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Proving the Value of Your L&D Department - a Conversation With Don Taylor & Rachel Hutchinson

Nihal Salah
Aug 04 2020

How do you feel when a business leaders asks your L&D team to create a course to solve a problem that has (presumably) been assessed? 🤦🏽‍♀️

You know the course isn't the solution. Yet again, your team has been invited to the conversation as an afterthought. 

But let's face it - until you can articulate the value L&D brings to the business, you're going to continue to be asked to join the party late.

You'll go round and round on that content creation treadmill, churning out courses in response to the demands of business leaders.



So how do you change how L&D works with the business? How do you take the lead and become proactive in addressing business needs and proving the value of your team? 

We Asked the Pros

We reached out to Don Taylor and Rachel Hutchinson to find the answer.  

Don Taylor is the Chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute and author of the book: Learning Technologies in the Workplace: How to Successfully Implement Learning Technologies in Organizations

Rachel Hutchinson is the Director of Learning and Development at Hilti and a long-time Fuse customer. She recently authored two chapters in the book Leading the Learning Function.

Rachel and Don recently joined us for a webinar and in this 👇 episode, you’ll hear the recording of that conversation. 

Rachel tells the story of how she and her team transformed learning and development at Hilti to become truly business focused and consistently add measurable value to the business. 

Our Favourite Parts of the Conversation

  • [05:30] Don Taylor "One of the things a lot of L&D folks tell me is, they want to change what I do, but they can't get off the treadmill of deliver, deliver, deliver. Everywhere I go in the world, people are on what I call the content production treadmill."
  • [07:30] Rachel Hutchinson "We had to broaden our minds to really consider the full landscape of the business. And that was a fundamental change because it meant that we were going to have to work very differently."
  • [09:30] Rachel Hutchinson "So one of the things that that we had to change was the mindset in our team and that North Star was the start of it, but then we needed to realise that we were change management agents."
  • [11:15] Rachel Hutchinson "Where we were before in L&D was we would try to make the change for them [the business] and then we would drop it as a package in their lap. And obviously, they weren't on that journey with us at that point."

Links We Love

Say hello 👋 to Don and Rachel on LinkedIn

Check out these books 📚



*There’s a chance this transcript has a few spelling errors. I use a wonderful transcription tool called Otter . He's usually super accurate but he does get the odd word wrong. But please don’t hold it against him 😊.

[Rachel Hutchinson]   0:15  

Thank you, Don. It's always nice to speak with you. But especially today , I've had the pleasure to share in the past months, a little bit of about how or what we did with our learning strategy. And today I want to really kind of talk a little bit more about how we adapted the L&D team. So it certainly was not me by myself. 

Our global learning team worked for several years to get to where we are today. And I'll talk a little bit just about who Hilti is for those of you who may be less familiar with us. We're a little over 75 years old. We are privately held. We are a global organisation. I would say that we have a couple of maybe unique challenges, in that we operate in a direct sales force in the construction industry in about 120 countries and in 34 languages. So that means learning and development obviously is decentralised and localised. What I would like to ask, just so we can gear the conversation as close to your needs as possible, if you would share in the chat window some of the challenges that you have, and I'll go through and share some of the ones that we've had at L&D. And I think we'll find some correlations and hopefully then I can focus in on some of the points that are most critical to you.

[Don Taylor]  1:53  

Rachel, thanks for that. Really looking forward to getting the answers to this. It pretty much wherever I go. When I'm talking to people I'm interested in asking this question, dealing with stakeholders, because after all, it's by dealing with the stakeholders that we can align to the business and without dealing with them, then we really don't know what it is that the business wants. But while people are just thinking about their answers and typing them into the chat window, and don't forget to send to all panellists and attendees, we've got some answers coming through already. Do you just want to quickly give us an idea, Rachel, when you say stakeholders, what does that mean? After all, not everybody on the call, necessarily as a native English speaker?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   2:33  

Perfect. Yes. And actually, I think you know, it's funny that you asked that because we do have that conversation internally a lot. Sometimes we think of stakeholders as only the top management people in our organisations and things along those lines. For us stakeholders really means all the way across the chain. So it's anyone who is involved in potential learning solutions. That can be somebody at top management who is requesting some changes to be made to the performance in the organisation, that can be the learner who actually experiences it. Or it could be other affected departments or parties across the organisation. For us, they're always internal. We don't typically have external stakeholders at Hilti. Because we are privately held and we, you know, obviously L&D is only done for our internal team members.

[Don Taylor]  3:28  

That's pretty good. And I think, Rachel, you've hit a really important point there, which is that very often, don't we think of stakeholders as being the people at the top, but it is everybody who is affected by or who might affect an implementation of some training in dimensional learning intervention. So it's actually pretty wide ranging, and indeed, it could extend outside the organisation. 

