Archive for category 702010
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:
- Technical Academy team – myself, four Capability Consultants, and a Coordinator; and
- 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
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.
Our Capability Strategy Elements
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.
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.
Our internal Capability Community has gradually matured, shifting our interactions from fortnightly teleconference catch-ups focussed on project status updates to a combination of:
- fortnightly catch-ups focussed on knowledge sharing (run using Skype for Business);
- narrating our work and learning via a log maintained in OneNote; and
- 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.
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:
- Australian Institute of Training and Development National Conference
- Learning at Work
- Learning Café Unconference
- Knowledge Management Australia
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
This post reviews progress against my 70:20:10 Certification pathway. It focuses on improvement of SharePoint infrastructure to better enable knowledge sharing in my business unit, Supply Chain.
SharePoint is the platform that Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) uses for intranet, shared file storage, and Enterprise Social Network (ESN). CCA does not use Yammer. In early 2014 CCA decided to upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. In the same period we also updated the Supply Chain Capability strategy to include ‘continuous workplace learning,’ and decided to introduce Communities of Practice. At this time use of the SharePoint newsfeed was negligible, and discussion forums were not used. I had been actively using Twitter as a professional development tool for several months and could see the potential of online social to enable knowledge sharing.
The upgrade scope included migration of all shared files from servers to SharePoint document libraries. If most people started using SharePoint on a daily basis for file management there was a leverage opportunity to encourage the use of other platform features, including online social. I volunteered to assist with the SharePoint upgrade to position myself to take advantage of this opportunity.
What I Set Out to Achieve
My goal was to create an infrastructure that promoted online social interaction and supported Communities of Practice. Of course, simply ‘building it’ would not guarantee that ‘they would come.’ However, improving the infrastructure was a pre-requisite to creating vibrant communities.
Prior to the SharePoint upgrade there were almost 150 Australian Supply Chain SharePoint sites – around 1 for every ten permanent employees. The range of sites largely reflected the geographic organisation structure. Most teams had a dedicated SharePoint site, each of which had it’s own newsfeed. This impeded online social. It was a lot of effort to find and follow either individual people or the sites of teams with similar work roles and challenges across the organisation. People could see little point in engaging in discussion on a site newsfeed if the only people they could interact with were those they saw face-to-face every day.
I took a two-step approach:
1) Rationalise the range of SharePoint sites to make it easier for people to find other people and resources relevant to their work, while retaining the ability to use SharePoint as part of local team workflows.
2) Build hubs to provide spaces for Communities of Practice to interact.
SharePoint Site Rationalisation
In conjunction with IT, we redesigned the high-level site infrastructure, setting up one site for each Supply Chain function e.g. Planning, Manufacturing, Logistics. These are accessible via a dashboard. A small number of existing project sites were also retained.
Each site has a single newsfeed on the home page. This makes it easier to interact with others who work in the same function, regardless of where they work. Every geographic area (State) has a landing page on each functional site, with a dashboard containing links to document libraries or other pages required for local team use.
We formed a Supply Chain SharePoint migration project team with one to two representatives from each State. These people were local change agents and coordinators. They worked with local stakeholders to promote the benefits of the new infrastructure, set up dashboards, and coordinate file migration from local servers.
Migration commenced in July 2014, and is now 95% complete, 18 months later. This timeframe far exceeded the estimate of 3-4 months. While the rationale for the change was readily understood and generally accepted, there were several practical challenges. The effort to clean up existing files and folder structure exceeded our estimates. Migration activity halted during our peak production season (October to January inclusive). Both Supply Chain and IT were restructured during this period. Within IT the physical migration tasks were handed over twice. Technical issues arose (if you are interested in these please leave a comment on this post and I will provide more detail). Due to these obstacles the project paused several times and needed to be kick-started again. It has taken persistence and a commitment to the long-term vision (knowledge sharing to create business value) to continue the migration.
Improvements and Next Steps
Although not traditionally the remit of a Learning and Development team, within Supply Chain my team has taken the lead on governance and support to our SharePoint infrastructure. This is an extension of our remit to support knowledge sharing and to contribute more broadly to value creation in our business through social practices. Sustainability of the new site infrastructure is a key goal.
