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15th March 2018 - CRF @ Pearson


Great session again, thanks to Gillian of CRF for presenting her research into learning, great content and great discussion.

The agenda items discussed were on:

  • Business capabilities - aligning our work

  • Learning culture

Business Capabilities

How do we as Talent/ L&D professionals work with Business Leaders to define and articulate the critical business capabilities that we need to execute business/functional strategy and maintain competitive advantage? (assuming a business/functional strategy exists!

  • There was some discussion (and differing views) about the extent to which it is our role to provide Business Leaders with the data/context to help them create a more robust strategy (versus taking the business/functional strategy as being robust and the conversation being used to explore the risks and opportunities around people capability). There’s probably no right answer – it will be organisation-, structure-, and relationship-dependent.

  • There was broad agreement on:-

  • The need to phrase questions, and nudge leaders, to think about the future, not their “here and now” fires that are burning.

  • We can use a range of techniques – critical incident technique, card sorts, etc, to help them refine their thinking.

  • We can use a range of techniques e.g. external speakers, “naïve” questioning, to disrupt their thinking.

  • We can stimulate reflection and continuous improvement by asking Business Leaders “What do you need to be more confident in defining and articulating this?”

  • We can work with our business strategy teams (if we have one) to get greater insight around future business challenges and define a number “big bucket themes” that can then be tested/ explored/ expanded in discussion with Business Leaders.

  • Bear in mind that some leaders may be blind to some issues – there may be areas that they don’t know that they don’t know. This may be tied to their personal capability/preferences/working styles?? e.g. Digital Leadership

Learning Culture

  1. Recruiting people with learning agility is important, so selecting people based on their ability to learn can bring in a group of people to act as Change Agents in the organisation. We discussed the need to be honest with these people, explaining that we’d like them to be part of the change and that they may not yet see the behaviours we’re promoting across the organisation. We also discussed the need to recruit a group of leaders with learning agility to ensure those recruited do not replicate existing behaviours and adopt the organisation’s existing learning culture

  2. Pearson ran an internal learning campaign called #nolimits all about taking control of your own learning, and learning from your network

  3. We discussed the need to build the ability to reflect, and for the whole organisation to understand how critical taking time out to reflect is to the learning process

  4. One organisation encouraged managers to ask the their teams the question ‘how could you do this 10% better next time?’

  5. We discussed the importance of internal campaigns not being seen as an ‘L&D thing’ being done ‘to’ someone. One organisation launched a ‘be more’ campaign by their CEO through lots of different channels

  6. One key area to get right, to make this work, is to articulate the business imperative of continuous learning. Understanding why it will make the organisation better and defining the business driver for it will help others see the priority (i.e. innovation, adaptability, improved wellbeing, etc)

  7. Sharing stories of when it works well is key

  8. One organisation used live projects from around the organisation to challenge staff to take part in action learning and justify the time for people to make part

  9. Part of learning agility is the ability to unlearn and challenge assumptions, but we discussed the need for everyone to realise that they are already doing ‘self service’ and ‘self learning’ in life outside of work, so it should be second nature

  10. We discussed approaches to learning at work week (in May) including sessions on social media presence, personal brand, networking, peer coaching etc. One organisation assigns senior leaders as part of a talent programme to lead learning at work week.

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