How L&D Can Create Measurable Business Value and Operate at the Speed of Business - A Conversation With Charles Jennings

Learning and development professionals need to create business value not just courses.

We desperately need to move past the thin layer of low value curated content and into a world where we are creating measurable business value and where we're doing that at speed. 

That means we need to flip our thinking to start with a business need or hypothesis that aligns with the business goals rather than starting with a solution. Then once we’ve identified an area for growth, we go to the drawing table to strategise and design the learning.  

The Challenge for L&D

Whilst it sounds straightforward enough, this approach is challenging for many L&D teams. Two reasons for this are: 

  1. The questions around business value are asked far too late. Think about it, someone from the business asks for a course, it gets built and rolled out. Then once it’s been completed, someone might ask what the return on investment was. What value did we create? But this is the wrong place to ask. The question of ‘what value did we create’ should be the first question we ask ourselves. 
  2. Many L&D teams have the misconception that advanced technologies are the solution to transforming dull content into something employees will happily engage with. The truth is, no matter how advanced machine learning is in your learning platform, it will have a negligible impact on engagement if the content isn’t right to start with. Yes, technology has a role but it isn’t the only answer. 

The Pressure Is On for L&D

The pressure on L&D is higher than ever. We’re operating in a rapidly changing business environment with lots of external and uncontrollable factors. This means there’s no more leeway to be tinkering around the edges and simply focusing on demonstrating learning outcomes. 

We're facing big and complex problems that require systemic solutions. So we need to understand how L&D can support the organisation through creating measurable value and operating at the speed of business.

But how exactly does this happen in practice? 

We reached out to Charles Jennings, Co-Founder of the 70:20:10 Institute (now Tusler) who joined Fuse’s Chief Storyteller, Steve Dineen, on a webinar to explore this question. 

In this episode, you’ll hear the recording of that webinar. 

 

If you prefer to watch the webinar, head over 👉here

Our Favourite Parts of the Conversation

[Charles Jennings 9:30] L&D can do quite a lot of things to address these challenges, but it requires some serious work. It's not just tinkering around the edges, because that's not going to lead to success. We're facing some big complex problems here that require systemic solutions.”

[Charles Jennings 9:50]  One of the challenges is that traditional L&D has always had an inherent inertia. There's always been this lag because of the way we do things. So for L&D, performing at the speed of business means things like adopting new approaches, implementing new technologies and platforms and partners, building new types of customer relationships with our internal customers or our external customers, developing new challenges, new channels of service, new activities and building new capabilities across L&D team.”

[Charles Jennings 11:10]  “As L&D, we need to work hand-in-hand with our stakeholders. This co-creation is part of the whole new world for L&D. In the past, we've basically been course factory suppliers and that really needs to change.”

[Charles Jennings 12:10]  We start by designing and defining the organisational objectives, the critical tasks, which again is a whole new way for L&D to work. Not looking at competencies, capabilities, not looking at behaviours, but looking at tasks. What are the critical tasks that need to be carried out in order to achieve the results to deliver the objectives, and also what we call the environmental influences. In other words, there are things that are affecting the ability to achieve what we want to achieve, because often, training alone is not going to achieve the results because we need some other changes to occur.”

[Charles Jennings 50:26]  “L&D needs to work and co-create with other specialists in our organisation or specialists outside our organisation. But also we need to co-create with our key stakeholders because we all know if we're involved in developing the solution, we're much more likely to be champions of it and use it and make sure it's successful. The key messages from me are really around, when you're thinking about the solutions, you absolutely need to have the technology right. You need to have a platform that will deliver everything you want to do. But you also need to make sure that you've got that engagement piece done well and you can deliver results really quickly.”

 

Transcript

*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 😊.

[Steve Dineen]  0:00  

Quick introduction from the people we have here. So for those who don't know me, I'm Steve Dineen, CEO and Chief storyteller from Fuse Universal. And Charles...

 

[Charles Jennings]  0:10  

I'm Charles Jennings from the 70:20:10 Institute.

 

[Steve Dineen]  0:14  

Excellent, just a bit of housekeeping guys, so feel free to ask any questions at any time. A little image here shows you where the Q&A box is to ask those questions, what we'll probably try to do is, probably try to break at different parts and then answer a few of those questions and then have a more detailed Q&A session back at the end as well. But feel free to answer through those we can answer in chat, we'll do our best to. And so to give a bit of context around this webinar, I guess what I was, I'd been seeing and feeling and a few others who have been really excited about this movement of L&D from maybe that's the more course centric view of the world into, into one that kind of business value, value creation. I guess I was really excited when I started to see some of the work that Charles and the team of the 70:20:10 Institute were doing around this, and some of our clients, specifically inside Hilti, Philip Morris and a few other organisations. And I guess I was kind of blown away with how the thinking in that design methodology is absolutely in tune with our beliefs. But it obviously is a more practical kind of level. So I was really excited and I think it's a great opportunity that Charles is going to share out the latest thinking upon not just the strategic part, but the practicality of what they're doing. And maybe just to give a quick intro to Charles and the 70:20:10. So we're going to intro each other here. And so obviously for those who are not aware of Charles, Charles has been instrumental in helping our industry change, I believe from a course centric view and becoming obviously very famous by making fame, making the 70:20:10 concepts part of the mainstream vocabulary now. But I think what everyone may not realise is how Charles and the 70:20:10 Institute have evolved and how they've gone from maybe being really focused on that cheesy part, to now really help holding the hands of our customers and other organisations in terms of how do you turn this strategy from of course, value creation, and from strategy to actually practicality towards it. And I'm seeing some side to side Fuse that's a living embodiment of what we believe in, and the embodiment of Charles's thinking and the team's thinking, and 70:20:10. So that’s the purpose for doing this webinar and to share some of their best practices. And hopefully that gives you a bit of background towards who Charles is for those who don't know, and into the 70:20:10 Institute is.

 

[Charles Jennings]  2:26  

Thanks very much, Steve. And if I can just introduce Steve, and thanks very much for Fuse for organising this webinar today. Steve and I have known each other since the 1990s, worked in various guises. And for me, Steve has always been at the leading edge of technology solutions for L&D. His focus is all around innovation speed, and particularly around focusing on user experience and user value. And I think that's where we come together, absolutely, in terms of looking at how L&D can become value creators rather than a cost to the organisation. So, Steve, back to you.

