Performance Is More Than Support – People that drive learning strategy

people-lowPeople The changing nature of roles, skills and knowledge required for those in learning based professions has been apparent for a number of years.  There have been those that accuse L&D of sleepwalking into extinction at its most dramatic and a distinct gulf between what Towards Maturity regard as the ‘top deck’ and other learning development departments at a more even tempered tone. However, its should be acknowledged that learning and development can have a very tough time elevating the conversation above the catalogue and truly drive learning strategy. Current discussion has focussed much more on the part L&D themselves play in perpetuating traditional expectations of the learning function. Yet it is much more nuanced than that and the perception of learning can be quite engrained in a business, making it tough for learning and development to get the airtime they need to sell in the importance of supporting the learning journey. Whether that journey is formal or informal, there are significant and meaningful roles learning and development taking in assuring excellent performance (and by meaningful, we mean impacting the real business metrics of the business).  Learning as part of the workflow is critical to achieving business performance and should be at the heart of learning strategy.   It has perhaps never been more important in the information and imagination age.   This is where the performance lens really comes into its own and its why we’ve recently published content on learning and development as the performance catalysts. The definition of a catalyst helps contextualise the dynamics of performance and how we can go about making great decisions in improving it. It is not shackled by a particular approach, technology or model, it needs to understand the elements at play, their interactions and the barriers that may be preventing achieving the desired outcomes. It’s a term you can use as a way to frame the role learning play and help recognise how critical it is and can be. The role is multi faceted; it is a performance consultant who conducts deep analysis of a desired business outcome, the inputs that determine success, the learning needs associated with making that happen and evaluating whether the solutions have been effective.  It’s finding the right suppliers, tools and technology to provide the most appropriate mediums that best fit the context of your organisation’s performance improvement needs, as well as know what’s on the horizon that could yield further benefit.  Its understanding what you already have and whether you are maximising its value – are opportunities for mentoring, performance champions, communities and user generated content going untapped?  Are managers, leaders, recruitment strategy, talent strategy and reward aligned to supporting and perpetuating a performance culture?  Where’s the low hanging fruit?  Is it really a learning need or a hole in process, a case study unshared? In our final instalment next week, we’ll take this performance approach and explore some typical learning challenges.