There is a familiar cycle for the way that many L&D teams operate in corporate organisations. The common recipe includes:

1. The organisation hasn't defined the role and priority of 'learning'; (i.e. to accelerate change, move the work culture, improve individual and team performance, enable the business strategy)
2. The L&D team (who are unable to influence the'Why?') get stuck as reactive training order takers
3. Ideas get watered down through rounds of 'pleasing the teacher' meetings resulting in 'Learning programs' and 'Learning solutions'; (interchangeable words for ease of political passage)
4. 'Learning programs' are a drain on time / costs / interest for everyone; (especially for 'busy people' on the 'front line' doing the 'real work')
5. Measurement of benefits from 'Learning programs' is difficult / negligible / hard to keep people's attention on
6. As the work performance improvements weren't clearly defined, leaders don't take any collective responsibility
7. 'L&D' (the "experts") take the blame. (But round we go again)

Where there is a desire to break this cycle, some alternative questions for L&D and business leaders could include:

1. Do we want absolute alignment of our business strategy, the actual work to be done and a commitment to continuous learning to enable and accelerate it?

If "No", continue as above.

If "Yes", continue with the following questions below:

2. Are we all focused on performance improvement (not just 'training')?
3. Does our learning strategy tackle the conditions, the measures and the rewards for continuous learning (as well as the resources)?
4. Does our learning strategy help improve the ability to move knowledge, ideas and solutions faster across the organisation?
5. Does our learning strategy support better performance for the way people work and create value today (i.e. improving compliance, increasing speed, reducing risks, minimising mistakes) and encouraging ideas and opportunities that will create value in the organisation in the future?
6. Are we all committed to improving the effectiveness of our 'L&D' investments; (the team, it's external partnerships, the learning technology strategy)?

Paul helps corporate L&D teams to break the circle and think differently about what might be possible.


  1. Learning programmes/learning solutions/ learning interventions...we have them all!

    For me everything that we ever create as learning the 'expert learning people' should start and end with point 5. Does our learning strategy and subsequent output, support performance and add value. Not only for where the business is now but for where we want it to be in 5/10 years from now. If we can say yes to this then we will have a stronger case for when we have those 'pleaseing the teacher' meetings.


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