 

[Steve Dineen]  3:04  

And I think most importantly, we have a deep love for each other

 

[Charles Jennings]  3:09  

You might put it that way.

 

[Steve Dineen]  3:12  

Okay, so I wanted to get a little bit context and a bit of framing and to Charles before he jumps in. And so for me one of the big things, I think this was a question, I guess I'd been framing recently. And it was a question that a friend of mine, who was an HR director at the time at BT, was asked by his CEO 15 years ago, which was a simple question of, you know, he asked Dennis. “Dennis, how much are we spending on training? Was it working? Was it not? Where do we spend more? Where do we spend less?” And it's a great question. Dennis’s answer was, when I asked him because I have no idea, he didn't want to spend a lot of big, kind of, thought consulting and he came back to recognise that they were spending about a thousand pounds a head, a million a year. But he had no idea really apart from some of his instincts on what you should do differently. You know, what designs were working and actually how to measure and so that was the, I think that was a challenge then. But I think it's also the challenge that we as an industry are now directly challenging and actually finding solutions for. And if I think where the problems have been traditionally towards why we haven't solved that problem, then they probably fall into two buckets. One is around, kind of, measurement and analytics. And the first point there is, many of those questions around value is asked too late. So it's asked at the end of the cycle that we, somebody comes in and asks for course, the course gets built and gets rolled out. Then afterwards, someone says, actually, how much value are we creating? So the first point there is the recognition that that's absolutely the wrong place to ask it. And it should be asked right at the beginning, we dive into that. And the second is, obviously, in terms of some of the content just simply putting in I think there's maybe a misconception that putting some great AI machine learning on top of really heavy, ugly content is going to get some miraculous answer. That the content part needs to be sold as part of our overall challenge, as does technology. So the technology to move away from clunky to frictionless and obviously, that mindset of, you know, when no longer the industry is actually famous for building courses, we should have an industry that's famous for actually proving business value.

 

And I think a great example industry parliamentary for us, that shows what's coming, and what we're going to be doing, is the marketing industry. And if you look at, I guess the marketing professionals today, like our magnificent Kirsty Bell, who leads our marketing function internally. Kirsty is a great example of a data driven marketing expert. So traditionally, 15 years ago, if you ask that question to BT, they probably would have given the same answer, you know, in the marketing department we don't quite know what we're spending. And the answers are quite fluffy, you know that people like us more, they feel good about us. Rather than, today if you give a marketing director, a good marketing director a budget, then they're going to be understanding exactly what the ROI’s are, so how many leads are generated, NQL’s, SQL’s, conversion rates. There's something very specific in terms of if I spend X, I'm expecting Y return. And in terms of, obviously mindset changing, the skillsets changing, and the toolset obviously is changing, is it moving you towards technologies that give instant insight upon what's working, and what's not working. So literally, you can change on it, on a thumbnail. So I think this is the same change that we're seeing in the learning industry. Some are right at the forefront of that. And I think Charles is guiding some of those. And I think some are, have work to do. And in terms of maybe again, framing, if we think, so question that we ask, so if we look to our clients a little while back was, what's the different business problems that you're solving? So, where are you adding value to the organisation? And what's interesting again is, I think we're seeing this, the three areas come together of learning, communications, internal comms and knowledge. And in smaller clients like the Scandic, you know, with Siri, has just had that great ivy business case done in the organisation. It's a great example of a place where those three are literally collapsed. So that the end loader, the end user, they're just saying, this is where I go when I don't know something like this, where I search, it's where I browse, as well as where I'm onboarded. That's one aspect towards, I think again, where more of our clients now are thinking upon, what's the big problems that I can solve? And how do I prioritise that as maybe a way I think about things? So rather than I measured myself and how many core stuff delivered, or how many views I've got, it's how many problems I’ve solved, and how do I prioritise those problem solving. Some great examples on the page here for the likes of Brian Fosse who are actually, you know, kind of doing QVC strategic communications as their first case study across 18,000 people. That's the problem they're helping to solve the business rather than maybe the more traditional compliance based learning stuff. The final slide, before I just pass on to Charles with one or two slides is, this is really I guess, framing the new thinking. So moving, I guess, the thinking from we build a course, and then we think about evaluation. Maybe using something like Kirkpatrick as an evaluation model to actually flipping that. And the first thing we're now thinking about is, you know, what's the, what's the problem we're solving? What's the outcome statement that we want from that? And then critically, how are we going to measure that? What's the measurements against that problem? So is it conversion rates salespeople? Is it NPS scores for customer service person? Is it money raised from a charity in terms of donations? So what's the thing we're trying to do? And then the bit that Charles will talk in detail about is, how then will we then build that into a design that's really very focused around how do you replicate people's tasks and activities. And whether we call that behaviour, skills, knowledge, and that whole area. And a practical example, again, using Hilti’s example, we're going to use here, because it's a, it's a joint client, between Charles and I, where they're using Fuse as a platform. But Charles has been one of the great advisors during that early stage of the process and ongoing relationship. And it is a great example of one of the first programmes where they, I guess, created a template for what to do going forward. So everything that Hilti now do, every programme they now do, there's a hypothesis of the Delta difference they're going to make inside that programme. Whether that is in this, in this example of shifting the data from 18 months to six months to three months, or whether that's actually you know, the end pattern of storytelling workshop. So that's the, I guess the framing of our piece. And the past, I guess we want to pass back to Charles, is how then he really is going to help him and focus in on the activities that come after that hypothesis. Over to you, Charles.

