I will also develop my facilitation
skills through completing the unit “Facilitating collective and social
learning”, within the CIPD course I am undertaking through Avado (Avadolearning.com,
2017). Work on this unit will begin at the end of
this year. I believe this will help me
to think about how to facilitate learning outside of a more traditional
classroom setting (which the current training system will be based on). This will be an opportunity to understand and
apply innovative and leading techniques for learning from experts within the
To help ensure the training
process is well designed, I will do this in collaboration with the Head of
Quality Management Systems in the organisation.
This person has qualifications in various quality approaches, including Six
Sigma (Mindtools.com, n.d.)
and ISO (Iso.org, n.d.) as well as 14
years’ experience within the organisation and therefore will be able to guide
me through how to create effective processes as well as how to evaluate and
improve them. This option will allow me
to reach this objective within the given timeframes as the resource is
Another key development objective
I will be focussing on is being able to “Facilitate internal learning events and workshops, delivering
content as appropriate.”, this
is taken from the professional area of Learning & Development (CIPD, 2014).
My current responsibilities centre
around delivering training, however, this project required different skillsets which
enable me to facilitate delivery. I will
need skills in establishing processes and guidelines for the training to ensure
consistency in the approach and quality.
I know that I learn most quickly
when I learn from others and that there are rapidly approaching deadlines I
need to meet, making this development option suitable for the learning
requirement and the timeframes.
In addition to this, I will be
seeking feedback from the business sponsor for this project as to whether they
are happy with how things are progressing and the milestone deadlines I have in
place. Where necessary, I will then use the feedback to make amends to the
project plan and how I am running the project, with support from my project
I have asked for a member of the
project management team to mentor me in identifying and applying the use of
appropriate resources and techniques to help me monitor project progress and
stay on track. I will adapt frameworks
they provide and then seek their feedback on how I’ve applied them and make
improvements based on our subsequent conversations. I had previously thought of using project
management resources and templates available online and from Microsoft tools,
but I would still need to be able to apply them appropriately to what I am
trying to achieve and believe it would be more efficient and beneficial to
learn from expertise and experience already within the organisation.
One key development objective from
the “Driven to Deliver” behaviour
of the CIPD Profession Map (CIPD, 2014), is to be able to track progress and
resolve issues promptly when projects are slipping. This project involves managing and
coordinating multiple workstreams and personnel across different office
locations which I know I will find challenging.
In order to meet this goal there are objectives I have identified
through a self-assessment (see
Appendix C) using the CIPD Profession Map (CIPD, 2014). These are key in helping me to achieve the above goal.
Over the next 9 months my primary focus is to deliver a
centralised system which facilitates subject matter experts (SME) delivering training
within the organisation, this is to improve knowledge levels of employees and
increase a culture of sharing and collaboration. This project requires me to work more closely
with senior managers and with a wider range of teams and therefore it is a
fantastic opportunity to raise my profile within the organisation and promote a
positive view of the Learning & Development department. This goal is also important to me personally,
because it forms a significant part of my transition back from the India
office, where I’ve been based for the last 2 years, to being based in the UK
and Personal Development Planning
Therefore, awareness of political behaviour within organisations is not
only important in executing learning initiatives and seeking necessary support
in working collaboratively with others, but also in identifying what the
initiatives may be.
Understanding the political culture which exists can help to explain
what may be helping or hindering the performance of organisations and can
therefore contribute to L priorities.
For example, it’s important for employees to have clarity of how and where they can find
answers and of working within a fair system with a clear hierarchy (Zeiger,
2017). Where employees struggle to find
the information they need, at the point they need it, this could highlight a
political issue for L&D departments to address.
Michael Jarrett identifies 4 different types of organisational politics and
suggests that having an understanding of these is important in understanding
and navigating them, in order to achieve the required results (Jarrett, 2017). One of the 4 types Jarrett identifies is “The
Rocks” which is classified as a type of organisational politics concerning
interactions with authoritative sources, which could hinder or assist in
organisational progress. For example, the
L&D department may have identified a lack of product knowledge amongst
helpdesk staff which is hindering their ability to effectively support
customers, therefore they approach the manager of the product development team
to request their team members to provide training for the helpdesk staff. The manager of the team may see it as an
activity they do not have time for and refuse.
An option in this situation could be to try to reason with the manager
to demonstrate why this would be beneficial to them, alternatively it could be
beneficial to seek help from strong relationships held with individuals of a similar
level of authority to the manager who may be able to override the product
development manager’s decision.
Political behaviour in organisations may be identified as “sophisticated influencing strategies
and tactics” in order to achieve one’s own objectives and suggests negative
However, there are suggestions that political behaviour can be positive,
where the outcome is beneficial to the organisations, and that this is a key
Behaviour in Organisations
Whether looking at groups as a whole or at
an individual level, it is also important to consider how political behaviour
within organisations may hinder or help performance and in what forms this can
Looking beyond the group as a whole, Belbin
identified 9 team roles and the importance of ensuring these different
skillsets are present within them (Belbin.com,
2015). Through working with
managers on their team’s objectives I help them to consider matching the
different strengths of the individuals to different tasks. For example, one team has a requirement to
produce quarterly metrics to present to senior managers, but they were
struggling to complete this on time.
