If all L&D have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail


A long held criticism of ‘L&D’ is that it is “full of solutions looking for a problem”. This often links to an inability to reflect the business context within which they are trying to facilitate change.

Some helpful questions to understand the context and cultural norms in an organisation could include:

How do people describe “high performance” around here?

How is the performance gap(s) to be tackled articulated?

What is the nature of the work to be improved? ‘Standardised, repeatable’ work?; ‘Complex’ work?; ‘Discovery’ work?

Are we currently a ‘learning organisation’? If yes, then why and how?

How easily and quickly do information and ideas move around the organisation?

How low in the organisation’s team structure can decisions be made?

How important is compliance and efficiency to the organisation?

How outward looking is the organisation for ideas and new inspiration?

Which individual and team behaviours are measured? and rewarded?

What is the current expectation of ‘L&D’ from the business? (“Take care of compliance training”?; “Create courses and resources”?; “Create the environment for continuous learning”?; “Change the culture here…”?)

All of which should help to agree a way forward which reflects the true priorities of the organisation. (And the big choices to be made to affect real change).

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