 

[Charles Jennings]  9:18  

Okay, thanks very much, Steve, for that. So I guess the question that then arises is what can L&D do to solve all these challenges that Steve's talked about earlier on. And it came to mind just as Steve was talking that with one of our clients we've, at the Institute, we've worked with Citibank for quite a few years. And our work in terms of their L&D has also been with their comms and marketing. It's been an integrated solution in their whole be more programme where they've moved from courses to campaigns and so on. But let me just talk about the speed of business because L&D can do quite a lot of things to address these challenges, but it requires some serious work. It's not just tinkering around the edges, because that's not gonna lead to success. We're facing some big complex problems here that require systemic solutions. And one of the things that we need to look at is how we can, how L&D can focus on supporting your organisation to perform at the speed of business. Now, this sort of sounds like a very woolly term, but actually, underneath it is some really, really tangible things that we can do. It means L&D performing at the speed of business as well. And one of the challenges is that traditional L&D has always had an inherent inertia. There's always been this lag because of the way we do things. So for L&D, performing at the speed of business means things like adopting new approaches, implementing new technologies and platforms and partners, building new types of customer relationships with our internal customers or our external customers, developing new challenges, new channels of service, new activities, and building, also building new capabilities across L&D team. Because the old capabilities of designing, developing, delivering content in structured boxes of courses is not going to, not going to cut it. And also, almost above all of these, is the need to make sure that we work closely hand in hand with our stakeholders. This co-creation is part of the whole new world for L&D. In the past, we've basically been a course factory suppliers and that really needs to change. So

 

[Charles Jennings]  11:32  

That's it, if I can just move this on. At the 70:20:10 Institute, we've had a lot of success with organisations using our 70:20:10 methodology and also what we call our value based L&D approach. And both of these are focused on achieving organisational outcomes, not just on learning, because these approaches open up a lot of new avenues for L&D to have an impact on our organisations and we've been working on, and developing, the five roles for the past four years. And we've written a book about it. With a range of organisations, we've worked on this and have really helped them move the dial in terms of delivering value. And I just want to talk about some of these, if I can get the control of this back, you know, it's working. Okay. So this is a job age with, a job aid we use for our 70:20:10 methodology. I'm going to give you an example to show you how Hilti have used this. We use this for creating solutions using these five roles in the methodology, the performance detective, architect, master builder, game changer, and tracker. And you need to work on this job aid from the right to the left. Because the first thing we do is, is really understand what the organisational results are. And as Steve said earlier on, if we don't know what we're trying to achieve, and how we're going to measure it right from the outset, we're really going to be, really be struggling to, to do that. So we start by designing and defining the organisational objectives, the critical tasks, which again is a whole new way for L&D to work. Not looking at competencies, capabilities, not looking at behaviours, but looking at task, what are the critical tasks that need to be carried out in order to achieve the results to deliver the objectives, and also what we call the environmental influences. In other words, there are things that are affecting the ability to achieve what we want to achieve, because often, training alone is not going to achieve the results because we need some other changes to occur. There might be processes that are not in place or not defined, there may be all sorts of other things that that we need to work on. So let me just talk a little bit about the, about Hilti and how Hilti uses this. So Steve mentioned Hilti. Many of you will know this logo, you will have seen the logo, and the Institute and Fuse have been working with Hilti for quite a while. Hilti is a manufacturer of power tools and drills and so on, and Rachel Hutchison, the director of learning and development at Hilti, explained their challenge in this way: lack of employee engagement in learning and difficulties with legacy LMS is drove Hilti to really look at how it was going to review its whole change to approach to developing its people and that included developing their own people looking in and putting in a suitable learning infrastructure and all of these things. So how did Hilti go about that? Well, as I said, they engaged the Institute and Fuse, and this is what they did.

 

[Charles Jennings]  14:37  

I'm sorry, this is a lot of data on a small screen, when I'm not going to focus on the whole lot of it. But this is a little bit of the work that we did at the Institute. Using this template and using this methodology, we identified, they identified the organisational results they were looking to focus on and the key, key thing they were focused on here was tiered performance. Getting people who are new to the organisation, new in sales, up to speed really quickly. And when you look at this solution plan for Hilti, the first 90 days were absolutely critical. So what do they do? Well Hilti developed a survival kit. And you can see part of the solution here, if you look in the 70 circle, in the middle one, the 70 activities included things such as a really important community on Fuse that supported the execution of critical tasks. So people could go there and discover how those tasks are best carried out, ask questions about them, and really carry out or you know, get help and support in order to do this. Hilti also developed a set of resources for each, what they call low principle, in other words, know yourself, know your boss, know your team, know your business, know your measures and so on. And they also developed a set of assessment tools to measure performance level, as well as a range of resources to support local processes when local processes may be different or specific to a factory or a region or a country or whatever. And so, we work with Hilti using these models and processes. And also, we put the Hilti L&D team and others through our 70:20:10 expert programme. And a lot of these solutions are actually developed as part of the expert programme output because the expert programme is an experiential programme. It's not about sitting in a classroom, it's actually addressing real problems that you have in your organisation on a day to day basis. So what was the impact? and I know Steve is going to talk a little more about this, but following the launch of Fuse, and using the new approaches from the 70:20:10 Institute that we'd worked with Hilti on, Hilti saw an incredible improvement in sales results from new hires and you can see it here. Tiered performance was reduced from around about 18 months to somewhere between three and six months. For Hilti, that meant better sales. And for the employees, that meant higher commission earnings. And for both, it meant better engagement. And so it's a win win. And along with this came much shortened classroom experience and expanded digital offer, full involvement of the team leaders on the journey as well. So all in all really, really tangible business results came out of this which they could then quantify. And you can see here, Terry Copley, who's the head of Hilti’s learning solutions and experienced team says it's clear it isn't just about reducing time, although that was important. It's really about business results. And payback to the company, as Terry says, was huge. And you can see here he talks about the business results being significant in Southeast Asia. Previously, more than half of new hires took more than a year before they paid for themselves, and some never paid for themselves at all, they came and went, and they were just a cost to the company. Essentially, in the past, Hilti was losing money on about 70%, 73%, 75% of new hires between six months in the first two years. And the solution they put in place, with Fuse and with the Institute just solved that problem instantly. So, again, I won't go through the details, all the details of how it worked. I'm not going to talk about the process in detail, but it's worth noting that the collaboration here, you can see in the second to the third and fourth boxes, the collaboration was and co creation between the L&D team and their stakeholders was absolutely critical for success. And, and to that point, I think, too many L&D teams are simply order takers. In other words, they fulfil requests for training or for deploying a social learning platform or whatever it might be, without having any process to discover what the root cause of the business issues are, and then to co create solutions with the people who are really affected by the business issue. And I think that's one lesson we've learned over the years, that this, this culture of co-creation is really, really critical, as well as having the right platforms in place, the right technology in place, and so on. 