Requests for new Supply Chain SharePoint sites come to me in the workflow. I discuss the business need with the requester and help them find ways to address this need within the existing infrastructure. There have been very few site requests in the past twelve months since we implemented and promoted use of the new infrastructure.
Each national site has two site owners who are responsible for site management. Along with one of my team members I provide direct support to these site owners. We are rolling out a training plan and site management routine for site owners. Additionally, migration project team members have become local SharePoint Subject Matter Experts. They provide advice and responsive local support to people on how to use SharePoint more effectively. We will sustain this SME network.
We are documenting the governance framework and principles that have evolved. These include the overarching infrastructure, role of site owners and my team, support available to users, key infrastructure decisions and the principles that apply. For example, the principle of openness, means that the majority of sites, document libraries and forums will be public.
Community of Practice Hubs
Four community hubs are now set up on SharePoint using a common design. I’ve previously described the hub design and set up process.
The hubs were all set up using standard SharePoint apps and have not required any maintenance. From an end user perspective, it is straightforward to post on each element of the hub. However, community interaction is impeded by limited SharePoint notification functionality. Community management, administration and reporting functionality is also limited.
By default SharePoint displays newsfeed posts made by any person or on any site that someone follows. However, notice of posts on discussion boards will only display in the newsfeed if the individual posting has ticked this in the advanced settings on their personal profile. Few people take the time to adjust their advanced settings. A person can set up email notification of discussion board activity, however the way to do this is not obvious to users. After several attempts to encourage community members to set up their own notifications I manually set these up for every individual member. I also set up email notifications for members on the custom list in the Knowledge Bites site, where user-generated content is published.
SharePoint social lacks the fluidity of open social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. As both an end user and community facilitator I find this frustrating and inefficient. As a result it has taken a lot of effort, support and encouragement to build online community interaction.
Improvements and Next Steps
The value of Communities of Practice to Supply Chain has been demonstrated but is well short of being fully realised. We will expand the use of communities in 2016. Before we do we will assess scalability and user experience of the current community hub infrastructure. We need to decide whether to:
- continue to use dedicated hubs for each community with any improvements identified in our review; or
- move to a new design with a single community site for all of Supply Chain using a new design recently adopted by our IT department.
Some variant of these two options may also be possible.
The new IT community and knowledge base that uses functionality not available in the standard SharePoint apps used by Supply Chain. This provides an alternative template for our online communities. However, it represents a shift from separate hubs for each community to one community for the whole of Supply Chain. One of the lessons we learned from our Maintenance and Engineering community is that members need to have enough common interest for them to get value from interacting. A single Supply Chain community exacerbates this challenge. We will explore the use of tagging as a means of associating content (posts or knowledge base entries) by domain to address this challenge. In effect, this could create ‘virtual communities.’ User experience and adoption are key factors to guide community infrastructure design, so we will involve a range of existing and new users to provide feedback in a test environment.
I’m up for another round of grappling with SharePoint to improve the user experience and community management. Getting the infrastructure right is an important hygiene factor for building online communities. This takes more effort than it should in SharePoint. It’s effort and time that I’d rather invest in building habits and behaviours to generate community interaction. However, it is the platform that the organisation has invested in so I shall do the best with my colleagues to make the most of it.
This post is a continuation of my list of Key Takeaways / Actions form Learning at Work Day 1.
Idea #6 – Seed/introduce Working Out Loud Circles as a self-organising development program within my organisation. From Mara Tolja, Community Manager and Collaboration Specialist, Deutsche Bank, “Working Out Loud: a grassroots movement to make work better and more effective”. I’m now in my second Working Out Loud circle, and find it a great way to work purposefully towards a goal while developing relationships with a spirit of generosity and contribution. In August I spoke about Working Out Loud at a National Association of Women in Operations (NAWO) event my organisation hosted, out of which five circles started. About 1/3 of the participants are from my organisation, so I guess I’ve started seeding it. I’m concerned that if I try introducing it as a ‘formal’ program it will get bogged down, or ‘ambushed’ and the self-organising, self-direction element may be lost. I also don’t want people to be confused about where it fits with the remainder of my role as manager of Coca-Cola Amatil’s Supply Chain Technical Academy. Perhaps the simplest approach is to keep it grass roots and support others to spread the word. I’m open to suggestions and different points of view on this so please feel free to comment on this post.