Please don't forget to send all panellists and attendees. 

Rachel, we got some answers coming back already. Faye is saying and I think this is something you recognise. They just want a course to fix something that's more than just training itself in the case, isn't it? We know that performance is a function of many things, including, yes ability, but also motivation and the environment. But people very often fix on training as the way to get through something. 

SAF says our challenge is the inability for stakeholders to commit time to L&D due to the time they spend with the client on consulting projects. Time constraints a huge one. 

And Faye again, business is very short termism and they aren't goal or outcome oriented. 

So there's a series of different issues there, Rachel which you may recognise, short termism, the inability to commit time, and also the way things are structured, that things aren't structured to give people any incentive to go and build capabilities. 

David's saying one of the things a lot of L&D folks tell me is, they want to change what I do, but they can't get off the treadmill of deliver, deliver, deliver. David, that is not news, everywhere I go in the world, people aren't what I call the content production treadmill. That's exactly the word they use. 

Racquel to L&D, non L&D groups, trying to create their own homegrown systems that don't realise could be outsourced.  

Sara's coming stakeholders come to L&D with a solution already in mind. I bet we've got a bunch of people nodding their heads. These are all really familiar issues. Somebody comes in and in a half day time management course for my people. It's got to be an E-learning solution. No, that's not what you need. Trust me, I'm a learning specialist. Rachel, Does this sound familiar to you? Are these some of the challenges that you faced?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   5:48  

It definitely is. You know, I think I was smiling through the whole thing because so many of those sound like exactly where we came from. My boss often referred to the repair shop, you know, saying that it seemed like people were trying to send people into the repair shop. So that one especially hit home, the piece of where people come in and think that they already know what the solution is, you know, you're never going to get away from that challenge. 

What we found was that when we changed the way we worked, we kind of stopped talking about our support of onboarding. We stopped talking about, you know, how we were developing our leaders or our sales functional expertise. And we had to broaden our minds to really consider the full landscape of the business. And that was, I think, a fundamental change because it meant that we were going to have to work very differently. And you can see that in the wording in here. We start out at the very top was saying performance and competence. So we're not just where we want to talk to you about how you're performing in the business. We're actively looking out across the we're not waiting for things just to come to us but really actively looking out across. We intentionally put in the word co-create, because this doesn't just come from us in in the delivering experience, we say we partner with the business because we want to make sure that this repair shop mentality is completely gone, that we're not seen as a place where you're going to send somebody or something and expect that you're just getting back this fixed package or repaired car.

[Don Taylor]  7:48   

I think this is absolutely the right messaging. Who's this for? Is it for the business, is it for learning and development?

[Rachel Hutchinson]  7:59  

so we made this for ourselves. We actually share it openly, though. So it's not hidden. Although we are a virtual team, we do have physical locations in some situations. So like in our headquarters office, this is actually up on the wall for anyone who comes through. They can see this, you know, and we're not too shy. I would say we maybe do a better job talking externally than we do talking internally. But we're not too shy. So I think it's relatively well known that we have a North Star of course this is now Oh, goodness, almost three years old. So it also isn't something that happened overnight. 

[Don Taylor]

Sure, sure. 

[Rachel Hutchinson]

So one of the things that that we had to change was really the mindset in our team and that North Star was the start of it, but then we needed to realise that we were change management agents and if we wanted to change the performance of the organisation, we had to help the organisation go through the changes and this relatively simple model shows that we had to first ensure that we started having the conversations with stakeholders about where we are as a department, as an organisation, depending on who's coming to us or who were talking with. The scope of that may be bigger or smaller. And we needed to make sure that, that vision, we really helped them paint a picture of what the future is going to look like. So we don't let it be esoteric, we don't let it be something that is not, we have them really detail it out. So what exactly is this going to look like six months from now what will you see that's different? Walk me through a day that is six months in the future. And by doing that, you ensure that they really understand what it is they're trying to accomplish, and you can help get them to that point, we also found that we have to make sure it's not just coming from us. So I mentioned co-creation and partnering on on the previous slide, we need to make sure that a full business team is in place and our role in learning and development is more to equip them to make the required change. So we can't make the change for them. We can't do it without them. 

And that middle section is something that I often see and it was where we were before in L&D was we would try to make the change for them and then we would drop it as a package in their lap. and obviously, they weren't on that journey with us at that point. The last thing that's on the screen, the finish part is ensuring that it's owned as close to the point of need as possible. So that champion environment can really make or break any change management effort. and this means that that, you know, we have to ensure that it's not just the people who have changed, but really looking at the full ecosystem, the systems, the processes that are affected, can we ensure that those things also change because it's well in good to, you know, get people moving in a certain direction. But then if the ecosystem doesn't support that, if it's not supported at the next level up of management, if it's not supported by an IT system, whatever it happens to be, those supports have to be in there and in places well.