 

[Charles Jennings]  19:30  

So just looking at, it is an example really, of a bit of work, the first of those five roles, the performance detective carries out in terms of these organised, identifying organisational results, critical tasks and environmental influences. And it's not just a training needs analysis, or even just a performance analysis. It involves business analysis, understanding the business challenges are critical business issue. The client is committed, making sure that the client is really committed to solving this problem and what the core processes are. It's, it's about performance analysis. Where are we now? Where do we need to be? What's the current future performance? Desired performance? What's the gap? What are the critical tasks that are going to help us close that gap? And also an influence analysis, the environmental influences. In other words, how are stakeholder and tasks defined? What are the priorities involved in that? So, if you don't do these first, you'll end up providing solutions that simply won't solve the problem. And we do know, unfortunately, that many, many training solutions have challenges solving business problems. We can create wonderful courses, wonderful programmes, but when we're asked about how did that solve the problem, we're really at a loss and there's a whole industry being built around training transfer, which is really looking at the wrong thing, but around trying to justify what we're what we're doing in terms of getting to the, getting to the solution. So Steve, can I just pass back to you?

 

[Steve Dineen]  21:05  

Yes, you can. 

 

[Charles Jennings]  21:07

Thank you. You should have control there. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  21:09 

Perfect. And actually, let me just ask you, if we forget, you have a couple of questions that came in here, Charles. So one of them was, so both of us can help with. So how did you present the case study and get help with the case and get L&D team as well as other stakeholders, especially managers on board to move away from the LMS mindset? So, first point to make clear in the case of Hilti, obviously, Charles and us were both external organisations. While on the technical aspect towards it, the implementation was done, I think in 12 weeks. Charles, I think if you could talk to I guess the advice and the mindset piece you did before they, they looked at the actual implementation piece.

 

[Charles Jennings]  21:49  

Yeah, sure. That's a really good question because one of the things we find as part of our value based L&D approach, the whole engagement of L&D team and stakeholders is really critical. And in fact, we're doing this right at the moment with it, with another big client where we're doing this early engagement piece. And that is really critical. And, and beside that, we often do a proof of impact. In other words, we do a quick pilot proving impact and showing in your own organisation exactly, you know, what this is going to lead to, and we find then that that really focuses minds and gets people aligned. So that's, that's the two things that we do that, that really helped that, align that.

 

[Steve Dineen]  22:33  

And maybe just come to that next part of it. So how long have we been working with Hilti for? So, from a Fuse side we have been working with Hilti about two years? I think it's probably fair to say that there because they did the work with Charles beforehand, a lot of the thinking and the mindset and the plans, what they were going to do from day one was clear. So a lot of the time let's say if you get implemented, it may end up with the kind of the business value pieces considered afterwards, as they just kind of focus on getting the old infrastructure out and put the new in. I think in the case of Hilti, although they rapidly, you know, literally in 12 weeks across 20,000 people did the implementation, I think because they did this cheesy thinking with Charles beforehand, actually ran into worthwhile projects pretty much from day one. Charles will add more to that.

 

[Charles Jennings]  23:18  

Yes, we were working, the institute was working with Hilti I think about six to nine months before they put Fuse in. And my colleague Vivian Heijnen did a lot of work with our expert programme with the Hilti L&D team and others in really getting them up to speed and sort of building that capability there. So yeah, and I think that was really important because we work with them. They had a very clear strategy. They had the capability building and we were really already working on improvement projects in order to get that going. And then they got the Fuse platform in and got the technology that can deliver on that.

 

[Steve Dineen]  23:55  

And again, what I guess I love from this approach that Hilti took, they were adding value at both ends. So there was, you know, they're thinking about the cost part, how do they reduce multiple platforms. In fact, they didn't need to have a video streaming platform, a content management system, a learning management system, they could consolidate, you know, four or five platforms into one. So there's that cost value piece. But then at the other end, they're thinking about business value piece. So again, maybe you're quite lucky in having Rachel as a leader, because she's come from the business world into L&D. So she had that knack, that mindset already. But then working with Charles, you can actually turn that mindset into practical actions. So literally, upon the implementation part, they were able to maybe provide value at both levels, at a cost saving level, but also kind of directly at a business impact level around this first big programme, which was kind of the sales onboarding piece. So yeah, so moving on. And so just to show, you know, for example, this is a good example I think of one of the programmes that's used inside Fuse that Charles and his team helped to think about. So I guess they're still thinking about 70:20:10 in the world in a way of how do people get the content or point of need, the 20% part, the social piece, and the formal piece? And that's exactly what they had. So, again, what I love inside here, and Charles can talk more in detail towards this, is that first first 90 day plan, some of that first 90 years consumption of content. Some of that is about doing activities and thinking what activities to do. It's about accessing the knowledge they need when they want to get back to the job. The stuff at the bottom is the Quick Access places that they can either find by browser or by search. So it's a real journey here. And again, I guess you can see the analogy of climbing the mountain in the first 90 days. So where's the end goal you want to get to? And what's your journey towards getting there? Some of that is in that formal place, there's a nice summary here. Just say those some of those tasks in those first study days an example of some of the content that's coming through. Again, one of the things that Hilti really liked was the ability to transcribe, translate that content in multiple languages. And Charles, you want to talk a little bit maybe about some of the tasks and how you flesh out that thinking to beyond, I guess just that formal piece to really how you thought about it in Hilti’s world to thinking about, you know, how do you find content? How do you use social media in the design, as well as the more traditional formal piece as well.