Idea #7 – Take another look at MOOCs. 18-24 months ago MOOCs were on the agenda of most L&D conferences as a standalone topic. Now they are mentioned as part of the corporate learning tookit in presentations on broader topics and discussed amongst delegates. It’s been over 12 months since I last searched for MOOCs on topics relevant to Supply Chain, at which point I didn’t find much. It’s time to take another look, and also to consider how we could promote MOOCs as a broader option in the context of self-directed learning (Day 1 Idea #2).
Idea #8 – Get more targeted with development of L&D capabilities. From Vivien Dale, Manager, Organisational Development, North Coast TAFE, “Opportunity knocks: improving performance through 70:20:10.” Vivien spoke about the skillset that needed to be built in her L&D team in order to implement 70:20:10. I’ve recently asked all members of the Coca-Cola Amatil Supply Chain Capability Community to complete the LPI Capability Assessment. Over the next two days we have a Community workshop where we will review our strategy, 2015 ‘wins’ and 2016 ‘opportunities’ and capabiliity plan. We will analyse the LPI capability profile across the group, look at how well aligned our skillset is with what we need to contribute to the performance of our organisation, and create a development plan. Although we have been developing a modern workplace learning mindset and skillset in recent years this will be a more focussed approach than we have previously taken.
Idea #9 – Adopt an “appreciative inquiry” approach to turn problem statements into positive lines of inquiry. From Jeremy Scrivens, Work Futurist & Social Business Catalyst, Roundtable “Digital @ Work and social buisness strategy: think outside the box.” Take a problem statement and convert it into a positive inquiry in order to figure out and amplify what is working, and to find innovative ways to create a positive future. For example, instead of asking “Why are people not active on our knowledge sharing discussion forums?” ask “Where and how are people actively sharing knowledge?”
Idea #10 – Understand where my organisation is going with HR Analytics. From Tym Lawrence, SumTotal Roundtable “Leveraging Technology and big data to provide individualised learning journeys”. There’s been a lot of investment in HR Technology in my organisation this year, and I am aware that HR and our business intelligence team are defining our HR data strategy and introducing new reports through our business intelligence platform. What insights might be possible using a combination of our HR and business data that will help to not only focus our Capability development efforts on areas where we can make the biggest contribution to organisational performance, and also where we can better identify and meet the performance development needs of individuals?
This links back my Day 1 Idea #1 about using data more in decision-making, so a ‘data’ theme has emerged. It also got me thinking again about the power of self-directed learning and communities of purpose to enable individuals to create their own learning journeys. Two different, complementary ways of achieving the same goal.
Idea #11 – Get access to relevant results from our employee engagement survey and see if/how we can use it to inform our learning strategy and capability plan. From Tina Griffin, Kineo, Roundtable “How do you get buy-in for your learning initiatives?” Another potentially valuable data set that I’ve never tried to access. On Day 1 we heard from David Mallon that the Bersin by Deloitte 2015 Global Human Capital Trends identified the #1 global talent issue is engagement, and that organisations need to constantly re-engage their workforce. I’m curious about what insights might be available about how learning and development approaches and opportunities are viewed by our employees, how this impacts engagement, and what we could to amplify areas of positive engagement.
Idea #12 – Add simple, powerful questions to learning evaluation. (1) “What else do you think you need to learn or would like to learn?” Asking this question at the end of, or at key points during, a learning program is a simple, timely way of getting learner input to needs analysis. It’s a start point to a conversation we can have with people rather than a commitment by the organisation to ‘provide’ the learning, and could be a good opportunity to enable self-directed or manager-led development. Thank you to fellow delegate Victoria Oettel, Uniting, for this idea. (2) Ask participants to rate their performance of a target skill on a simple scale at three points in time: start of program, end of program, 3 months after program completion. Ask managers to provide the same ranking. We have been using a similar approach, but sometimes it feels like people are getting weary of responding to surveys. The potential improvement is to make our surveys shorter. Thanks to Tina Griffin of Kineo for sharing this idea on her Roundtable.
Idea #13 – Make our eLearning even better. From Clark Quinn, Executive Director, Quinnovation “Building an Agile organisation: optimal execution and continual innovation.” Clark asserted that eLearning done well remains important to optimal execution in organisations. I’ll follow his recommendation to examine the Serious eLearning Manifesto and discuss it with my team to identify what we can do better.