[Don Taylor]  11:41  

Rachel, I love this. It is a tremendously simple, clear and powerful way of describing change management in organisation and I wish I'd had this nine point set before I introduced my six point system of introducing learning technologies into an organisation in my book, which I spent a lot of time thinking about. You could have given me some fantastic shortcuts. There's something you're not mentioning here, which is how do you get the skills in your team to ask the questions and have the ability to deliver against this, that C column? How do you get the moxie to go and have conversations with stakeholders where you ask the right questions, and you don't take the passive or to take a role, but you're not aggressive, but you're going out as a business partner. How'd you do that?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   12:32  

That was not an overnight journey. We definitely worked at that for a while. So I have to say there were several partners who helped us so much with that. When we were in the process of working on our learning strategy, we worked with SeaSalt Learning, which is based in the UK to kind of look at what were some of the barriers that existed in our culture and in our organisation. We also worked with the 70:20:10 Institute, who came in and ran a full year of programmes with us for different levels in the organisation, to help us really understand how we could be those people, and today so that we can continue that journey, we use our L&D Fuse community, which I've put up here on the screen so that everyone can see it. And here, we really give people all the tools that they need. So they can see on the left hand side, down to even things like which project documents should I use, I'm brand new to this, I'm not sure what to do with it. Or they can see more of the higher level things such as the lifecycle, understanding what type of 70:20:10 Solutions might be needed, how long that might take things along those lines. And then really getting into the details because of the structures there, it means that we have a consistent approach even for people who are brand new to the team. And or say you get a, you know, you happen to be in an informal conversation, and you hear something and you're like, Oh, well now by putting this right on the Fuse platform, it's easy to update. It's easy to search for. It's easy to access that removes the ‘I can't find the latest version barrier’, or it removes the ‘I didn't have time to look for the form’. And it really means that no matter how experienced you are, you can quickly grab the form, answer the questions, and carry on those conversations. Now what we ask is we do ask that the forms aren't just sent. So that is one of the statements that we always say is, you know, don't just send the form out to them. But use the form to guide the conversation that you're having. You can take notes on it. If you like paper, you can print it out. It's there, all electronic forms as well. So that allows you somebody to come into the team and really be able to be comfortable asking those questions. And I think that's absolutely critical because the minute you feel uncomfortable or unsure, now you start exhibiting less than professional behaviours, and then people lose confidence in you. And now you're already affecting the change curve, unintentionally, but you're already affecting it in a negative way. 

[Don Taylor] 15:54

I love this idea that the process is here and it's extremely well supported, as you've shown here, but you absolutely recognise that the process gives people the confidence to go out and represent the department in the right way.

What happened right at the beginning, can I ask you that, you didn't have all this in place, so the first time you had the conversation did it all go swimmingly? What happened?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   16:06  

It didn't. and you know, and it was kind of funny. We actually built these….

[Don Taylor]  16:10  

If these questions are uncomfortable, feel free, feel free not to answer them. But yeah, What happened?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   16:16  

No. So the interesting thing was that we didn't have these forms to start with. We had the project process overview, the first three items, we had most of those things identified as to how we wanted to work. Everything else we've built as we've gone, and the way we built it was, you know, I would be taking notes while I was having conversations with some of the stakeholders, and I realised I'm asking a lot of the same questions over and over again. So I just started kind of keeping a little notebook, an electronic notebook of the questions that I was asking and noticing the variations in the differences. Well, you know, somebody would join the team and they'd be like, having to have their first conversation. I'm like, oh, here, you can just use my notes and that'll help you guide your conversation. And between that and hiring an excellent project manager. I think those two things kind of came together and said, Okay, let's create the structure here that allows us to have any person who needs to do this easily able to run through and accomplish that. And that led to the ‘which project document should I use?’ Because obviously, you know, for something that is a relatively small, short term project, you don't necessarily need to go through all of the things that you might go through with a major change initiative in the organisation.

[Don Taylor]  17:56  

Absolutely. And I think very often learning and development sandals itself with the idea that you have to use the same process for everything. No, You don't? Of course not as you very rightly said, Sorry to throw that curveball question at you, Rachel.

