"Tactics without a strategy is a scrum.
What's the long term plan?
What builds on what?
How do you build assets and leverage instead of merely keeping busy?
And how can you tell if its working?"

Seth Godin

Many organisations need support with leadership, choices, structure and clarity. Here are some examples where "L&D" can choose to step up and ask new questions:

How does the organisation uniquely create value in its chosen market?

Which "capabilities" enable the organisation to do what it does better than anyone else?

What kind of learning environment can support the development of these capabilities?

How can L&D help leaders to develop the frameworks and commitment that enables the right kind of learning environment?

If these kinds of questions still aren't urgent for L&D now it's safe to say they probably are "too busy...".

Paul works with L&D leaders and teams who have chosen to move from managing to leading
"We know this. The people in these teams need to know this too. When (if) they do, they can do what we need to be done".

And so, the whole "Learning" industry superstructure (tactics, tools, resources, courses, technologies, measurement frameworks, vendors) is still built on this one, industrial hierarchical idea of what we think "Learning" is for.

"Just get the workers to do what we need them to do".

Paul helps organisations and L&D teams to realise that what's needed is more leadership (not management).
Learning means change - for individuals, for leaders, for teams and for organisations. Change work is by definition leadership work; shifting the culture, bringing new perspectives, connecting people and their ideas.

"L&D" started from a different place of course. "L&D" was a tool for Management, a small cog in the bureaucracy. Maintaining and ensuring the system and reinforcing the status quo. The role and objective of workplace learning was to scale the levels of compliance required to ensure efficiency. Helping the operating model to run, keeping the corporate boat on its predetermined course fuelled by fixed skills and processes.

Business leaders and L&D are understandably wrestling with the depth and rate of disruption of these traditional hierarchy led structures. Business models can no longer rely on production and supply chain efficiency as value no longer means only costs and price. The new platforms for business growth and sustainability (rep…
According to the Havard Business Review 2018 "Leaders Guide to Corporate Culture" only 7% of the 1,300 CEOs interviewed were intentionally developing a culture of continuous learning.

The remaining 93% confirmed that a culture of "Results focus" remained their number one or number two objective...

This crushing insight presents a stark survival choice for 'L&D' teams stuck in a (supposedly) "Results focus" organisational culture:

Option 1

"If you can't convince them, join them"

Continue to work to convince busy senior people who are striving their way to the "Results" first culture desired by their boss that L&D are also in fact "all about results, just like you". They can rest assured that we have the "resources", "platforms", and "methodologies" that can definitely "help". 

In short, be on hand to take requests for "solutions" that "ensure" that "…
"If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail"

A long held criticism of 'L&D' is that it is "full of solutions looking for a problem". This often links to an inability to reflect the business context within which they are trying to facilitate change.

Some helpful questions to understand the context and cultural norms in an organisation could include:

How do people describe "high performance" around here?

How is the performance gap(s) to be tackled articulated?

What is the nature of the work to be improved? 'Standardised, repeatable' work?; 'Complex' work?; 'Discovery' work?

Are we currently a 'learning organisation'? If yes, then why and how?

How easily and quickly do information and ideas move around the organisation?

How low in the organisation's team structure can decisions be made?

How important is compliance and efficiency to the organisation?

How outward looking is the organisation for idea…
"Leadership is about doing the right things ... Management is about doing things right"

Here's my list of L&D leadership and, L&D management thinking:

L&D leads when it:

Helps leaders to understand and engage with the features and benefits of a continuous learning culture;

Defines the role and the priority of learning for the organisation;

Collaborates to agree the capabilities required to execute the business strategy; (not, just individual skills for individual jobs);

Works with team managers to coach and support them to lead and role model a continuous learning culture;

Facilitates new and better connections within and across business teams and functions;

Creates opportunities for the organisation to look outside itself, to grow its networks and to find new ideas and opportunities;

Enables and accelerates new ways for individuals and teams to share their own continuous learning;

Measures success by the quality of its partnerships;

Leads and operate beyond …
"Strategy is turning the resources you have into the power you need, to win the change you want."

Marshall Ganz

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."

Lewis Carrroll

I believe the biggest challenge facing the 'L&D' industry is to define the change it actually wants to make in the world.

For work. For organisations. For leaders. For teams. For individual workers.

What's the context?
What are the problems to solve?
What are the strategic choices?
What impact will we make?

The default 'L&D' narrative remains focused on training delivery, operations and logistics. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow seems to be affirmation and acceptance from the industrialists. The overriding objective? - to land contributions to 'business critical' projects.

Seemingly, there is little ambition beyond reinforcing the 'on time / on budget / on spec.' mindset required by status quo organisational syste…