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Why You May Be Responsible For The Disconnect Between Learning & Strategy… And How To Fix It

They say that perception is reality.  What if perception is that your learning department is perceived to have minimal impact on corporate strategy?  According to a recent Deloitte Study, only 14% of the L&D leaders believe business leaders view them as strategic partners.  If that’s the case, who do you think they blame for that perceived reality? You might think it’s not your fault, but is it?

Do you use interview or surveys as your primary form of needs assessment?

Do you use history to determine your class schedule?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you may be contributing to the disconnect between learning and strategy.

When you ask people for their opinion or perception about what training may be needed next year, you’re probably only getting part of the picture, the things each person can think of…the symptoms.

When you use history for needs analysis to create your class schedule, you’re making the assumption that the people who were in those classes were the right people, and that an equal number of people will have the same need, in the same location, next year.

How does any of that connect to corporate strategy?

 

Corporate Strategy

The CEO’s job is to come up with the big picture strategy of what the organization should accomplish in the long-term.  The Chief Operating Officer’s job is to identify how the organization will accomplish these goals, one year at a time.  The COO works with the rest of the organization to determine what each part needs to accomplish to ensure the annual goals are met.  So corporate strategy gets translated from the top so that each person, in each department, has a role they will play to execute it. 

Learning

The role of Talent, Learning & Development is to ensure that people in the organization have the skills to be able to execute their role.  The competency model is the translation of the skills requirements.   

Just as the COO wouldn’t “wing it” without a plan, L&D shouldn’t “wing it” either.  The competency model for each role is the plan, and then you create competency-based learning to increase the likelihood that each person CAN accomplish their goals.  If you don’t know what skills they need, how can you possibly train on the right skills?!

That’s why performing needs analysis without a competency model is so flawed.  How can you possibly know what your audience needs if you don’t know what skills they should have? 

Next, you must map each skill for each role to the learning opportunities you have or need to have, to ensure you have competency-based learning.  This ensures that every learning opportunity you create or maintain has some value as it relates to corporate strategy.  Any learning opportunity that isn’t mapped is waste.  It’s just that simple.

Now, imagine if each person assesses their skills against the competency model for their role.  And each of those skills is mapped to competency-based learning.  The aggregated demand for each learning opportunity would be calculated for you instantly.  

  • No more guessing what to build or buy, or what to offer when and where; you would know exactly who needs what. 
  • Budgets, schedules and your development plans can be based upon fact.
  • You have justification to say “no” when someone asks for content to be developed that you know is not required.

And as the skill requirements change, they drive new competency-based learning.

Just as you may be responsible for the disconnect between learning and strategy, you can also be responsible for bringing them together.  Embrace competency models and competency-based learning and you can change both the perception and the reality that your learning department delivers maximum value to the organization.

 

 

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