[Rachel Hutchinson]   18:10  

No, it's a great question. It's absolutely a great question. I think the next thing that, you know, we had to implement and this we learned the hard way also, is that we needed clear sign off points. So this means with different stakeholders depending on who's responsible for those areas, there may be a different person signing off. So before we ever agree that we'll take on a project. We have a go no go ourselves. So we first look and say, is the root cause of the specific performance issue, something that can be solved at least in part with a learning and development solution? And then we say is it something Which we can prioritise high enough in order to get resources from our team. So that's kind of gate zero before we go any further, we look at that piece. 

Everything after that point, requires a sign off either from a stakeholder or from a steering team to ensure that there is clear alignment. 

Remember when I said in the move phase, we've got to make sure the whole team is aligned and headed in the same direction or the finish won't happen. And so these milestones really let us take a look at and see Is there something that needs to be changed or adapted throughout. The reason I say we learned this the hard way is because we actually did not use to require any type of formal sign off, we are a pretty informal company, we all know each other, things along those lines. But what happened was we would find scope creep occurring. So that we would end up where we were, you know, trying to create a solution for something which the scope had changed six times. Or we would think that we had agreed upon, you know, who were our most critical personas or audiences that were being focused upon. And then partway through you would find another group was being added or you know, most frequently I think, for us was we weren't communicating broadly enough and far enough in advance we run sprint projects, so we break everything into about 12 weeks sprints. And a lot can happen in 12 weeks of misunderstandings across the organisation, that can be something like a misunderstanding about translations that are required. And  you know, in a 12 week phase, you've just lost three months for translating a solution, which then is going to affect your rollout plan. Those types of things were occurring. And that's why we're now adding in this point, we've just added this in 2019. That we do have each of these gates signed off on. 

[Don Taylor]  21:31 

So Rachel, can I ask a couple of questions? Actually, I'd like to ask one to the audience. First of all, everyone in the room to me I've seen over 20 years I've seen a lot of implementations of training programmes. I've seen exactly what Rachel's talking about. scope creep in particular, but things just get bigger than they should be or they move. Can I ask everyone in the audience? Let us know your feedback in the chat zone? Does this look over engineered to you? Does it look right to you? Would you feel confident using a series of gateways like this in your organisation? to approve the different change points in a project. And if anybody's got any content, I'd love to have some feedback on that. For me, it looks absolutely fantastic, Rachel, to you. Again, I'm going to ask a question about people because processes are great. We know the technology super. And this has got great project management all over it. But what about pushback? Do people say to you, but no, you're the training department. You're just supposed to do this stuff. Was there an expectation in the beginning that you were just you would naturally jump through the hoops for people? Was there a pushback against this?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   22:33  

Definitely, there definitely was a pushback. And the funny part, though, is that some of the people who push the hardest in the beginning are now our biggest fans because they see the benefit of having the ownership inside their own teams. They see that their solutions are much more aligned to the actual need, and that their solutions are much more accepted by their people because they're coming from people who have expertise in the various topics, as opposed to coming from an L&D team that, you know, we we transfer people in and out of our team pretty frequently from the business to try to keep really in touch. But nonetheless, 18 months out of sales is a completely different environment than what you experienced the day to day challenges of the sales team and the work with the customers. So, I think it's a manner of realising that, number one, we don't send them this document. This is an internal only document for us to  know where we are. So in no way do we ever say to them, Look, you're going to have to go through seven gates with us to make it happen. What we do is instead, you know, after we have and I'll run through an example of this so you can see it, we get the request, after we get the request, we ask questions, we come up with a project charter, we go to them and we say, Okay, here's what I've understood. And this normally happens over the course of I mean, it can even happen within one day. So it's not like we're extending the time by any means, but we go to them and we say, this is what I understood. Did I understand you correctly? And are we headed the right direction? I would say 100% of the time, we've now had really positive feedback, where they look at the charter and they're like, Oh, no, you misunderstood me here. or actually, you know what, now that I see it in writing, I would say we need to focus more in this area or this KPI is not going to tell us what we actually wanted to see. So I think that we have to make sure that these are not the kind of documents that you take and show to your stakeholders or make them realise that all of these things actually have to happen. Because there's nothing in here that doesn't need to occur for a learning solution to take place. They just may not need to know all of that level of detail about what has to occur for a solution to to be implemented in the organisation.

[Don Taylor]  25:31  

I love the idea that most ardent critics very often and this is the case they become your most positive supporters because they're the people most invested, that's why they were criticising. Win them over, they become really strong advocates for you. And I love the idea that people are looking at this and saying, actually now it's in black and white. Yeah, would you have to change it? How would that happen? I know in the work I do. It happens a lot to getting it down to black and white makes a huge difference. 

I got great feedback from David Fay and Gena, I love the idea. But I wonder how it works for business now stuff. So suppose you've got something that's really urgent, do you go through all these steps? Or do you have a different process? Rachel.