 

[Charles Jennings]  26:23  

Well, I don't want to take up too much time now. And as I say, we've got a White Paper coming out about the work we've done with Hilti. But I think it should be said that making sure that you can identify what people need to do and you've got absolute clarity around what's expected and getting it down to that task level. Because, you know, we know that the whole job role is changing, the concept of job role. And now it's getting down to what are the critical tasks, that exemplary performers. A lot of our work is done around working with and identifying exemplary performance or making sure that when we work with companies like Hilti, that they can Identify exemplary performance and understand what it is they do. Because often we know in terms of you might have written standard operating procedures and things like that. But very often the people who the high performers are not the one that follow the operating percentage operating procedures slavishly. They're the ones that know the shortcuts, that know which bits are really important, which bits aren't. So that's the really key piece around making sure that you've got the right content. We've worked with organisations where they simply thought the putting standard operating procedure manuals into platforms like Fuse was the way to go. And of course that's not. That might help, but actually, that just becomes clutter. So it's really critical in terms of the design approaches for doing this. So if I can just move on, because I'm aware of the time and we want to have some time open for questions.

 

[Charles Jennings]  27:53  

Have I got control here? Just

 

[Steve Dineen]  27:56  

So Charles, a question has come through, just as we pass off into the next phase. So a question is saying, Can these approaches work in global companies with widely dispersed workforces? How do you influence it widely? etc. So first of all, it's made the point that I think actually Charles is pretty much mainly worked with local companies. So Hilti is a decentralised organisation, with about 30,000 people globally across most countries. Charles has worked with us in PMI as well, which is about 90,000 people in Italy, and then 70 sites externally. And in both examples of Hilti and PMI. They're both using this approach for the internal audiences and their channel and customers as well. And maybe just before I pass off to Charles, I guess the thinking here is this type of approach in this in this modern design thinking has allowed me to go deep into a role that's widely dispersed, so you know, in a role such as a sales role or an engineering role, or frontline staff, this is where this model is really appropriate, where you have a large number of people that are in a role across a wide audience. So you can codify, If you like, best practice, and allow that best practice, not to happen just a once off, but ongoing codify best practice to be happening and to be accessible in both structured and in a formal and informal way. So I think that this dispersed workforce places exactly what this design methodology is really absolutely laser focused at.

 

[Charles Jennings]  29:20  

Yeah, I agree Davina, I think it was who asked that question. Absolutely works across global companies. We work with a lot of big global companies. What I would say is both the methodology and the whole value based L&D approach, if you think of it more in the way that you think of something like lean or agile approaches, because it's not just a learning approach. It’s an approach to improve business performance, and it works in exactly the same way as would, implementing a lean or an agile methodology. You can't just pick it up and lift it into the organisation. Of course, you need to prepare, make sure that you prove its value quickly and you get people on board, get your resources, get your people upskilled so that they know what to do and how to use it. So that it's, as I said earlier on, it's a systemic approach. And I think it's worthwhile thinking about it a little bit like lean or agile in terms of how do you make changes from traditional systems/traditional approaches into those approaches. So, thinking about getting across the finishing line and delivering results. And, you know, just to lead on to my last answer. It involves a lot of actions and initiatives, but there's just three important things to focus on. Three sort of high level things that need to be focused on. And first of all, it almost goes without saying I think, is to embrace digital transformation. L&D simply cannot do its job in today's world without the right digital tools and platforms, without the right mindset and thinking around digital to break out from that richness reach trade off that Evans and Wurster talked about in their famous book. You know, 20 years ago in 1999. They talked about how the internet was going to change everything, change the way things worked, and it's absolutely the same. Yet when we think about Peter Singer, his work on the learning organisation, Singer said, when you look at the world of a child 150 years ago, and you look at the world of a child now, you find that schooling is basically unchanged, where everything else around the world, around that child has changed. I would argue that when we look at L&D today, it's more like schooling 50 years ago than it is like what we see in the outside world, so there's a lot to do. This sort of goes without saying that we need to embrace digital transformation. The second high level thing we need to think about and this is really underestimated, the work involved in this is underestimated a lot, it's around mindset. Because changing mindsets is a real challenge. And even proving with evidence is difficult to change mindsets, we have to continually think about how we help build capability and change mindsets. But L&D really must change its collective mindset. We must change from a mindset of learning to a mindset of performance. And then underneath those, there are all other sorts of things we need to change, our mindset and our thoughts about our role, absolutely. And if we can still continue to obsess about learning without focusing on the outputs, so that's organisational performance and individual performance, then we might as well resign ourselves to the dustbin really, because no one is going to take L&D seriously if we don't deliver tangible value. So we need to work not just with our own L&D teams to think differently about what our jobs involve, and about how we add and create value, but we need to work with our customers because when you're down as an order taker, when you're simply taking the orders, the customer, the manager, usually, or the leader in the organisation, they have a lot of influence over what the solutions will be. I mean, how many of us have not had a manager come and say, I need a three day sales training course on X, or I need a four day course on Y. You know, which is just sort of crazy, because first of all, you don't know whether you need a current course until you've done some good analysis, and secondly you certainly don't know if it’s three or four days or whatever. So really, L&D needs to take this mindset change and there is a big cultural mindset change there. 

 

