In the move from training activity being classroom centric to a more balanced approach, much has been written about the 70-20-10 approach to learning and development, but have we thrown out the baby with the bath water?
Let’s get some common understanding:
70 percent of learning should happen on the job – macro – step by step, words in a sentence if you like
20 percent of learning should be from coaching – micro – the role, paragraphs if you like
10 percent of learning should be from courses or reading – Global – the context, the whole story
In the real world
What seems to happen in reality is that with reductions to the duration of training courses (typically from 1 week to 1 day over the last 20 years for leadership training); the content has shifted from macro level content, or how to do certain things to a more global or big picture scenario. Certainly on course details of some factors are given, but due to time pressures, the way to implement such skills is often skipped with the assumption that manager or colleagues will coach back at the work place. Whilst in theory this is great, the reality of LEAN workplaces means that timely support is rarely given, thus the real impact of such interventions is dispersed.
What people need
Many training courses are now at the level of global awareness, or big picture, but is this what most of our employees (and businesses) need? In business we need people to “do the business”. In training terms this typically means:
Job specific training or “hand holding”, step by step, this is what you need to do
General topic training or “capacity building”, where the context and some tools or methods are explained.
Both are needed, but are they done in the appropriate depth and by the appropriate people?
Just show me how
As the world gets busier and faster, we need more “just in time training”, this combined with the “YouTube” or “Google” generation mean that we have populations that need short term focused explanations of what it is we want them to do. The context is often irrelevant (or perceived as irrelevant) to them. It’s more of “just show me how”.
Have courses got it right?
For many technical and safety related programs I believe they are on the right track, which the what, where and how, and an expectation that when people get to the job, they are 95% ready and just need a little direction.
For management and leadership courses however I think things are very different.
In the past, on the longer trainings, tools and skills were trained, and then put into context. What seems to have happened is that the tools have been retained, but without time to show how to implement or use. So when participants get back to the work place, they have the same 5-10 tools, but without the real understanding of where and when to implement. Often managers seem to be at a loss to support this too!
We see evidence of this on the various forums and discussion groups. The real impact of middle and senior leader training is diminishing.
Team leaders are key
One of the most important levels of management in any business is team leader level. These are our first line managers, and they are the people that can make or break our business. If we continue to train superficially, we will continue to see our people disengaged and company values not communicated consistently, and business performance drop.
The challenge is not to distil our “old” manager programs, but to change the content and support. For every team leader that attends a development program we need to train their manager too.
We cannot expect to change the method of training without giving managers both the skills and TIME to take on this change of role.
What do you think?
What can training and line managers do to redress the balance?
Have we missed a trick at the micro, macro and global training levels with the switch to 70-20-10?