Idea #14 – Build specific collaboration skills in my organisation. I couldn’t resist adding a second idea from Clark Quinn. He identified collaboration and communities of practice as two key strategies for continual innovation and advocated that L&D has an important role to play in developing both within organisations. I intend to research collaboration skills, starting with those listed by Clark in red in the image below and work with my team to figure out how well we are currently supporting development of them, and how we can do this more effectively.
So, 14 ideas to take back to work and discuss with my colleagues. Given that six colleagues also attended the conference it will be interesting to hear what resonated with them, throw their ideas into the mix, and sort through them together to figure out which we will apply and how.
For other Learning at Work attendees – what ideas have you gathered to take back to your organisation and try?
This post reviews progress against my 70:20:10 Certification pathway.
Coca-Cola Amatil Supply Chain is developing knowledge sharing using Communities of Practice (COP). It’s six months since our first COP was formally launched, in Maintenance and Engineering, and shortly after this for our Systems Super Users and Key Users. As we are starting to develop our 2016 business plans and budgets this is a good time to consider progress, benefits and next steps.
We set up a single Maintenance and Engineering COP and invited all maintenance and engineering team members in Australia and New Zealand to participate – around 200 people. In the Systems area we launched three COPs – one for each operational system in scope, approximately 50 people in total. In both instances we launched these communities using a five week guided social learning program (Work, Connect and Learn – WCL) to develop skills and behaviours to participate in the COP. We ran WCL initially for the entire Maintenance and Engineering community, and then separately for the Systems communities. I shall post separately on evaluation of the WCL program.
The current maturity of these COPs is shown below on the Community Maturity Model from the Community Roundtable.
The three crucial COP characteristics (as defined by Wenger-Trayner ) of domain, community and practice were used to identify factors impacting COP maturity – as shown in the table below.
Examples of value creation were identified in the Maintenance & Engineering and SAP Manufacturing COPs in particular, including:
- Streamlining of processes
- Sharing resources for troubleshooting
- Cross-site input on problem resolution
- Sharing improvements / lessons learned
Case studies and examples of successful COPs within organisations in similar industries and environments (manufacturing, engineering and technically oriented settings) were identified and reviewed (view curated articles). Lessons drawn from these case studies and our experience include:
- Carefully define the domain and purpose of COP – keep it narrow enough to be attainable
- Form strategically designed COPs aligned to business goals, set tangible outcomes, and find ways to integrate activities with work (e.g. link to projects, build activities into work flow), support and guide them closely
- Provide guidelines and a lighter touch for other COPs that form
- Provide guidance and support to help people access and interact in COPs
- Make sure that interesting content is available
- Enable Subject Matter Experts to become COP champions
- Generate active senior management support
Most importantly, it is clear that value created by COPs can take considerable time to materialise. The key insight is that to generate tangible performance improvements you need to put effort and resource into community management. Accordingly, a key review recommendation is the appointment of a dedicated Community Manager.
Next steps identified are:
- Create community strategies and road maps to build existing COPs.
- Advocate for creation of the Community Manager role
- When the Community Manager role is established (assuming it is), identify and design focused cross-functional COPs aligned with business processes with high impact on priority goals in our business strategy
The 702010 Forum recently launched a 70:20:10 Practitioner Certification program (watch a video overview). I participated in the pilot of this program last year and see tremendous value in the way it supports me to improve the application of the 702010 framework in my organisation, while also recognising my development as I do my work. There is real integrity in the 702010 approach that is built into the certification.
I’ve decided to post my certification pathway and progress reviews on my blog rather than just on the 702010 Forum so that I can share it more widely. In this post I share how I have scoped my work requirements and certification pathway. Participants are asked to apply a performance analysis approach to the scoping step, which is then used to structure this initial post.
Overview of Situation
Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) produces and distributes a range of beverages and some food items including carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, water, dairy drinks, alcoholic beverages, fruit, coffee and tea. In early 2012 CCA established the Supply Chain Technical Academy. After a number of years of capital investment, a need was identified to ensure that we could continue to develop the capability of our people to use these platforms and systems. The Academy developed competency-based blended learning programs. These programs include theory (10), learning from others (20), and learning from experience (70). The three elements were included in structured programs, culminating in skill assessment on-the-job.