[Rachel Hutchinson]   26:10  

We use the same steps, they may go more quickly than otherwise, but so things that are super urgent for example, and the reason for this is because quite often people come with things that are super urgent. But if you don't understand what is the root cause problem?, you can't help them fix it. And I think that's the critical piece is that when somebody comes to me with something, and they say, this is really urgent, you know, we have to make this change immediately because we're seeing people fail and I'll just take a really generic soft skills kind of thing to say, you know, we're doing product word presentations, and everybody is doing awful. I mean, none of the presentations are being approved. And so we need a presentation skills class. Well, we could, of course, offer them a presentation skills class. But then what's the problem? If you actually find out that there's a misalignment between the product board reviewers, setting the expectations for what is supposed to be discussed during that product board? presentation skills isn't going to help that at all. So that's why it's really important to understand and start at that step zero. What is the root cause of what we're trying to correct? because in that case, it's absolutely not a presentation skills issue. It's an understanding between the product board and the presenters of what are the expectations, that's just a communication issue. We may find other issues as well. But we certainly shouldn't start by thinking that people are incapable of doing their job.

[Don Taylor]  27:57  

And for me, when people say it's a presentation course we need or as a time management course, those are two big red flags and say no, there's something else.

[Rachel Hutchinson]  28:07  

I'll just quickly run through because I mentioned this a little bit that these are just the types of things that we use to guide the conversations. Now, then we have our people still mail it back so that we have it in one location. And the reason for that is because then we store these things in case we find that we get multiple requests. So say a learning business partner fills this out and then sends it into our mailbox. And another learning business partner from another area of the business also does this. Now we've got a common location where these things come in together, so that we can ensure that we're not working on different things. This was important to us because we do have an entrepreneurial spirit inside Hilti which means that quite often things run without layers of management approval, etc. and so that's why we put that in place so that things could move very, very quickly without having to necessarily have all of these managers sign offs and everything. And this is really just like a very initial conversation that might occur with people where we look at it, and we kind of say, okay, you know, here are things that we can see that are occurring in different areas of the business, we could actually combine these into a larger project that would affect more of the organisation. 

We take this form and then we start with what we call is a Project Discovery Guide and that's where we look at the business challenges, where we want to be and then kind of start looking at what are the things that influence that environment, that situation? So I could be looking at something like sales, for example, if I'm looking at a sales challenge, and it's taking us too long to get to key decision makers, so the challenge is that I'm not getting to key decision makers and I'm not converting enough of my meetings with decision makers into sales. So I could then say, I now need to look at it and say the current performance is it takes 10 visits, even find out who the decision maker for this topic is and then another two to get to him. Our desired performance is that within two visits, we know who is the key decision maker, and we still give ourselves those two more visits to get into that decision maker. So we're being very specific now about what is the performance that is there today and what is the performance we want to achieve? Does that make sense so far?

[Don Taylor]  31:06  

Yeah, it totally does. And I like the emphasis on the decision maker and this whole discovery phase. You know, generally Rachel, not just in learning development, but certainly the field, we tend to jump straight to solution. And we admit the discovery phase all together which means you produce a great solution for the wrong problem. This is crucial.

[Rachel Hutchinson]   31:28  

Exactly, exactly. So then we have to say, Okay, so now I have got to also look at what are the things that influence that. So there's a lot of things that could influence it. In this case, it could be system information, we could have bad information inside our CRM system. It could be that we have not clearly identified the right parts of the organisation to focus on with our sales goals. But we need to know that before we start jumping into the next phase, and the next phase is where we now actually look at the project charter. 

So this is where all the information we gathered in that discovery phase comes together into one document that says, here's our purpose, here's what we want to achieve and here are the KPIs that we will use to ensure that we have actually achieved it. This is critical because if you don't know what those KPIs are then you can’t design a solution for it, but you can't test your solution against those KPIs. And that's kind of where we were in the past is we were in a situation where we would design a solution, but then people might say, okay, the solution still doesn't work. Well, it worked for what we understood the need was, but because we didn't have agreed on those KPIs, we maybe were had a misunderstanding about what success was and then as I mentioned earlier, this is signed by the project sponsor. So that we are sure with them and with us. So the whole team is on the exact same page about what it is we're trying to achieve. This is not the ‘how we're going to achieve it’. This is the ‘what’. And I think that's maybe a critical thing to note is that we don't get into how we will achieve the success at this phase. This is simply what you and I on the same page on the same topic.

[Don Taylor]  33:29  

Rachel, I just want to quickly say, Rachel, I know we've got more stuff to get through. I just want to say that charter for me is gold dust, and I think every Learning and Development department should be using one. And at the end. If we've got time for Q&A, I can ask you questions around, how do you get to the stage where you feel confident to get through to that?. 

