Magazine article Talent Development

Tools of the Trade: The Ultimate Development Toolbox Will Help Any Training and Development Team to Design Effective Learning Programs

Magazine article Talent Development

Tools of the Trade: The Ultimate Development Toolbox Will Help Any Training and Development Team to Design Effective Learning Programs

Article excerpt

Delivering business results while contributing to the skill development and career management of others is my biggest thrill as a training and development (T&D) professional. As business leaders who focus on the "people" part of the business, development is our noble cause and solemn obligation. Having a reputation for helping your organization build a deep talent bench is the biggest differentiator between good T&D teams and great ones.

Four key tools

After years of using dozens of different development tools as a leader in the military, academia, business, and government, I have stitched together the best-of-the-best into what I call The Ultimate Development Toolbox. We use it at Johnsonville Sausage to create a powerful development process. It increases our effectiveness as a T&D team because it dramatically increases the likelihood that people will successfully advance their skills and careers.

These tools are well-known to the T&D community, and using them together creates an almost airtight commitment to development. The result is that your business leaders will develop a deep talent bench and retain their best, most engaged teammates. It also will earn your T&D team a reputation for effectively building future leaders. The tools are

* Robert Brinkerhoff's Impact Map

* Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson's performance support concept of the Five Moments of Learning Need

* The Center for Creative Leadership's (CCL) 70-20-10 model of learning

* VitalSmarts's Six Sources of Influence model.

Connect learning to business results

The 2009 Corporate Leadership Council's engagement study found that when highpotential employees understand the link between their work and the organization's strategy, they put in 40 percent more effort. No tool creates a line of sight between learning and business results better than Brinkerhoff's Impact Map, which he describes in High Impact Learning.

At Johnsonville Sausage, we teach our coaches (leaders at Johnsonville are all called coaches) to use Impact Maps as a development tool with their members (all employees are called members) before members begin certain learning programs. Doing so helps them connect what they will learn in the program to the improved behaviors they should be able to demonstrate on the job. It then connects those behaviors to the immediate business results that the team or business unit should realize based on that member's increased performance.

Finally, it connects those improved team results to the company's highest level metrics. Even if the company is large, complex, and global, it is vital to connect the dots between what that individual must learn, the improved on-the-job behaviors, the resulting improved team results, and the organization's benefit.

Only 10 percent to 15 percent of typical nontechnical learning gets converted into measurable, improved business results. But Brinkerhoff's research found--and my experience at Johnsonville supports--that 80 percent to 90 percent of employees and managers who work together to create an effective Impact Map will convert learning into measurably improved results.

Our organizational development and learning team also uses Impact Maps as an engagement tool with internal customers who ask us to develop learning. The development of an Impact Map is the first step in diagnosing what role (if any) formal learning might play in solving the business problem.

Developing an Impact Map does take time and effort, however. Internal clients who are unwilling to collaborate in developing an Impact Map as the first step are telling us that they do not value us as business partners. We are empowered to engage them in a candid, respectful conversation about our process, and de-prioritize projects that do not begin with a fully developed Impact Map.

Develop learning for all five moments

The work that Mosher, Ontuitive's global learning evangelist, has done with Gottfredson in the area of performance support opened my eyes to the Five Moments of Learning Need (as described in Innovative Performance Support: Strategies and Practices for Learning in the Workflow). …

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