Through assessing strengths and skillsets within the team we were able
to identify an individual with the characteristics Belbin identified as an
“Implementer”, who was more suited than the current assigned individual to
produce the metrics on time.
Bruce Tuckman identified that there were 4
development stages which teams consistently go through, these are, forming,
storming, norming and performing (later adding a 5th, adjourning) (Bonebright, 2010). Through identifying the predictability
of group development, L professionals are able to implement initiatives
to work through the stages and arrive at an optimal stage of performing. For example, I have facilitated sessions
where the groups analyse how they are working, identifying the challenges in
the storming phase, and coming up with ways of being able to work more
effectively together in order to more quickly reach the performing phase.
Kurt Lewin arguably played a key role in
building foundations for understanding group dynamics, looking at the group as
a whole as greater than the sum of its parts (Smith, 2001).
Lewin identified that groups were formed based on their interdependence
on their fate and the interdependence on task and that this is important to
consider in understanding their behaviour (particularly when thinking about how
to bring about change). Within my
organisation groups are increasingly being formed in order to accomplish
specific tasks, for example, a requirement to change the way the company uses
its servers led to the formation of a team comprising of individuals from
different departments and another organisation.
The world of work is seeing the nature of teams shifting
away from traditional formations and towards “swarming” (Loon and Stuart, 2014), where
relevant individuals will rapidly come together in order to complete a task and
then disperse. For L
professionals, this highlights the importance of understanding the nature of
groups and how they can work effectively together.
During the project, one of the mentors said that they could no
longer commit time to carrying out the role.
I arranged a meeting to seek renewed commitment, however, knowing that
they may use their more senior position to refuse, I needed to be prepared to negotiate.
Through using the RADPAC model (Managementstudyguide.com,
n.d.), it was possible to come to an
agreement which suited both sides.
Already having a good rapport with the mentor, we were able to
comfortably analyse and understand each other’s requirements. The mentor understood that I was looking for
support and consistency for the participant, and I understood that the mentor felt
they couldn’t commit enough time to this.
Therefore, we came to an agreement to identify a different mentor for the
participant, but that they would be involved in transitioning the relationship
and to consult where required.
Some participants in the program admitted that they were not highly
motivated to work towards their goals, which reduced the chances of reaching
the desired learning outcomes. I felt it
was appropriate to take an approach which gave them the opportunity to explore
their understanding of the values of the goals.
Through a process of listening to their thoughts and paraphrasing back
to them, I was able to demonstrate understanding, build rapport and increase
their receptiveness to suggestions I had.
I then took them through a
series of statements to complete from a tool called “Creating powerful intentions”
(Jones and Gorell, 2015). The questions in the tool prompted participants
to consider their own reasons for wanting to achieve their goals, building
motivation from within.
I was able to influence the decision of those previously sceptical
through calling a meeting and using techniques identified by Robert Cialdini of
asserting my authority and gaining consensus (Influenceatwork.com, 2017). I asserted myself as a credible source on the
subject through demonstrating knowledge in the field and sharing information
about the practices and successes of mentoring and the benefits they could
expect (Whitmore. J, 2011). Within the meeting there were people I’d
worked with before on similar projects who were able to talk positively about
their previous experiences and the benefits of mentoring, this helped to
influence the views of others.
Mentors play a key role in the success of the program so it was
important to gain their commitment from the start, however, a number were
reluctant to do so, fearing that they wouldn’t have time, were inexperienced
and that the mentoring should be performed by someone in the L department.
Persuading and Negotiating
Leader identified that the team were frequently missing work deadlines. I asked, “Why do the team miss deadlines?”, and
added “Why” to the start of each previous answer they gave (see Appendix
B). The final question was “Why don’t
they see the impact this has on the client and project delivery?” and the
answer was that the Team Leader didn’t share this information with the team;
this led to him setting a goal to expose the team to the consequences of their
work being late to help them improve the timeliness of their work.
A problem experienced during the project was when team leaders
struggled to identify how issues within their teams were within their control
and could be influenced by improvements in their leadership. Through applying the 5 Why’s technique (Mindtools.com, n.d.) we were able to find the root causes which
needed to be addressed.
and Resolving Problems
To help keep the project on track I use a scheduled weekly meeting
with my manager combined with the “LeadershipProgramTrainingCase”
(see Appendix A) which captures information about the
objectives of the program, the approach, expectations and risks. This provides a platform for discussing current and
expected results and whether the program is on track and meeting the learning objectives.