David says I love the discovery phase. I think it's absolutely right. It's something that is important. What you've done is articulate it in black and white and made it a tool that you can then use to guide the project and you get the sign off from stakeholders. It's all black and white. Everyone knows where they're going. We know what good looks like.

[Rachel Hutchinson]   34:10  

Exactly, exactly. And I think, you know, we talked a lot about this, you know, making sure people were on the same page. And that's why I wanted to get into a couple of the next slides because it looks complicated. It's really not. I mean, the whole thing is we simply put our stakeholders into these four areas. Some people have high power, but they have low interest, but then we have people with high power and high interest who are going to require a lot more communication with. We need to make sure that we know who fits into those boxes, so that we communicate with them appropriately and that communication doesn't come from one person. So I think and there's no need to read all the bullets on this really, the purpose of this slide is simply to show that there is a shared responsibility that different people across the whole team are responsible to provide information, are responsible to initiate communications, are responsible to receive communications. And we make sure that these roles and responsibilities are known inside the project team. And that removed one of the biggest barriers that we had, which was that we weren't communicating often enough to the right people. And I think that it was probably one of our absolute key learnings that we had to make, was that you can't have one person responsible for communication and think that it will occur. And so we have, I mean, it's really it's just a spreadsheet. It's an excel file, so after you do your mapping, who are you going to communicate to, why are you communicating to them, how often do you need to do that and this is also where we end up realising that it doesn't always go smoothly. So this is not taking all of the problems away from your project by any means. If I look at this specific one, what it does is it gives you the risks faster. So it lets you understand that if something is going to affect your project, you have a little bit more lead time a little bit more warning about it and you can pick these types of things up because you can say, okay, I communicated with my stakeholders in this case on the first line, I communicated with the stakeholders about our learning approach. And they were not comfortable. So I've now got to step up. So I go add this to the risk register, and say, we've got to step this up. Now the whole team understands that, that's a risk that's been identified from the communication plan. And now everybody can align to that to start helping you in order to ensure that those things are taken care of and hopefully alleviated, but I want to be really clear, it doesn't take away the risk, it just gives you a bit of warning notice. 

[Don Taylor]  37:41  

But also Rachel, to be fair, what you've done here and what a communication plan does, is, it's two things. Firstly, it gives you a map of the territory without it, you have no idea if things are happening or not, that's crucial itself. But the other thing it does, is it gives you a basis for conversation. When you're sitting down very often the value of this is not just the output you get the communication plan. It's also under risk register around it. But it's also the conversation you have that enables you to say, well, hang on who's talking to this person, how we're going to communicate with that particular focus group, and enables you to get to the detail in a formal conversation before something goes wrong. Is that fair enough? 

And David has said, this is a great example, what Charles Jennings discusses in the performance executive and architect roles. As you know, Charles Jennings has, I think, six or seven roles in his 70:20:10 book. And  some people might say, this structure takes away creativity. I disagree. And he says, get it right. The designer comes up with something amazing. I absolutely agree. Rachel, let's get through today. We'll come back to the whole creative question at the end.

[Rachel Hutchinson]  38:47  

Yeah, that is an excellent point, though. Because it does let you come up with and actually it's a perfect segue into the two examples. I have it here at the end. So one this is a specific example about sales where new account managers were not performing in role fast enough. So it was taking quite a long time to kind of pay for the hiring and all of the equipment that goes along with a salesperson in our organisation. 

Now, in our old methodology, what we would have done was we would have immediately started saying, okay, hang on, we either were hiring the wrong people, or potentially, you know, we need to train them more. But what we actually found was that by looking at it from this perspective and thinking about what is the business gap, and where we are trying to get, the solution was far more creative and this was actually done. We initiated this inside our region Asia organisation to start with and they took such a creative approach. They have people doing much of their learning on the job, they started creating opportunities for people to easily and quickly look up information. So by giving them access into their onboarding Fuse community, they could quickly search for demos of a specific tool and watch it in two or three minutes before they walked into a customer site. The things that were key for them to know instead of flooding them with information in an onboarding of three or four weeks of telling them everything they needed to know. They broke it up into gates and said, in this particular time, you need to know this. This is going to make you successful in your role. If you can do these two tasks or these three tasks if you know this set of products And that was a far more creative solution than we would have taken in the past where we would have said, okay, we need to revise our onboarding programme. And we probably would have done something like extend the classroom time. Well, all that's doing is actually increasing your problems. Because the more days you take people out of the field, the less selling they're actually able to do, the less selling they're able to do, the less confidence they have in their ability to sell, the less experience they have. But by taking a separate approach and saying, okay, we actually want you to visit five customers and try to demonstrate these two tools. We want you to visit five customers and we want you to practice asking open questions. We want you to visit five customers and we want you to find out what it would take for this customer to utilise our fleet management service for example. Now they're doing things that are really, you know, in-role, you're increasing their competence and their confidence at the exact same time.