By early 2014 the Academy had largely delivered on the initial mandate of developing training programs to support the major capital investment program, which had come to an end. CCA’s market conditions had become tougher and profitability was reducing. Supply Chain’s business strategy had been updated, shifting focus to productivity in order to realise the benefits of the capital investment program. It was time to refresh our Capability strategy.
I had joined the 702010 Forum in September 2013 and became aware of how many different ways there are to support social and experiential learning. It struck me that CCA had narrowly interpreted the 702010 framework, and were missing many valuable, lower cost opportunities to support learning and improve our business results.
While I commenced individual 702010 certification as part of the Forum’s pilot in September 2014, I have used the Forum to support development and execution of the refreshed strategy described in this journal post.
Who is Involved?
Sponsor – My manager, the Head of People and Productivity – Supply Chain, is sponsoring my certification.
A Supply Chain Technical Capability Governance Board was established in mid 2012. The Board consists of a range of senior National and State managers. It sets and oversees Capability strategy. The Board helps me to align capability activities to business strategy and priorities.
National and State managers of functions such as manufacturing, maintenance and logistics – The Capability strategy must help them to improve their team’s business results. I work with them to develop specific learning programs that suit their team’s characteristics and working environment.
Capability Community – This group are both stakeholders in my certification and support in that they are co-contributors to the work that is in certification scope.
Academy team – five people in addition to myself, who develop and coordinate national learning programs.
Additional ‘Capability Consultants’ – people who take a lead role on development of specific Capability, but are not a permanent part of the Academy team.
State Capability Managers – one per Australian State (geographically structured role). These roles report to State Supply Chain Managers. They plan and execute technical and compliance training locally using a mixture of Academy and other programs. They are key local change and communication agents for the Academy.
Indirect Support – I shall work with IT and HR on specific initiatives. I shall also use my external Personal Learning Network for support. I may also engage external specialists to assist with specific initiatives.
The business context in early 2014 was introduced at start of this post. Key business performance factors were:
– Reducing business profitability due to changing market conditions, with a negative impact on share price.
– Business cost reductions, reducing workforce size.
– Completion of a multi-year program of investment in a range of Supply Chain platforms and computer systems.
Capability performance was reflected in a SWOT analysis undertaken in March 2014. I conducted individual discussions with the Governance Board members and Capability Managers gathered input from functional managers in their States. The SWOT was finalised at a 2 day Capability Community strategy workshop.
In summary, we had embedded a new consistent, clear model of competency-based Capability development aligned with business priorities, and the Community had earned credibility in the business. This has been a significant shift from the previous model where each State independently developed technical capability. Managers across Supply Chain told us that we had focussed on the right capabilities, and they felt that the programs met their needs. However, activity metrics showed that utilisation of formal programs was low. Engagement of local teams with Capability needed to improve in most States. We were also concerned that knowledge sharing across States was low.
Performance Outcomes to be achieved:
The Supply Chain business strategy was updated in late 2013 and emphasises productivity. Specific 3-year stretch targets have been set in the following business KPIs:
– Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
– Unplanned equipment downtime
– Reducing finished goods inventory
– Cost of finished goods
To support these business outcomes, the Capability strategy must:
– rapidly develop emerging technical skills required in the business. For example, improve maintenance planning skills in order to reduce unplanned equipment downtime.
– use more responsive learning strategies. While the competency-based programs provide a foundation by sustaining critical core technical skills and knowledge, they do not enable continuous learning while working. They also require a lot of resource and time to develop.
Implications of Doing Nothing
Our Capability Strategy clearly needed to be refreshed to maintain alignment with the business strategy. To continue developing capability-based learning programs would mean that we invest a lot of resource in increasingly lower priority business capabilities. We simply could not keep up with business needs and risked becoming irrelevant.
Key Activities or Solutions
The refreshed Capability Strategy contains five elements as per the diagram below.
