Posts Tagged Towards Maturity

What I Learned in November 2018

November was an extraordinarily busy month for me, with abundant learning opportunities in the course of my work.  The three I’ve picked for this month’s ‘What I Learned’ video are:

1. How I Learn – spoiler alert – mostly through my work, collaboration and conversation with others.  Here is a link to Learning Uncut podcast home page – the Professional Development special I refer to in the video will be out on 8 January 2019.

2. The Transformation Curve – research from Towards Maturity about the transformation journey in becoming a Learning Organisation. Here is a link to the webinar that I co-hosted with Laura Overton from Towards Maturity on learning transformation that provides further detail on the Transformation Curve.

3. A new research report from Good Practice about the evolution of 70:20:10 that explores how this idea / concept / framework is being applied in organisations.

Full transcript is below the video.

Video Transcript

Hi, it’s Michelle Ockers. Welcome to my What I Learned in November 2018 video, where I reflect on three things I’ve learned every month. I do this as a way of encouraging others to reflect on their own learning and recognize that we all learn on a continuous basis.

  1. How I Learn

Which leads me to my first reflection on learning for the month. I did a podcast, recorded a podcast episode of Learning Uncut, which I co-host with Karen Moloney. We were doing a special on professional development, which will be published or aired on the 8th of January, 2019.

In this episode, rather than talk to a guest about a project they’ve worked on, we actually had a discussion joined by Neil Von Heupt, who had over four years as Program Manager with the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

We basically drew on the answers of our guests from 2018 to the question, “what’s the biggest thing you do for your own professional development?” We also reflected on the answer to that for ourselves and what 2018 has looked like.

What I realized is, I have done next to no formal learning in 2018, but gosh, I’ve learned a lot and gotten a lot better at what I do. And the way I’ve done that is through my work and through collaboration and conversation with others. I give an example of that in the podcast. So it helped me to learn a bit more about my own learning style, which is very practical, very application driven, and very collaborative.

  1. The Learning Transformation Curve

The second thing I learned was related to a big shift in my business that I’ve been working on for some time and that I announced in November, and that is a partnership with Towards Maturity, who are based in the UK. I won’t go into the details of that partnership. That has been announced on my website and also in an article on LinkedIn if you want to take a look.

But one of the things I did as part of launching that partnership this month was a webinar with Laura Overton from Towards Maturity, where we talked about learning transformation and how to make a breakthrough in your learning transformation journey.

In the process of preparing for the webinar, I really got to dig into the most recent Towards Maturity research from their last annual report, The Transformation Curve, which looked at what is the transformation journey? What is the typical pattern of the transformation journey in Learning and Development as we seek to add strategic value and move to the right to become a learning organization?

And what that research showed is that it’s not a straightforward path. It’s not a linear progression. It’s actually more like a series of S-curves which come from product innovation and the product lifecycle as you take an idea or a level of performance, you introduce something, you go through a growth period, it matures. Then if you don’t do something differently, you start going into decline, just like the product life cycle.

But the data that Towards Maturity have from their benchmark of over 7,500 Learning and Development leaders over a period of 15 years, shows that you can make certain choices at these pivot points between stages on the maturity curve that will move you forward and move you into the next stage. And they’ve identified four stages which we unpacked in the webinar, reported in The Transformation Curve.

I really feel well equipped now in the work I’m doing with Towards Maturity to be able to look at where an organization is on the Transformation Curve and talk not just about generally what people are doing at that most mature stage, but what you need to do now to move forward from the point you are at. So I’m going to share a link to the webinar recording both on my blog site and on YouTube, underneath this particular What I Learned video for anyone who’s interested in taking a look. Or you can just get in touch straight, directly with me if you want to have a chat about the Transformation Curve and what I have learned through the Towards Maturity research about the process of having a greater impact and transforming learning in organizations.

  1. 70:20:10 Research

The third thing I learned that I’d like to talk about is some recent research by Good Practice on 70:20:10, called The Evolution of 70:20:10. Now for anyone who is not aware, if you are a Learning professional, you’re probably going to be aware of this shorthand way of referring to the key ways that people learn. So I’m not even going to use these numbers again. What I’m going to tell you is, people learn formally and they learn informally as they work through their experience and from interactions, conversations, connections, collaboration with others.

I think it’s time we stopped talking about this particular framework. It is clear from this piece of research that it’s been applied across most organizations. It impacts the work of many learning professionals in a range of ways. It’s not a prescription. It’s a nudge, if you like, or a starting point to encourage us to look at a broader ways of approaching the sustainment and enablement of learning in our organizations and enriching our own roles and the working lives of those we’re there to support.

So moving forward, my thinking is this report shows us that the approach is embedded, that it’s very flexible, it’s not prescriptive, that there’s a whole range of ways, depending on our specific context, that we can engage with learners and learning and empower people to learn in our organizations. So let’s move on from the debate and just get on with our role in this broader, more enjoyable, more enriching way.

This is going to be my last What I Learned video for the year. So thank you to those of you who’ve been watching these videos. Hopefully, some of you are getting some value out of them. I’m hoping it inspires people to actually share what they’re learning more broadly as a way of role modelling and opening up the conversation around learning in whatever networks, organizations, interactions you move in.

Have a safe and happy Christmas, and I look forward to engaging more with everybody in 2019.

