What does it take to transform learning?

Damien Woods, the GM of Learning at National Australia Bank, returns to Learning Uncut.  My previous conversation with Damien, episode 38, was called ‘Business Impact through Design Thinking.’  We discussed a specific initiative in the Direct Bank Call Centre.  It has the distinction of being the most downloaded Learning Uncut episode to date.

One year on we look at the bigger picture of learning transformation at NAB over the past two and a half years.  Damien discusses the importance of having a vision for learning in your organisation and, as a leader, gaining buy-in and building the capability of your L&D team.  We discuss other key pillars of the NAB learning strategy including putting the learner in charge of their own learning, right content at the right time, technology enablement and the foundation of getting compliance right.  The shifts that had been made since 2018 equipped the team to help the organisation quickly pivot and upskill people to move into areas of high demand at the start of the pandemic, as well as redesign learning for the online environment.

This is a very real conversation about the rewards, challenges and lessons learned from leading learning transformation in a large, complex organisation.

Episode Highlights

– Supporting the rapid redistribution of workforce and upskilling in high demand areas at NAB in the early period of the pandemic.  How the investment that the learning team had made in building their digital and design skills over the previous two years equipped them to do this.

– Getting out of your comfort zone and solving problems during the pandemic.  “We just haven’t had the luxury of perfection.  It’s been about execution.”

– The fundamental importance of learning team capability.  Taking a strategic approach to building the capability of the learning team with a contemporary capability map and expert support from Michelle Ockers.

– Putting the individual in charge of their own learning with L&D taking a back seat.

– Right content. Right time.  Licensing content rather than building it.  Shifting from 15,000 hours annual learning on one platform to 9,000 hours per month.

– Working differently with the early adopter business units versus those where adoption is slower.  Encouraging the business to take the lead.  Partnering and curation as keys.

– How Damien measures the performance of his team.

– The importance of having a clearly articulated strategy that communicates how you help the business solve their problems and create value.  Ensuring buy-in of the whole learning team with this strategy.

– While leaders are willing to invest in their people, they need the support from L&D to do this from toolkits to managing the development cycle.

– The need for L&D leaders to be constantly engaged with senior echelons of the business to realise the learning change agenda.

Episode Preview

Full Episode

Listen to the full episode and access transcript and additional resources on the podcast website or your favourite podcast platform.

Take a contemporary, strategic approach to building the capability of your L&D team 

Damien mentioned that I helped with building the capability of the NAB L&D team to help them implement their learning strategy.  Take a look at how this works on the Learning Team Capability page on my website.  Take a strategic view of the skills needed in your L&D team, understand what you have in place and identify the critical shifts required for you to increase your impact and value in the organisation.  Put a robust plan in place to make the change.

Join the Conversation online

Damien is very active on LinkedIn and really enjoys engaging with others.  He would really welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation.  You can ask a question or make a comment on the LinkedIn post where I share his episode with the hashtag #LearningUncut.  He’s also on Twitter.  Be sure to tag him and use the hashtag #LearningUncut.

Follow Michelle Ockers on LinkedIn to have posts about the podcast and other contemporary organisational learning topics appear in your feed.

Learning Uncut has accounts on Twitter and Instagram. Find and follow them at @learninguncut.



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