As a learning leader, learning implementation or bridging the gap between what happens in the classroom and on the job, requires a keen understanding of job requirements as well as a firm understanding of best practices.

Ed Emde, president of Wilson Learning Corp, offers his 6 best practices in an article that appeared in the November/December 2016 issue of the CLOmedia.com newsletter.[1] The following are the first three of these practices:

  1. Link to Business Strategy. With clear linkage to business strategy, learning organizations can get support and active involvement from the organization’s other leaders. As an example of a successful liaison of learning with business strategy, Emde cites DuPont Pioneer’s sales force under the direction of Kent Carpenter, Pioneer’s sales training manager. Carpenter’s training team provides expert learning technologies, skills and tools to a sales force consisting of several small business owners.

“Our training is always about meeting a business need,” states Carpenter. “Identifying the gap in existing knowledge, skills and abilities needed to drive performance provides the important link that delivers useful learning.”[2]

Lean learning works on the same learning implementation principles. Identifying the gap is the first step in detecting any area in offices, factories and workplaces where improvement can increase efficiency, effectiveness and sales—thus enhancing the all-over lean culture or environment.

  1. Gain executive sponsorship. Experience has taught learning leaders that involving executives in the initial process of designing the organization’s learning program supports the first best practice of identifying learning needs or gaps at the outset. Emde’s example of successful executive involvement is Michael Woodard, global learning leader for GE Power Services. With the responsibility of developing thousands of employees in 120 countries, Woodard relies on a global advisory board of executives to develop a strategy that will identify areas that need to be addressed in order to achieve optimal results.
  2. Plan ongoing communication. Experience has taught every organization that repetition is the most impactful way to deliver new learning strategies and ensure learning implementation. Each of lean learning’s protocols includes a careful process of review, analysis, evaluation and sharing that leaves nothing to chance when identifying areas that require attention for introducing new learning procedures.

A common practice for ensuring consistency in communication is the development of a check list or questionnaire that combines learning implementation with repetition. Whether the issue is related to management, product development or performance, lean’s charts, diagrams, reports and recorded narratives are integrally linked for each operational step.

(Next week we will discuss the remaining 3 of the 6 best practices of learning implementation for learning leaders.)

[1] “6 Best Practices We Can All Get Behind,” by Ed Emde. CLOmedia.com, November/December 2016.

[2] Ibid.