Insight

Get Strategic with Learning & Development

Do you need to address an area of learning and performance, but don’t know where to start?

Perhaps you have a key operational role and it’s taking too long for them to master it -resulting in low performance and missed targets.  Or maybe your sales channels don’t understand your products and services well enough to have confident, credible conversations with customers – resulting in lost revenue.  Or you know induction isn’t working well for anyone – resulting in lower engagement and poor productivity.    

When it seems a bit overwhelming and you can’t get started, or when you find you’re spending your time fighting fires in a known problem area, it’s time for a more strategic approach.  

If it’s a complex area, you need to start with a framework.  It’s the best approach for tackling company or leadership induction, role capability, professional development, sales and service performance, and many other strategic initiatives.  

What makes a good framework?  

From a learning and performance perspective, a framework is:

A diagrammatical representation, showing the structure and interrelationships of the learning and performance elements.  

A good framework:

  • Is visual.  People get lost with lots of words or within a complex matrix, but a graphical overview or representation is easily absorbed and understood. (While it's a working document, it might not be very pretty, but it can be redesigned later to be more appealing to end users.)
  • Can be represented on one page or screen. Anyone should be able to absorb it in a few seconds. Then they may drill down or link out to greater levels of detail.
  • Has substance and depth. It is not a list of ordered topics! Depending on what the framework is for, it might need topics, scoping statements, pathways and parameters, or capability areas, statements and sub-statements.
  • Is a useable blueprint. The strategic thinking is completed, and it's ready to be handed over for development and implementation. This is similar to the architectural plans which have received consent, and are ready for hand over to the building team. It can't be conceptual because it's not usable.

What will a framework do for you?

A framework brings clarity.  So with a learning and performance (or capability) framework, you will have:

  • a sense of order, knowing that everything has its place and everything is integrated
  • an agreed visual map as the basis for further stakeholder discussion and agreements
  • clarity and agreement on the priorities and quick wins
  • an easy way to identify which components need to be reviewed, modified or developed
  • a roadmap towards the overall solution allowing you to plan resources, budgets and timeframes
  • a constant reminder of the bigger picture (your ongoing point of reference) to keep you thinking strategically rather than being reactionary
  • a sense of calm, knowing that it’s all in control.

With a framework, you can confidently relax knowing you have clarity on how to proceed, and that you’ve moved from being reactive to taking a more strategic approach.

How about an example?

The company is a provider of agricultural products, and their challenge was to upskill their global sales force to have confident and credible conversations with their high value technical clients. There were many conflicting opinions and perspectives about what was needed, and there had been some ad-hoc initiatives undertaken in an attempt to fill some gaps.  However a framework was needed – mapping out a comprehensive solution which would incorporate the requirements of all stakeholders.  

To help design the framework, we invited experienced high-achieving salespeople, relatively new salespeople, a sales manager, product managers, technical experts, and sales capability leaders to a framework session.  To design a robust framework, we knew we needed to consider:

·        best practice principles and philosophies

·        audience profiles

·        levels of capability

·        assessment points

·        topics and outcomes

·        learning methods

·        performance support tools

·        the learner experience

·        flexible pathways

·        recommended timelines

·        leader support aspects

·        other integrations, and

·        business practicalities and parameters.  

In just one day, we designed a product and sales capability framework, which works for a new salesperson as well as for an experienced salesperson who wants to upskill or move into new product areas.  The framework made use of existing resources and identified the gaps.  It starts with industry knowledge, moves to category knowledge and product knowledge, and into technical solution selling.  It was developed with a combination of delivery methods including eLearning, reference tools, workshops, events, and is supported by coaching from the sales managers.  

Now in place, it provides all sales people with a structured way to develop their skill and knowledge, helping them to maximise their own success as well as the company’s.

Lastly...

Facilitating the design of a learning and performance framework is challenging.  Depending on the complexity of the area being addressed, a framework session could easily take a full day, with follow up.  If you add up the salaries in the room, that can be a pretty expensive day. But when planned and facilitated well, this group session will optimise everyone’s time and effort.  You’ll all be on the same page, and you’ll already have buy-in from key people who helped create it.  

By the end of the session, everyone should walk away feeling satisfied about what you’ve achieved, clear on the recommended solution, and excited about what comes next.  

If you know you need a framework, and you'd like to be guided by an expert, give us a call on 9 520 5820 to discuss.

We love bringing clarity through frameworks!