[Charles Jennings]  33:39  

And the last important thing we need to focus on is our own L&D business models. Now many L&D people don't even think about the business model they work within. Yet, when we look at organisations that are successful, they're always reviewing their business models and changing their business models in some way or another and there's lots of examples, you can look at, say if you look at the banking world. The banking world has forced us, as customers or banks, to change the way we interact with banks. Because they've changed their business model. They found they can scale by using smart technology and we all do our banking through our smartphones and things like that now, so they've changed their models totally. Then we have new entrants which have come in such as the Ubers of the world, which changed the transport business model and is now changing logistics business models and changing delivery systems in terms of things. So we need to, most L&D people, as I say, don't even think about their business model. If we want to improve services, the business model needs to be the first thing you need to address. And at the Institute, we've done a lot of work and my colleague, Jos Arets, has developed a whole suite of models and services based on four archetypes that are showing here. And in fact, Jos is writing a book with all the details under these. You can find papers and so on on the Institute website about this. But if you look at this, there's some key differences between the archetypes of business models on the left, and the business models on the right. The ones on the left are focused on learning and they're focused on measuring learning value. The ones on the right are focused all about business alignment, integrating business, learning with working. And the metrics that are used on the right are metrics to measure business impact. The metrics used on the left are usually learning metrics and then there's some attempt made to link those learning metrics with business impact, and that's where that I mentioned earlier, the whole industry of training transfer, learning transfers has emerged. Whereas if you work on the right and if you have in place the building blocks to work as a performance enabler or a value creator, that's where the real business, that's where the real value is delivered by L&D. Again, on this webinar, we don't have time to go into detail on this. Jos has written a very good summary, white paper in fact, a number of white papers and articles, which you can find on the Institute website. And as I say, his book is coming out pretty soon but that focus on your business model, and I should say that they're not nice little boxes because every organisation will work to some extent, across boxes. So for example, the order taker, that's where we take orders and then we design, develop and deliver the solution. Every organisation will have some element of order taking because every organisation will have needs around compliance, that might be industry compliance or national regulations. There will be certain things that we just have to do in terms of taking orders. But the organisations that are stuck down in that left hand corner, are not going to be the ones that are adding value to their organisation. They're going to remain cost centres, they're not going to be value creators. And when the crunch comes, cost centres are very, very vulnerable to being thinned down, closed down, shut down, broken up, or whatever. So just from a self preservation point of view, if you're an L&D leader, or an L&D professional, you should be looking to move up and up and across to the right for your key value creating activities. So Steve, I'm going to stop there and pass back to you. If I can. There we are. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  37:45  

Perfect, yeah, okay. So for those who want to know a bit more about how Fuse’s supporting this approach now in the future, just a few minutes on that and then we'll finish off with some questions. And so if you didn't see there was actually a really interesting article. I think that came out from Josh Bersin about a week ago. And it's interesting because I think, you know, we've had a market which was defined quite clearly for a very long time around learning management systems and then Josh Bersin introduced the concept or the lexicon of a learning experience platform about three years ago. And I think Josh has now got to the summary that actually the learning experience platform maybe with a temporary category, that's now been superseded. So this is Josh's latest thinking, whereby he's now basically saying that he thinks that the current second category outside of LMS is what's called an integrated learning platform. So it's a really interesting diagram. And I guess it shows, you know, the products that are very much LXP focused at that top level, but what he’s really saying is actually, if you look at the learning technology stack that of the likes of Hilti or a scanning that's recently online here, looking at it's a much wider, richer school technology set, including and it's interesting, I guess, when we see people that haven't LMS and LXP then often had to go and get a video streaming platform, a content management platform, skills management platform, etc. And the only thing we would say here is that maybe, Josh has missed out a couple of the functions that Fuse has, such as content management, learning management. But I think the concept of what he's trying to show here is absolutely right, as the market is moving from it, there was an LMS. And now there's LMS, then LXP, I think what he's saying is that actually, what most people are moving towards is an end to end learning platform. And that end to end learning platform is one that should be open to integrating other things in towards it. And it's interesting, again, from a value side from Hilti, I guess from their side is they didn't have to add main core platforms into the base engine, they're able to focus on maybe niche products to come in and add value. So I guess as we will see, I guess what we perceive it into an learning platform looking like and the different types of functionality if needed, we would see exactly as Josh would say from learning experience, I have the whole way down to the learning management side, but also would probably add in advanced analytics as an absolute core piece of functionality that's really allowed us to measure this new business value. So we're not talking about reporting. Reporting is sort of key, but that's kind of base that's more traditional, how do I measure my 10%, you know, who's going on compliance costs, and it's moving from that 10% view to if you want to measure business value, then you've got to be thinking about advanced analytics, that's allowing business data, and all the learning activity happening around all the aspects of workplace learning and social learning all of that to be analysed and measured against business value. So analytics that we think is a critical element on top of the picture Josh paints, and then again I think we're going forward if we really want workplace learning, or as Josh talks about, learning the flow of work, then moving from searching for knowledge at a micro level. And again, just to hit that point. Traditionally learning we build courses and then to get back to something you'd have to browse, search for the course, browse course and get back to the knowledge in the course. And obviously recognising that stats show, people don't do that it's not our natural habits, our natural behaviour, we want to get back to the knowledge much quicker. If you look at Hilti language, you know, he'll talk about the fact that this is their team brain. And the team brain is codified and this is how we get back to that. So if you're using the learning design methodology Charles put in place, in essence, they are creating the tasks and activities that allows the organisation to be creative at a constant level at concept, procedural task level, and then people are searching for the task. So how do I do a demonstration? How do I enter this stuff into Salesforce? So things are built at that search for level. We believe our investment is that next level beyond the micro search, it's down to that nano level, which is you want to be able to jump out to the sections of video or extract out the content inside an article of that procedure. So that's what we see as a fully Integrated Learning stack. But it's great I think now that you're seeing the analysts like Fosway talk about next generation learning platforms. Josh Bersin talks about integrated learning platforms. And I think analysts are now in tune with the vendors where at maybe three, four years ago, we saw that. And it's now really exciting that I think the analysts are coming on tune with that. And maybe it's just another way of thinking because there is a lot of chaos, I think, around learning technology, because there's so much out there and it can be really confusing. I think, for people looking at it saying, Where do I start? There's so much stuff out there, do I want an LMS, or an LXP, or an NGLE, or a 70:20:10 type platform? So again, one thing that we did inside here was maybe map to Charles's 70:20:10 model, and the whole kind of, you know, mapping backwards from organisational change. How does that core technology map against that? So it's a nice diagram here, this is actually what Hilti did as well. So Charles actually just told me on the phone before we came in, that actually, they did exactly the same thing. So okay, well, what's the components we need in our learning design stack? And actually, how do I map the technology against that? So things like, you know, to understand its organisational results. That's what you in advance, analytics tool to look at the how do I get workplace learning piece where your content strategy and micro search and macros search have been absolutely key intent based search. So search being the big, big thing. But the content strategy is absolutely in tune with a search strategy. On the social bits, things like micro recommendation engines, user generated content, observations, coaching, and so forth. So again, it's a nice model to map out what's the functionality you need to map against that. In order to have this going, to be an integrated platform, we need to deliver against the functionality of the different experiences we want to deliver. And maybe also the big, big piece here, I think is having data right at the heart of that and just to explain what we mean by Advanced Data, and advanced analytics is just quick one minute video.

