Impact Lab – Episode #4 A fresh perspective on Impact

17 Apr, 2023Tjarda Lamsma

Guest post from Bo Dury, co-host at Lepaya Impact Lab.

Impact Lab – Welcome to episode #4

“I’m losing one battle after another”

This is how it feels if you’re trying to create business value as a learning leader at a large company.

Let’s take an average Monday morning… 

First coffee, of course. At the coffee machine you overhear two employees complain that they don’t have enough learning opportunities. You wonder why they haven’t managed to find their way to the LMS you launched last year, you make a note to write another piece for the company newsletter… 

As you settle back at your desk, you check your inbox for response to the email you sent out last Monday. No responses. It was a good email, you kept it short and light, to ask a group of managers how their team members were performing after the time management training you organized. You make a mental note to ask Jenny over lunch…

John comes up to your desk, “can we discuss timelines for that communication training I requested last week?” You look up and wish you could spend more time with John, really dig into the root cause of his team’s challenges, but you have the analytics course to schedule as well. “Sure, John, what dates would you like?”. Next time you’ll take the time to do this properly…

Before you switch tabs to your calendar your eye catches a new email – only 3 leaders out of 10 attended their coaching sessions last week. Something about leading by example flashes through your mind, but you click through to your calendar to book in John’s communication training, at least you can please one person today…

If you recognise this, you’re not alone.

The learning function as a silo doesn’t work

Learning as a function has been set up as a support function, often siloed from the organization. 

Let’s look at what the research tells us about how we behave as L&D teams within an organization.

We often don’t know if learners actually apply new skills at work. Only 18% of L&D professionals evaluate behavior change by assessing learning transfer, and only 8% evaluate the wider impact of this on the organization

Designing learning with the end in mind is necessary for achieving individual and organizational outcomes. However, according to the MTB Learning & Performance Benchmark, only 42% of L&D professionals analyze the problem before recommending a solution and only 30% identify actions that individuals need to take for business goals to be achieved.

It’s not surprising, then, that a HBR meta-analysis found that only 10% of corporate learning is currently effective.  

Your journey to effective collaboration

Impact requires collaboration. It requires shared goals between an organization, learners and learning leaders. 

A high performing learning function is competent and confident at designing for impact, but perhaps even more importantly, it is good at recognising when its efforts will lead to business impact, and when they will not. And acting accordingly to prioritize their resources. 

Let’s rethink our Monday morning…

You meet John at the coffee machine. He looks preoccupied. You ask what’s up, and he explains he’s in a bit of a pickle. He has to deliver his business plan for the coming year, but he hasn’t figured out yet how to hit the targets he knows his manager is expecting. You ask further, and he tells you there’s a new technology the leadership team is looking to implement. It will automate a lot of manual steps, but will require a shift in ways of working and upskilling and reskilling of the teams. You offer to clear your diary to help John think through what’s needed for the teams to be successful, you have worked with the team before and have some insights on how they will deal with change. He’s immensely grateful for your support. 

Back at your desk, you reschedule the learner interviews you were going to have, to understand how a recent program has helped them onboard into their new role. That’s a pity, but that’s less urgent than supporting John right now, and they’ll likely be able to reschedule to later in the week. However, decide to still attend the leadership team meeting, where you’ll get an update on business metrics. If you don’t know how the business is doing, you can’t support it well.

Join the Impact Journey

If you feel inspired by this new Monday morning, we invite you to explore your journey to get there.

What does your impact landscape look like? We will explore and share new perspectives in our upcoming Impact Lab on collaboration for impact. And of course make sure you have actionable insights to change your Monday morning step by step.

Join our next Impact Lab and take the lead on the business impact you create through L&D.

Join the Impact Journey