[Don Taylor]  42:12  

Awesome. I love it. I love it. And of course, everything as you extend the classroom time, guess what, you've just made the whole thing much more expensive as well because they're out of work. They're not bringing the cash in. So there's a huge opportunity cost there as well.

[Rachel Hutchinson]  42:25  

Exactly, exactly. And that's an example from sales. I also have one as well for which is brand new. We've just launched this programme in September of last year. But it's how we onboard new team leaders. And we really looked at it and said we had a lot of challenges here, obviously, because we're competing with other organisations for team leads or managers, line managers, and we really needed to make sure that this linked well within our culture, within our leadership model to develop people to achieve outstanding results. And we needed these people because our average time in-role is only 22 months for this population, we needed to focus on short increments where they could be coming up to speed very, very fast. And now it was, I think, another time where we looked at it and we said, okay, hang on, what would be a better way than running them through a Management Development Programme, what would be a better way to ensure that they're in-role effective, and so the creative solution in this case was that we designed a programme a 90 day increments and in every 30 days, they can't have more than 10 tasks and these are not learning tasks. These are business tasks. So these are for example, you need to run a team meeting. And then you have the possibility to link to clear learning assets. In case you don't know how to run a team meeting, but maybe you came in from another organisation, you already know how to run a team meeting, or maybe you've been a team member in team meetings or a facilitator of meetings. So you don't have to learn things that you already know. But you have the opportunity to learn those things that you don't know that you're not bringing with you in your backpack already. And making sure that when you get to the end of your 90 days, you have a specific outcome. So in the case of the first 90 days, you have your plan for your team for the next 90 days. So it's not added on top. It's things which will make you effective on the job. And that's been, I think, the creativity to go back to David's point. That's been the creativity that comes because now, we're not sitting here thinking about how do I find out these things, we're having conversations, we're not thinking about what do I need to know, we already know what we need to know, we've caught it inside our project charter, the types of things we need to know. And it gives you so much more room. And I would say that's the thing that our L&D teams have been most receptive to is, it gives you so much more room to be creative, and you feel like you are really bringing value to the organisation because you're focusing on these clear business goals.

[Don Taylor]  45:49  

Yeah, I've just written a column for Training Journal for next month. That absolutely just echoes what you're saying. 

No, we don't need to measure all these spurious things. The measurements are there. There are the business Goals. Go off to those, when you do that everybody feels, well, they're aligned to the business automatically, because you're using the business metrics. Fantastic.

[Rachel Hutchinson]   46:07  

So that is it from my side? Definitely want to open it up to any questions or?

[Don Taylor]  46:17  

Absolutely got a bunch of questions. So first, I just want to say a big thank you to Rachel, because it's so much there, she makes it look easy, but it's based on hard won experience. And there's a bunch of really practical tools there that I would suggest you can go away and use straight away. And of course, these slides are available and are going to be available from Fuse afterwards. But also, I would ask you on the back of that, Rachel, what do you wish you'd known at the start? What was the major thing? and I don't want to be negative, but what were the stumbling blocks towards getting to this series of processes? where you could be really effective and aligning what you're doing to the business.

[Rachel Hutchinson]  46:57  

You know, I think if I say I don't know if I would have wanted to know things ahead of time because I think we had learned so much more through the experience and the struggles that we go through. I think we had to go through the struggles to buy in because even though we had the vision, I don't think we could have made it to the finish line without some of the struggles that we've gone through. If I had it to do over again, I would take a look at that I'll just pull that back up on the screen so people can see it - instead of learning this through the course of doing it, I probably would have had this up and and had it leading us through the journey. I think that would be maybe the one thing I would do differently. But I do think you still need to go through the struggles. 

[Don Taylor]  48:06  

That was evident Rachel, when you discussed how you would make notes about your conversations, then come back and assess them afterwards, share them with other people. That process of discovering exactly the right questions to ask in the context of Hilti, I think actually is crucial. And I think you're right. It's not like some process you can bolt on. There is a certain amount of learning on the job that L&D itself has to do in imposing it. 