 

[Video]  43:52  

Our clients have always had a rich set of data, in terms of every new record, every like, every click, every completion. The relationship there is between you and your manager and your team, all that is stored inside Fuse and there's a mass of it. We’re sitting on this kind of goldmine of data. What we've now done is partnered with what we believe is the best data insights analytics company in the world, and embedded that into the heart of Fuse. And we're kind of ready to do things with data that we've never really considered before. So the seven phases, what we do with data alongside the use of machine learning and AI, which is something that's happening in parallel to the platform. So in essence, there's a tool inside this toolbox that allows our clients to design backwards from the outcome of the learning goal you're trying to achieve. So if you're trying to increase engagement or completions towards it, it's really easy to drag and drop that dashboard for those learning plans or courses, the activities and so forth. And then to see that dashboard live inside their community, every morning, every week to see exactly how that community is doing in terms of analytics and data against that issue. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  45:02 

Yes, it is a quick snapshot, lots more to it than that. But a good snapshot to start to see how I start thinking about data in a different way when we're talking about business value and how do we bring that data in and correlate the two data sets? Maybe the final few points on what technology is being added into the world of learning design and into, kind of, integrate learning platforms to allow more this to happen. So at the top level, you know, even more intelligent search. So if we look at how Google search is that type of cognitive search, by cognitive search it means understanding the intent of what you're searching? Am I searching for a person? Am I searching for knowledge? You know, question and answer, for example. And what's the answer I'm looking for? Is it a piece of content and so forth. So once it understands the intent, then it's able then to give you the right layout. So for example, on Google, if you had to type in today how to wire a plug? It would absolutely understand you're looking for knowledge inside that and it will give you the best video and the best steps towards that. So that's exactly the same type of approach we're taking here. AI and machine learning we see as pervasive throughout all the technologies. So although I think there's an Uber focus on recommendations, and we absolutely see that as key and our next generation of machine learning algorithms are coming to pilot in the next couple of weeks, but we see machine learning and AI being used at every component in search, in the, for example, the translation parts of Fuse, in the auto transcriptions aspects of Fuse, in the way that auto tags and the AI around that, bringing in third party technologies in light and as pink in the AI that used inside that. So we see AI machine learning not as one engine, but it's a suite of different machine learning algorithms that are all the time informing your core data engine, about the personality of the person, their interests, their preferences and so forth, and building out there for more and more rich experience for that. So for example in Fuse, probably half a dozen machine learning AI algorithms and more are being added and refined the whole time. And obviously one of the big ones of that is around macro and micro recommendations. So macro meaning how do I recommend, you know, the course, the learning path, the experience, the longer journey if we like? And to the micro learning recommendations, which is how do I inspire you in the five minutes you've got spare with the perfect piece of content that's going to consume you for two, three minutes, and to make learning a daily habit? So the difference there between your, I guess, micro is more about surfacing your informal learning and your macro is more about taking you on that journey. Nonetheless, we talk through nudging. We see that as a huge part of really enhancing that coaching experience. And again for the clients that we've seen, they utilise the coaching observations part of Fuse, and to just simply measure when coaching is happening. On top of this best practice and the design, like Charles has put forward, we see that as being the data showing to be the biggest significant change in business results. Obviously you can't coach against nothing, to coaching without maybe some element of social and formal. It won't give that same results, but the holistic approach we've seen has given the best overall results and so forth. And obviously our world is a world of integrations, that this world of an integrated learning platform, in essence in our world, is about having the core engines native in your learning platform. So you don't need to go and build on buying big plugins like video engines and content management engines, they should just be native. What you should want to do is integrate third party products, be those library products or specific niche products like resource management for training and so forth. And so that gives a picture of maybe that future part. And maybe just open up to any questions that people may have towards the end as we're getting towards the end of the last 10 minutes. And actually, we've done pretty good for time, Charles. 

 

[Charles Jennings]  48:42

Yeah, very good, indeed. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  48:44

And he says I'm always late. So yeah, so I'd love to get some questions either into Charles around the design methodology or feel free to dig deeper, or you know, around the hilty case study or deep interviews, feel free to ask them out. One at a time, I see them coming through or maybe we told you everything you need to know. Okay, maybe in the background while the questions are being are being considered. Charles, if you were to give I guess a couple of pieces of advice based on the experience of organisations you've seen taped success of this model that you're now putting forward, which is designing outwards or backwards or upside down, what would be the couple of, I guess, core piece of advice that you'll pass out?

 

[Charles Jennings]  49:26  

Well, one of the things that I haven't talked about today at all around our value based methodology, which is all around using business canvases, and so on, and I mentioned it, but you've got to think of getting to the solution as a systemic process. So it's not just about, it's about building your L&D capability, it's about having the right platform in place, it's about changing the relationship with your internal clients and so on. It's about all of those things. But one of the areas which has really been a blind spot I think for a lot of L&D people, and where we had a lot of success in working with Citibank on this, and I mentioned earlier that we work closely in Citibank with their internal marketing teams and their corporate comms teams and so on. When you're trying to implement really successful solutions, L&D and HR are not historically great at communicating the messages clearly and getting those engagement levels up. Whereas, colleagues who sit on internal marketing or in corporate comms are experts at that. And we saw it in spades in Citibank, we're sitting down with their internal marketing and their corporate comms people. They worked hand in glove with the L&D team to really get that cultural change, to get all these changes embedded into the culture of the organisation. So when you look at the five roles that we've defined in terms of building performance. One of those roles we call the performance game changer. And that's where that occurs. And I guess it comes back to another point I've made a couple of times in the last hour. And that's about co creation. L&D doesn't do these, doesn't solve these problems alone. So L&D needs to work and co-create with other specialists in our organisation or specialists outside our organisation. But also we need to co-create with our key stakeholders because we all know if we're involved in developing the solution, we're much more likely to be champions of it and use it and make sure it's successful. Whereas if we just delivered a solution, we're less likely to do that. So I think the key messages from me are really around, when you're thinking about the solutions, you absolutely need to have the technology right. You need to have a platform that will deliver everything you want to do. But you also need to make sure that you've got that engagement piece done well and you can deliver results really quickly. And that's what we did. That's what happened with Hilti. Hilti was able to demonstrate real business impact in a very short time and that that success leads to another success leads to another success. So you know, that's my advice to think of these things systemically and make sure you don't just focus on developing the content.

