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Assumptions about Leading Learning & Development (L&D) Initiatives & Programmes

Assumptions about Leading Learning & Development (L&D) Initiatives & Programmes

What are the assumptions that leaders in organisations often make, when leading L&D initiatives & programmes?

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by Goh Swee Heng

Often, people find it easy to make assumptions & stick to what they believe in.

Time & time again, I have come across leaders in organisations who believed in the following 2 assumptions.

Such assumptions were used by leaders as reasons to avoid putting in adequate thought & effort when leading L&D initiatives & programmes.

Assumption Number ONE : Leading L&D Initiatives is Easy

Let's face it - Leading L&D initiatives is never easy.

For many, it's not natural & it often require both expertise & experience acquired through both training & development.

Many leaders often believe that just because they have been on the receiving end of L&D programmes & are learners themselves, therefore leading L&D should be a piece of cake.

In fact, people who are put in charge of leading & implementing L&D initiatives, have to be skillful in many areas from being humble & approachable to being able to get buy-in & able to influence fellow peers as well as employees to accept & embrace new learning methods & technologies.

This is in addition to Strong Instructional Design Skills & a Deep Understanding of How Adults Learn.

Trying to lead & implement L&D initiatives is often not very different from being a Learning Leader (for eg, Chief Learning Officer) trying to lead learning in an organisation, especially a large one.

As Leaders, who are trying to lead learning, here's a path that can increase the likelihood of success:

  • Learn how to analyse employee performance & from it, elicit learning needs required before providing employees what they need in order to succeed.
  • Learn to communicate effectively with stakeholders & break down silos so to engender collaboration to bring across L&D initiatives more effectively.
  • Learn to keep eye on changes that can impact L&D initiatives & intervene appropriately.

Assumption Number TWO : I subscribe to the [Pick a specific L&D] model for our organisation.

Instead of determining the L&D model that will best suit our organisation, we often identify the latest L&D model & proceed to recommend it for our organisation.

Be it the much touted 70-20-10 L&D model or heavily vaunted 3-33 Pervasive L&D model, we often overlook our own workplace context by relying too much on ready-made L&D models.

We end up focusing more on how best to use a ready-made L&D model than on addressing our L&D issues.

For a L&D model to bring about sustainable & meaningful impact, it needs relevance & more importantly, Organisational Alignment.

Finally, successful L&D initiatives & programmes focus on challenges that the organisation faces & the explicit goals it wants to attain.

Learning & Development is after all, about helping the organisation grow through its people & their capabilities.