, , ,

No Comments

Capability Framework – Opportunity to Engage Managers

A recent episode of my Learning Uncut podcast generated some discussion on LinkedIn.  It was an interview with Kate Fraser of Standards Australia about how she has made a capability framework valuable.

Today I had a video call with a person that I’d exchanged comments with on the LinkedIn discussion thread about this episode.  She is concerned about the practical implementation of the capability framework that has been developed in her organisation.  When I dug a little deeper the real issue she is grappling with is how to encourage people to engage in development activities.  It struck me that this issue existed independently of whether a capability framework was in place.  However, she believes that the rollout of the framework in her organisation will overwhelm people who are very busy in their job roles.  The framework implementation could be used to as an opportunity to promote continuous learning practices.

While today’s conversation covered a range of strategies that she could use to implement the framework, one key aspect that we focussed on was the role of managers to guide the development of their people.  The Towards Maturity 2017 benchmark report showed that amongst the top three barriers to achieving a learning culture are:

  • Lack of skills amongst employees to manage their own learning (65% of respondents)
  • Reluctance by line managers to encourage new ways of learning (58% of respondents)

A high leverage activity for any Learning and Development (L&D) team is to support the development of continuous learning skills.  In particular, helping managers to build skills, strategies and habits to provide development support for their team members is critical.  This is even more so in a hierarchical, bureaucratic organisation such as the one described to me today.

This evening I re-read a 2017 post by Ryan Tracey on Reframing the Capability FrameworkThe following comment made by Tanya Lau could have been lifted straight out of today’s conversation:

“Whilst L&D might play a role in developing the capability framework and identifying how it aligns with particular roles – their manager really should be the person identifying capability gaps and providing development support for addressing these gaps for individuals and across the team…particularly since capability development is most impacted through on the job development opportunities more than – or at least in addition to, formal training. Perhaps L&D can add the most value by supporting managers to develop this capability.”

In the Learning Uncut podcast Kate Fraser described how she closely supported managers to use the capability framework for a range of purposes. Eventually they became adept at using it without ongoing hand-holding.  Of course, engaging managers early to create use cases for the capability framework and help develop the framework generally increases their buy-in and the usefulness of the end product.  For the person I spoke with today it is too late for this.  Her opportunity is to engage managers in implementation.  I suggested that she assemble a small group of managers to assist with implementation planning.  A useful first step would be to create a persona to represent a typical manager and identify their motivations and pain points in relation to developing their people.  Then consider how the capability framework could be implemented in a way that aligns with their motivations and addresses their pain points.

Note: I have recently project managed a refresh of the Learning and Performance Institute’s L&D Capability Framework. The framework will be launched in early September.  Over the coming month I shall post more about both this specific framework as well as capability frameworks more generally.

, , , , ,

No Comments

Preparing for Podcast Interview on Learning Culture

I’m the guest on an upcoming episode of The Good Practice podcast on the topic of Learning Culture.  The discussion is being recorded tonight.  I’ve long been a fan of this podcast, so am delighted to be invited to be a guest.  I’m conscious that the episodes are around 20-30 minutes and include a ‘what I’ve learned this week’ segment.  This means that the discussion is relatively short, so I wanted to get my thoughts together in order to ensure that I can contribute concise, clear points that people will hopefully find thought-provoking and valuable.

Step 1 – Figure out what I already thought and knew

I started preparation about a week ago.  My first step was to figure out what I already knew and thought about the topic.  To do this I simply started writing short declarative statements and jotting down examples in longhand.  Before long I had three pages of notes.

I proceeded to organise my thoughts using a mind map, which quickly gave me:

  • a potential structure for the discussion (What, Why, Who, How) – turns out the guys at Good Practice liked this structure and we’ll use it as a start point in our discussion
  • a list of examples and stories I could use
  • a list of sources for further reading to round out and update my thinking

I transcribed and organised my notes into the new discussion structure in Evernote and shared this with the podcast organiser.

Step 2 – Additional Reading

The sources I found most helpful were:

10 Principles of Organisational Culture, a post by Jon Katzenbach, Carolin Oelschlegel and James Thomas – this post helped me refine and simplify my definition of what culture is.  I also found the idea that behaviour leads mindset resonated with my experience and helps to explain why values based ‘campaigns’ that don’t align with the way things get done tend to create cynicism rather than change.

The Transformation Curve, Towards Maturity’s 2018 global learning benchmark report.  This report marks a shift in Towards Maturity’s ongoing research of what top performing Learning and Development teams do differently to provide a four stage maturity model as organisations move from optimising training to shared responsibility for learning.  Their analysis helps identify the characteristics of a culture that promotes learning.

Driving the New Learning Organisation. In this article and paper Towards Maturity identify six characteristics of the new learning organisation, where learning is a mutual responsibility.

 Step 3 – Final Talking Points 

I created a new document and made a dot point summary of the key talking points, stories and recommended sources for further reading in each section of the discussion .  I won’t share that here so I don’t spoil the podcast episode.  Also, I’ve been warned that the podcast discussion could be quite tangential.  It will be interesting to compare the final product to my talking points.

Bonus Step – Blog Post Outline

Regardless of what happens in the discussion, my preparation has helped me to clarify my thinking on learning culture and supplement it with current research.  I’ve prepared an outline of a blog post intended to inform and influence business leaders to step up in their role of building an organisation culture that promotes learning.

I’m not sure when the podcast episode will go to air – I shall be sure to write and tweet an update on this when it is live.

, , ,

No Comments