 

[Steve Dineen]  52:28  

Okay, great. And maybe just one more for you there, Charles. The question is from Christina. You mentioned modifying mindsets, do you also encounter this in relation to user staff that have certain expectations of L&D?

 

[Charles Jennings]  52:41  

Yes, absolutely. I think to a certain extent, L&D has been the architect of that because we've sat there essentially with our arms open and said, well what can we do for you? And of course everyone says; well you can do this, you can do that, I need a two day staff development programme for our customer service people. So I think that you need to break out of that. We need to first of all deliver results, we need to be able to co-create and work, that fundamental/performance detective work is really critical. I've been asked many times about what's held L&D back, and where has L&D really excelled? And my answer to what's held L&D back, I would say a couple of things. One thing is training needs analysis. The training needs analysis process has held L&D back probably 40 or 50 years because the output of training needs analysis almost inevitably is training. Whereas the optimum solution, the best solution, to a lot of business problems has got nothing whatsoever to do with training. And L&D people would say, well that's not our business. My argument would be, actually in the 70:20:10 world that is absolutely your business. If you need to help your organisation change processes, refine its standard operating procedures, get rid of some of the blockages, that's exactly what we need to be involved in and that's where we're value creators when we do that. So, working and making sure that we get staff involvement, engagement, get them to understand the impact on them and on others, is really critical. So that's that whole piece around how do you engage, enroll, everyone from senior executives through to managers through to your own L&D team. It’s absolutely critical. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  54:34  

And I think maybe I agree that Charles, I think that is one of the challenges that I think the business is used to come asking for courses.

 

[Charles Jennings]  54:43  

Exactly, yeah. The question that Hammer has just asked about the core trays or skills, the perfect organisation L&D professionals should have? Well, I think openness to change is the first one. Absolutely openness to change, and also looking outwards rather than looking inwards. Now every organisation will say, you know we're special, and of course you're all special. But actually there's some very common elements that every organisation has. I've had lots of discussions with people who, for example, work in pharma or banking who will say, “no we're far too complex, we're much more complex than anyone else”. Don't believe it. Every organisation works in complexity, so we need to have L&D that are open to change, and that have a laser like focus on improving organisational performance. That would be the core trait for me. Just improving individual performance is not enough, you need to be focused as well or even more closely, on how you’re changing/increasing the value of your organisation. For a start, do you know what your organisational objectives are? Do you know what your organization's business model is? What are the plans for the next two or three years in terms of changing that? All those sorts of things. We've often said, well you know, we need to get close to the business. Absolutely, a lot of L&D people talk about us and the business, which is crazy. L&D is part of the business, whether that's a business-business, or whether it's a big government agency or whatever it happens to be. We're part of it, we're looking for traits. And it's not just skills, it's its attributes. It's not just competencies, its capabilities. It's a whole range of different things that we need to work on, to make sure that our L&D people can use the tools that are available. And Steve's just shown you a great one that they can do, they can use it well, because unless we have all that capability built around the tools and platforms, you know, we're not going to deliver optimum results. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  56:52  

Yeah, I think maybe to add to that Charles, so I think there's that mindset piece, you know, which absolutely is to change that part from thinking about yeah, I'm going to accept building a course towards... to I'm thinking about framing my mindset around the value I'm creating. What's that metric for the programme? So is it a customer sales programme? customer service, and it's about, you know, there's one, there's one metric I'm trying to shift or I'm trying to move inside that programme. And then there's more maybe tactical skills that says, Okay, well, I need to design content in new ways. So what's the new ways of building bite sized content to build, to visualise, to codify knowledge, to map knowledge out in a new way? Data science and Learning skill sets and so forth. So there's actually a little video I think that image I just shared in the chat box towards it that runs in the tactical part and another Charles has some great thinking.

 

[Charles Jennings]  57:44  

Yes, I just want to add a coat to that, Steve, absolutely. There are new roles for L&D which are coming into play, as you say, like data analytics, having those sorts of capabilities or at least understanding enough to be able to work with the data analytics experts so you can make use of their work. So it's really critical that you know that there's a whole range of different areas that L&D needs to step into. And I've often been challenged with 70:20:10 people saying “well you're telling me that L&D is only involved in the 10” and my answer to that is no L&D needs to be involved in the whole lot. Currently many L&D departments, many L&D professionals, are only focused on the 10. And there's a huge amount of headroom and huge opportunity because if they continue just to focus on the course paradigm, in learning being separate from work, they are not going to deliver the goods basically.

 

[Steve Dineen]  58:40  

Okay, well, thank you so much, Charles, thank you for the session. Hopefully that was informative. I just thought this was an amazing opportunity, seeing the impact of the work you're doing was up here and share it amongst our clients and others. And for those that are interested, there's another webinar, you know, on the 15th of July with Julian Stodd from... Also another question coming through. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  59:03  

Yeah, sorry, Julian Stodd from Sea Salt. So, again, actually Julian was another, was another organisation that Hilti used to deliver a different type of learning out there, which was how do they transform their trainers from maybe what traditional analogue type trainers to the classroom, traditionally socially savvy one. So again, I think there's another great partnership and someone else that we recommended to our client base that whole time to fill, you know, to help modernise back to that skill set question, a great feeling towards that one. So I think Julian helped with modernising the trainer skill set, if you like, into digital savvy, YouTube channel type expert, if you like. So once again, thank you for me and from you, Charles. 

 

[Charles Jennings]  59:42  

Thank you very much.Thanks, Steve. 

 

[Steve Dineen]  59:44  

And thank you so much for the opportunity to listen to you guys. Have a great day.

 

[Charles Jennings]  59:46 

Thanks, everyone. Okay, see you, bye.



Nihal Salah
Sep 30 2020

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