Jen has got a related question. How do you roll out the new process? I'd love to know how long the change took?. So can you give us, just filling out your answer a bit more? How did you do it? And how long did it take?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   48:37  

You know, I think we're still in the change. Because as I mentioned,  we added in the sign off just in 2019. We started the journey in 2016, we had our learning strategy, which is where we got our North Star picture. So that came as early as 2016. And then I would say In 2017, that's when we did most of the work with the 70:20:10 Institute to really understand what the difference was going to be in the way we approached learning solutions. And I know a lot of people look at 70:20:10 and they say, Oh, well, that's just a methodology. But for us, it was really necessary to make the mind shift change from the repair shop to this business consultant, who is co-creating with the organisation. And in addition, of course, you know, the 70:20:10 Institute also provides a lot of documentation and those types of things that help to guide those conversations and ensure that you're not missing things. So we definitely have been highly influenced by that. I think as far as is how we did it. Part of it was we put core teams of people in the journey with us so going back to that, making sure that we had a powerful and capable team in place. Some of that was global L&D people. Some of those were business functions. We have different business functions that were particularly interested or had big business needs at the time. And so we involved those early in 2017. And I think, you know, it's definitely grown because when we looked at the end of last year, we were sort of amazed by the fact we have over 650 people who actively manage Fuse communities so Fuse is our learning platform as a social learning platform, what's called the next gen learning environment, and we have over 650 community managers who manage learning communities. We have over 2,500 people who see themselves as champions who are creating and supporting in these learning solution journeys across the organisation. So that's almost 10% of our population who have now over the course of two years, which means it's running, essentially, without us at this point, we can continue to change and adapt as needed. But it definitely was something which required many, many people to to buy into it and to take ownership.

[Don Taylor]  51:43  

Just very quickly, Rachel, just to be clear that 650 or whatever the people who are managing those communities, they're not on your team

[Rachel Hutchinson]   51:50  

No, no, no. So I have four learning business partners on my team, and our design and development team has a learning architect and a graphic artist on it. So we're a very small team from that perspective. We're not in any way capable of accomplishing all of these things ourselves. And that's probably another important point is that, you know, we are an extremely small team. So none of this would be possible. If we didn't have people in the business who were actively involved and and co-creating, we can help by helping them see equipping them to see how they can work better, and by bringing them a lot of the tools and the resources, but we certainly don't have the number of people to actually be creating learning solutions across the organisation.

[Don Taylor]  52:51  

Or the maintaining of those communities as you're describing. I hope that answers your question. I think a bunch of people on the call might be a bit surprised by what it takes and what Rachel's got?, how much is accomplished with it? 

Final question for you, then we're gonna have to wrap up. David, as David said earlier about creativity. Do you think these processes, the forms, and some that you have in place, restrict creativity? Or do you think they provide the framework within which creativity can flourish? And you may tell from my framing of the question, which way I'm expecting you to answer it?

[Rachel Hutchinson]   53:24  

Yeah, I really think that they allow for so much more creativity. We've taken all of the kind of, frankly rote, boring stuff, and turned it into things you don't have to think about. So now you free your brain to think about all the creative aspects, all of the things that you could be doing, and we're really seeing some amazing results from this. So I highly encourage, I'm not a process person myself. and so it felt restricted to me at first and I've definitely come on board and I am embracing it because it now lets me use my creativity, my business knowledge where it does the most good.

[Don Taylor]  54:15  

Not having to reinvent things each time as you go. Let's see, if you scroll on to the final slide. That'd be great. I think it's we've hit the hour, it's time to wrap up. I want to say a big thank you to Rachel from Hilti for honestly, I've heard this story several times. Each time I hear it Rachel it gets better. You just you're doing so much that people should be doing this bill, thank you for sharing with us today and I hope everyone's grabbed something they can go back with to their organisation hopefully taken and make a change in the organisation. And of course, if you're not sure, Rachel, you're open to be contacted on LinkedIn and elsewhere if people feel a need to get a bit more advice. 

Now, we've got a very simple poll question, It would be great to have people to answer and when that goes up, that'd be great if you can answer the poll question about ‘how did you feel it went down?’ simple level one evaluation, but helps us improve next time. 

Again, big thank you to everybody in the room for your questions and your interaction. Again, thanks, Rachel Hutchinson, Director of Learning and Development at Hilti for sharing her thoughts today. It would be great to have you back with us on Tuesday, the ninth of July 3:00 pm. We've got Charles Jennings on for 70:20:10 Institute that Rachel was talking about, talking about rethinking learning design. I think we moved on a lot from the idea of just creating stuff that looks good. How do we make it effective? Charles is going to be having an in depth conversation with Steve Dineen on Fuse universal about that and there's the opportunity to sign up for it. Please let us know what you thought of the event. Thank you very much for coming along. Rachel. It's been a pleasure and everyone, hope to see you on Tuesday nights when we have Steve Dineen and Charles Jennings. Bye for now.

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