘L&D’ words and replace with another profession or job – whether it be Engineers, Auditors or Sales and you know, the need to learn how to learn will be exactly the same. It’s just something that we all need to learn how to do – and do it smartly. What’s missing is the support and guidance on how to do it. If L&D can upskill themselves and get onboard with the mindset of improving performance that enables people to continually learn in their work, it’s a huge step. Thank you for sharing this post. I have shared it to some other people across other sectors who are also grappling with the similar issues. It’s an interesting world that we’re living in at the moment. How exciting that we can all shape it.

    • #2 by Michelle Ockers on August 26, 2016 - 5:52 am

      H Helen,

      Appreciate your comment and the insight that the slow, gradual approach to modernising any aspect of business is a long game. It does take vision and persistence, a sense of experimentation and willingness to take risks. Nice to know that there is something transferable to other areas in this experience. During this two years I’ve consistently tuned out of cries of “L&D is becoming irrelevant” and gotten on with figuring out how to be relevant, how to create value in my business, how to help people see and grasp opportunity to learn and improve their performance as they work. Strategic alignment and working with stakeholders is every bit as important as a parallel initiative to modernising the mindset and capabilities of those in your L&D team. Otherwise you just end up with a lot of frustrated people in L&D. Hmmmm – feeling another blog post coming on.

      Thanks again for your support along the way, and your ongoing encouragement.


  2. #3 by Charles Jennings on August 26, 2016 - 12:25 am

    Michelle, this is a great account of Coca-Cola Amatil’s successful journey and the resources and touch-points along the way. The title sums up the challenges that have been overcome – Model, Mindset and Capabilities. I feel privileged to have played a small part.

  3. #4 by Miriam Speidel on August 26, 2016 - 1:02 am

    Brilliant post!! You have done a tremendous job transforming the face of L&D in your workplace. I’m so impressed by the variety of approaches you have introduced to initiate the shift from the traditional L&d to L&D that inspires, enables and encourages employees to take ownership of their learning through facilitation and signposting to relevant resources. I’m seriously inspired. I’m currently finishing a learning dashboard I’ve been working on with a colleague which is a collection of formal and informal resources to help our employees take ownership of their development with signposting from resource to resource to show potential ‘informal’ learning paths. This will be coupled with collaborative learning initiatives such as working out loud which I’m hoping to kick start in September. Whether it will work or not, I don’t know but I will give it a go and work on fine tuning it as I go along.
    I also love the idea of offering our business a full-on performance consulting service, but can a L&D team of one even think about trying to tap into it? I would appreciate your thoughts (if I may ask a question on here). This is something I know is so important and I have done it with some individuals but I have no idea how to even get it off the ground on a larger scale with very limited resources.

    • #5 by Michelle Ockers on August 26, 2016 - 5:58 am

      Hi Miriam,

      It’s been great to share some of our learning via Modern Workplace Learning – its a very helpful community to join. Yep, you just need to give things a go and see how they work. Keep going.

      Regarding performance consulting, think of it as a different type of conversation you start having with people when they come to you and say ‘we need training.’ It’s a way of understanding the performance opportunity or gap and looking at a range of approaches. This is far more manageable than thinking about it as a new service offering. Check out Nigel Harrison’s 7 step approach and use these to structure your early conversations – think ‘performance needs analysis’ instead of ‘training needs analysis.’ Let me know how it goes.

      Here is a link to Nigel’s website in case you haven’t already come across it or other are looking for more on performance consulting:

      Are you blogging or thinking about blogging about your work? It’s a great way to reflect on your experience and improve, as well as help others to modernise their L&D practices 🙂

      All the best,

  4. #6 by charlesjennings on August 26, 2016 - 2:32 am

    Michelle, what a great account of Coca-Cola Amatil’s journey. You’ve made a huge impact. I feel privileged to have played my very small part.

    • #7 by Michelle Ockers on August 26, 2016 - 5:59 am

      Thanks for your comment Charles, and for your inspiration and guidance along the way.

  5. #8 by Dave Lee on August 28, 2016 - 5:41 am

    Thank you, Michelle. This is a tremendous example of where L&D needs to be going.

    • #9 by Michelle Ockers on August 28, 2016 - 3:16 pm

      Thanks Dave, and thanks also for the reblog and link to this full post.

  6. #10 by Anand on August 30, 2016 - 1:29 pm

    Excellent summary of how L&D can be used as a tool to bring about transformation. Like it,

  7. #12 by Keith Crellin on September 5, 2016 - 6:04 pm

    Hi Michelle.

    Firstly – great post. I think it is a great example of what a successful learning strategy can look like within a company with an established L&D function that seems to be tasked with helping to improve the business.

    I’m currently trying to develop my thoughts into a coherent case to take to higher level management that we need to be thinking along the lines of creating a learning culture, not just training to compliance (although that is undoubtedly a major foundation of our core business).

    To be honest, I am trying to do this from a position that is not really tasked with that level of clout really. I’d like to develop in this field but I come from a technical background, via management into training withing a specific department. I have no formal HR or traditional L&D quals, so I am looking for all the inspiration I can get!

    I’m greatly enthused by the 70:20:10 forum 11 point plan for developing a strategy and have been researching various aspects of L&D. I’m quite taken with the broad concepts of 70:20:10 in general but also with the view you expressed so neatly in your blog about learning being much more about the capabilities and performance of a company’s workforce and thus the company itself.

    How have you, in the past, persuaded / influenced / encouraged management that they need an L&D type department (I like the idea of utilising the term capability in there somewhere!) in the first place and then have an impact on the L&D strategy? Do you have any advice? Or any of your readers for that matter?


    • #13 by Michelle Ockers on September 7, 2016 - 8:49 am

      Hi Keith,

      You sound like a man on a mission – and being clear on your mission is a first step. You mention ‘creating a learning culture’ as well as persuading management that ‘they need an L&D type department’. Businesses are about performance. This is the language / currency that business leaders understand and make decisions upon. Learning may be an enabler; performance is always the objective.

      On this basis I suggest starting with having a clear understanding of your business / organisation. Look closely at your business strategy, priorities and plans. What are the issues your business is facing? Where are there key performance gaps that need to be addressed to achieve the business objectives and address issues? Noting that there are many potential root causes of a performance gap, how could those performance gaps be closed? There are probably things that can be done without creating an ‘L&D type department.’ Have you come across Nigel Harrison’s performance consulting approach – you may find it useful to guide your thinking –

      Perhaps looking at your mission at an organisation-wide level is too big a leap (noting I am unsure of the size of your organisation). Is there something you can do a little closer to ‘home’? You mention you are working within training in a specific department and have a technical background. What can you do to modernise the approaches used in your department? Are there smaller changes you can make to your own training work? Run some little experiments to figure out what works, build on that, showcase it to others.

      As for influencing people more broadly in your organisation, I’ve found Working Out Loud to be the most effective approach to doing this. You can read more on this at

      I hope this helps – let me know how your thinking is progressing.

      If anyone else reading this has some additional suggestions/thoughts for Keith feel free to post here.


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