Commentary on Clive Shepherd’s commentary! The Towards Maturity Benchmarking Report 2015

Next week sees the official publication of this year’s Towards Maturity Benchmarking Report.

It's going to take a deep dive into understanding the business

It’s going to take a deep dive into understanding the business

Having been fortunate enough to catch up with Laura Overton and Marnie Threapleton at DevLearn 2015 where Laura gave something of a sneak preview of what was to come. Our friend, Clive Shepherd was one of the VIPs invited to the preview last week (in advance of the public release which you can tune into on the 5th November).  His recent post on LinkedIn confirms what many suspected but perhaps hoped was not the case: “the call seems only to be heard by the already converted. What TM calls the ‘Top Deck’ (those organisations that are showing the best results from their L&D efforts) are shooting ahead, overcoming barriers and exploring all the possibilities for workplace learning in all its contexts, formal and informal. The rest have been stuck for years.” As Clive says, the future is already here and there’s never been a better time to truly facilitate learning if we can shake off the shackles of the past.  I’ve just interviewed Clark Quinn for Learning Now Radio on this very subject, as its certainly not a UK only problem or just an L&D problem.  A significant barrier that should not be underestimated is how they are perceived by the rest of the business.  There are regular calls for L&D to be on the top table, which for many feels impossible, but the visionary, tenacious few that have done it and seen great results (such as Silver Award winner at the 2015 Learning Awards, Rick Jackson at DHL). Its about starting the conversation in terms of performance challenges and understanding at a deep level the inputs and outputs that make up the value chain to deliver your organisations products or services.  It takes a true partnership approach, a systematic exploration of workflow, an open-minded view of learning and an understanding of how to maximise technology, informal learning opportunities and build effective learning scaffolds that will get you noticed.  Link your solutions to real business metrics and you’ll pack a punch few senior teams could ignore. I for one would love to see some more substantive research in the quantitate impact of just the types of things you mention, such as thriving CoPs, blended learning ecosystems etc. This may seem like a daunting task but with learning as part of the workflow, it should then be a key element and a feed into the business metrics of the organisation. We can shake off the ROI of a single intervention (which in itself is crazy, as life simply isn’t that binary) if we look at the inputs to and knowledge needed to achieve key business objectives. Perhaps it’s time I dusted off the PhD idea 😉


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