The strategy, endorsed by the Governance Board, states that we will focus on:
1. Continuing to develop and drive utilisation of evidence based programs for key capabilities
2. Driving leader engagement with, and accountability for, Capability Development
3. Building a continuous learning culture
4. Facilitating effective Communities of Practice for key capabilities
5. Implementing modern technology enabled approaches for learning
6. Implementing strong governance practices
We have a three year road map of key initiatives for each element by year.
I shall focus on knowledge sharing as part of building a continuous learning culture for my 702010 Certification. This includes Communities of Practice and other forms of embedding and extracting learning through knowledge sharing. However, I shall also use the 702010 Forum resources and community to support other activities included in the strategy.
Following development of the strategy my next steps in regard to building knowledge sharing were to:
– Improve SharePoint infrastructure so that it could be used effectively for knowledge sharing.
– Engage and enable the Capability Community to support knowledge sharing by other groups in the business.
– Develop knowledge sharing across CCA’s (1) Maintenance and Engineering teams, and (2) Systems Super Users and Key Users.
Two skills covered in both the Modern Workplace Learning’s Social Learning Practitioner Program and Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Management in 40 Days are advanced online search techniques and validation of online content. One quick peek at the internet in real time to watch the mind-boggling rate at which content on the internet is growing confirms the value of these skills.
The Purpose of my Search
At one level the purpose of my search was to try out new search skills. However, I needed to look for something specific so decided to search for resources that would help middle managers to identify what actions they could take to effectively develop their team members. Given that my organisation uses the 702010 framework for learning I started by searching for resources about how they could use 702010 approaches.
Searching Using Google
I used Google as my search engine and started with a broad term which I gradually refined to see how it would impact the number of results. As shown in the table below, simply adding one word at a time to the search string reduced the number of results to 1% of the starting point within 3 search iterations. However, over 3,000 search results was still a large number.
I realised that the search term “702010 for middle managers” would include resources about how middle management skills could be developed, which didn’t fit the purpose of my search. I wanted to shift the emphasis to the role of middle managers in using or implementing 702010, so searched the term: middle manager role in 702010 implementation. While this may have shifted the emphasis, it didn’t reduce the search results.
In Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014 Guidebook I read that Google ignores common words like ‘the’ ‘an’ ‘in’, but will include them in a search if you add a ‘+’ before each one. My next search was on the term: middle manager role +in 702010 implementation. This significantly reduced the search results to just 6. Oddly, none were relevant. They were mostly about strategy implementation.
Jane’s next tip was to use quotation marks to use a phrase string to search for an exact phrase rather than just the occurrence of the words entered. I searched on “middle manager role” +in “702010 implementation” and received just 3 results. While one of these was relevant and included a list of ideas for activities that could be used to develop people through experience and exposure, it was not written for my target audience. Perhaps I had been too specific in my search. I changed tack again and searched on “702010 outline” +for “middle managers”. Interestingly, while Google found no search results for this term it automatically searched without the quotation marks and brought back 9 results.
The second item, 50 suggestions for implementing 702010 (5), was a blog post by Jay Cross, an authoritative source on this topic. The post referred to quantitative research by the Corporate Leadership Council that identified three management practices that significantly improved performance. I had seen this research quoted in more detail previously and recalled it contained useful information.
Google Advanced Search
Before I move on to validating content, it is worth noting that the Google Advanced Search page could have been a quicker alternative to constructing powerful searches. However, it was valuable to learn the mechanics of refining searches by going through the manual exercise described above.
Validating Online Content
While Jay Cross is a credible source on informal learning and 702010 I wanted more detail so followed a hyperlink from his post that I thought would take me to the original research. While it was a document from the research organisation, it did not contain the referenced research. At this point it became more important to me to validate the content, ensuring that it was accurate, authoritative and current.
Searching on the report title led me to three further secondary sources quoting the research including Charles Jennings and the 702010 Forum. I now had three sources I knew to be authoritative discussing the research conclusions consistently, and two sources providing the same detailed findings. Even so, I wanted to increase my confidence that the content had been interpreted / reported accurately so added the name of the research organisation to the report title in the search. While unable to access the full report I did find a presentation by the Corporate Leadership Council with enough information to cross-check the secondary sources.
So, although I couldn’t access the ‘members only’ original report from the Corporate Leadership Council, I was satisfied with the validity of the data available from other sources and had enough detail to effectively communicate with middle managers about what they could do to effectively improve performance of their team members.