Saturday, February 14, 2009

Developing a Strategic Learning Plan for Workplace Learning Professional. Aligning People to Business for Improved Learning Performance.

Developing a Strategic Learning Plan

The following will serve as a guide to develop an extraordinary strategic learning plan that links people to the business. It provide a unique route to improved performance.

Creating Awareness
Awareness involves creating a compelling picture that everyone can see.
The fundamental outcome of awareness is focus. Where do you want to be? How relevant is the learning function? Why should the organization not outsource the entire function? What needs to change if you are going to gain trust and respect at the executive level? How are employees involved in providing input and feedback? What do you offer or do better than anyone else, and how is this communicated throughout the organization?

Once you've identified the business need and determined opportunities to create value and positively affect the bottom line, it is important to communicate throughout the organization the purpose and role that the learning function has in solving a problem or contributing to the overall strategy. Even though the titles vary by organization (training, performance improvement, human capital management, and organizational effectiveness), the typical expectation of this role is that people will have the skills to do their jobs, leaders are developed to carry the organization forward, and overall productivity and performance continue to improve. In addition to these fundamental needs, the goal is to expand the expectations to include involvement in broader business objectives like improving core business processes, assisting with entering new markets faster, improving cycle time for product introduction, increasing customer satisfaction, and helping to reshape the culture.

Every learning strategy should answer the "what" and "how" questions at an intellectual and emotional level, so that employees will be more likely to take an active role in the learning experience. Needs first, solutions second!

Creating Alignment
You have alignment when all the system elements are connecting (people, processes, systems, and so forth).
Is everything and everyone focused on the business results? Balancing priorities, eliminating contradictions, removing constraints, and designing systems that support the learning goals can be a powerful contribution to the organization and can eliminate many internal and external customer frustrations. The learning function can play a significant role in eliminating silos. Many of the best practices inside organizations are not shared and, therefore, cause duplication of efforts, unnecessary outsourcing, conflicting messages, and lost revenue. Knowledge sharing and access to content are key factors in establishing a foundation for participatory learning. When people have information, resources, and support, it increases their capability to perform at peak

Creating Accountability
Are the right behaviors being reinforced? Is there accountability in your organization?
Having a shared purpose for learning is what motivates people to actively participate and contribute because they want to, not because they have to. Whether for individual development, team building, or leadership advancement, learning is everyone's business. Creating a culture that promotes, acknowledges, and rewards learning results in committed engagement and high performance rather than compliant apathy.

Creating Adaptation
Are ongoing adjustments made to keep the learning strategy on course?
The way we communicate is changing, technology is constantly changing at warp speed, learners are changing, and our role as learning professionals is changing. Learning is about change, but it doesn't have to be painful. When done well, people change for the better. Relationships change. Organizations change. It's about making appropriate small adjustments as the business evolves and monitoring results. It's deciding what to start, stop, and continue doing. The learning function can assume the scout role in monitoring competitive, trend, and benchmark data that help keep your organization out in front of the competition. What is your organization doing to enable employees to create the ideal customer experience? How does learning help to influence innovative thinking?



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