Each day I apply the rules from the book of “Eat That Frog!” (Tracy. B, 2007) tackling the task which is going to add most value first, even if the
least appealing, this helps to prevent me from
procrastinating. I apply the rule to
tasks within the project which are key to keeping momentum and support going
for the candidates, such as follow-up notes from review sessions.
I have periodical reviews with each of the 29 team leaders and
their managers to check on progress towards goals, levels of motivation and the
effectiveness of the relationship between them. I organise my time to gain maximum efficiency
by allocating Tuesdays and Thursdays for small group sessions like this, if I
jump too frequently between different tasks I find my effectiveness is reduced.
I’m currently working on a leadership development program for 29
team leaders which I’ve devised in collaboration with business sponsors and
managers. The program has involved workshops
delivered by an external company, establishing personal development plans with
relevant line managers, coaching and mentoring, and will conclude with an
evaluation for each participant.
I am currently setting up a training delivery system where subject
matter experts train others within the organisation. The business sponsor is expecting a number of
benefits from this. I will need to
remain driven to overcome the challenges I encounter and deliver the system, so
that the benefits to the business can be realised.
It is important for people to see me as credible in order to gain their
trust and build effective working relationships. One of the ways I’m able to do this is to seek
feedback from others, for example, asking for feedback on my presentation style
has made others more receptive to critiquing their own.
As an L&D professional, my curiosity has enabled me to explore
new technologies including Microsoft’s Flow and PowerApps, which has improved the
efficiency of a training booking process.
teams (Loon and Stuart, 2014)
which can form quickly to meet changes to business direction and demand, are
increasing. Facilitating effective
relationships across teams helps employees to prepare for these future
requirements and adapt quickly.
6.13.2 A program
I run for team leaders is designed to build strong working relationships with managers
as their mentors. A lack of engagement
from the managers leads to a less successful outcome for the team leaders,
therefore seeking to enthuse and motivate managers from the start is
6.9.1 The use of
discussion forums within my organisation has enabled greater collaboration
across offices, however, these are only effective when employees are aware and know
how to use them. Therefore, L need
to ensure understanding throughout the organisation.
6.34.1 Being able
to assess the cost and returns on learning initiatives is key. I’ve had a request for a previous learning
program to be repeated with a new group.
Data about the cost of training and value added has facilitated the
decision by the relevant manager to approve repeating the program.
6.26.1 Having an
understanding of approaches used by different organisations is valuable when
considering what is appropriate within my own.
This has been important in assessing the merits of different learning
management systems to introduce to the organisation.
6.29.1 Different learning
and delivery channels have different cost implications as well as levels of
effectiveness. For example, when working
with people on face-to-face communication skills, I find that videos can be
useful as a learning supplement through supporting independent learning and cost
effectiveness, but that practical application is key for this learning
Below, I explore why certain areas of knowledge, skills and
behaviours identified from the CIPD Profession Map (CIPD, 2014) are key for L&D professionals.
Skills and Behaviours required by L&D Professionals
In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA)
world (CIPD, 2015), the role of an L&D
Consultant is emerging out of a need to address the challenges this poses to
organisations. L&D Consultants can
add value to organisations through understanding the business strategy,
assessing metrics and designing appropriate learning initiatives. 54% of L&D professionals see their role
developing in this way (Overton
and Dixon, 2016), indicating a shift away from basic design and delivery
of learning material.
Findings by the CIPD suggest that L&D role changes are being
driven by key external factors; economic changes, technological changes and
social and cultural shifts (CIPD,
2015). With these factors in
mind, it is suggested that L&D professionals are needing to become more innovative in terms of the learning options available, which take into
account cost of learning, how different people learn effectively and locations
of learners. This is driving a
requirement for L&D professionals to be able to perform the role of
curator, pulling together resources and pointing learners in the right
direction through a variety of options such as learning platforms, social media
discussion forums, amongst others, rather than a focus only on designing and
Roles in L&D
(Towards Maturity, 2016) suggests an emphasis on the effectiveness of social
and collaborative learning within L&D, with a 183% increase in file sharing
software and a 55% increase in internal social networks. Whilst this may help
to deliver learning at the point it is required, it poses questions for L&D professionals as to how they can
effectively facilitate this, as well as the impact this may have on blurring
the boundaries between work and personal life.
Despite emerging trends in technology, research has found that face-to-face
classroom based training in organisations is still frequently used as a method
of formal learning (Towards
Maturity, 2016), despite an
expectation for this to reduce. There may be scope for this to shift as
younger generations who may be more familiar with technology enter the
workforce and as organisations increase effective use of other learning
The use of technology is playing a greater
role in L&D in many ways, for example, through the use of learning
management systems, MOOCs and collaborative software. Recent findings (CIPD, 2015) highlight
the emphasis organisations are placing on technology as a learning method and
that 59% of respondents are expecting an increased use of e-learning courses in
the next 2 years. However, only 12% of
the respondents identified these as one of the most effective methods they
use. This suggests a perceived benefit
to e-learning, but that this benefit is not being fully realised yet.
Developments in L&D