What’s wrong with 70-20-10 in learning and development?

In my view the whole concept of 70-20-10 for learning and development is fundamentally flawed. What this says about anyone in the development field is that they are in the 10% team and if you are lucky enough to be able to stretch into coaching on the job, you may even make it to a 20 or 30% team, but the mother load of all learning in this set-up falls on supervisors, team leaders and manager for the on the job bit. Now I don’t know where the inventors of this idea have been hiding, but in most organisations doing more with less is the order to the day thanks to the economic conditions, heavy restructuring etc.; which effectively translates as follows managers don’t have time to look up from their day duties for long enough to go and explore and engage in meaningful learning activities for their team, the bottom-line is more important.

Jut in case you haven’t heard of this concept before this model suggest that 70% of our learning is on the job through experience, 20% of our learning is informal and 10% of our learning is formally done either in classroom or on courses. I am not sure where this concept was floated first, but I guess in the need to portray a soft industry into hard figures, someone must have thought this was a brilliant idea and a multitude of providers have jumped on the bandwagon to be your 10% provider of learning services. I agree with the base idea that most of us learn to do our job best by doing it, the whole 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration works for me.

Where this model starts to be a misfit, is when you look at the profiles of leaders. Every single leader I have worked with as a coach or trainer, has been an avid reader, course and learning seeker. Every biography of world and business leaders I have ever read always mentioned who their mentors were, the fact that they had great teachers or were once again readers or experimenters, who learn from their projects. The one thing leaders have in common is their hunger for learning and they actively seek these opportunities.

I don’t believe many days go buy without some form of informal learning for me personally and I would class myself in the learning geek category of exploring new courses all of the time in order to share more knowledge and gain more skills to serve my client base better. So my % of informal learning is probably a lot higher than a mere 20%, my levels of formal learning are also way above 10% at any given time. When I look at my coaching client base, they would be the same and granted maybe like attracts like, I haven’t met many high achievers who don’t beat these odds pretty much all of the time.

When it comes to the 70% of on the job learning, I would agree in the early days of a new job this figure may well be accurate, but if this ratio stays over a longer tenure, then I would start wondering about the ability of the individual. In my working life there isn’t a day that goes by where I haven’t picked up a nugget from a colleague or tested out a new way of working for myself, but most of the time my habits tend to be quite solid and the same. It is through actively seeking new information and skills that I learn best, so for me the model is probably upside down and I would even say 60/40 with 60% actively seeking new knowledge and 40% on the job implementing.

Maybe I work in a learning bubble and have surrounded myself with like minded individuals, but most people I know of my own generation and younger tend to be life long learners of some kind. The way in which we learn has changed and is definitely edging towards fun and experiential sessions but the balance in the 70-20-10 model is definitely questionable and in my view outright unfeasible.

When an idol, guru, leader or mentor let’s you down

With the whole Lance Armstrong story fresh in our minds, it brought a bigger question up for me, namely what do we do when the people we look up to and are inspired by let us down?

I read all of Lance Armstrong’s books and definitely felt inspired by the determination and focus as well as the fight with cancer. No matter what he did in order to achieve his wins in the Tour de France, that inspiration didn’t go away, in fact his whole admission in my eyes is brave. I believe that the truth is a lot less hard to carry on living with than a lie. I don’t condone his actions and definitely fundamentally disagree with doping and the army of enablers and facilitators that it took to pull it off so many times and I also agree he needs to live with the consequences of his actions. But admitting all this took courage and he lost a lot as a result from respect to fortune. But it confirms his humanity all the same, the super-human endeavours of all the wins, but also the turning point when he saw his sone defend him and how that made him feel. That’s humanity and it takes a great character to give everything up in order to be honest in the eyes of the ones he truly loves.

In my view Lance Armstrong’s story is not a stand alone situation, having dealt with high achievers in business through my coaching, there often is a clash of drive versus values as well as a consistent striving for competitive advantage and opportunity to take short cuts. To achieve the ultimate pinnacle in sport or business some decisions are made which with hindsight knowledge turn out to be massively regrettable, Enron jumps to my mind as another such story. The protagonists in these stories have to learn to live with their actions and consequences and believe me guilt and regret are not the easiest feelings to process. Let’s not forget we all make mistakes and when they are of such proportion that turning back could bring a whole sport or business down, then the decision to come clean is no longer simple and clearcut it has massive implications.

As said in the interview it will be a long process to work through for Lance Armstrong and it will take persistent courage to keep going, because of the scale of the whole set-up and equally the amount of people involved that he publicly bullied, humiliated and wronged. For all of that to heal will take a lot of effort and time and maybe won’t happen in full in his life time. I hope that most people will recognise that harbouring hate is not going to resolve anything, but to look at the situation and agree that he has consequences to face which he said he was willing to face (even if they are different) and that he is sorry, whether you believe him on his words or not, that is actually not our call to make. But to realise we all make mistakes of some proportion and to have the opportunity to apologise and come clean is what is of value. It won’t make the previous actions undone, but in my view it shows humanity and I respect that.

I want to draw the analogy a bit further into the world of personal development where you have a large number of inspirational figures, guru’s, mentors, etc call them what you will and some impress consistently without fail and others just like Lance let us down whilst making us believe the opposite of the truth. As a follower you feel betrayed, when the true story breaks, outraged for the audacity of the guru to persist with the false pretences and for every time you have second guessed yourself whether it is true or not, you now have confirmation that your intuition was right all along. The irony is that unlike Lance, a lot of the guru’s never apologise but just restart with the same message and a new cohort of willing followers.

I struggle with that concept and the lack of true integrity by some of the big names as well as the drive for profits over results. They do what they can to sell their programs, but when you don’t have the results they claim are possible or no results at all the door get’s slammed straight in your face, empathy and support go out the windows and you are left not only with a hole in your pocket financially but also left questioning what went wrong in this picture. Most of people will decide that it must be them, they aren’t good enough or hadn’t the right skills or set-up or whatever, you know what a great leader would have got you forward no matter what and would still stand by when the results weren’t forthcoming only those that prefer profit over values will let you down.

From my experience as a trainer and coach, you never know for sure when someone breaks through or what exactly you say or do that will have that effect, but the worst time to let someone down is when they need you most. From my point of view the whole story of calculated doping in cycling (and very likely a bunch of other sports too) is reflective of this drive for top spot, top dollar that prevails over values like integrity, care and commitment. Sorry is a good start and I wish the guru’s of this planet follow suit and admit their lies, so we can all start healing our way to what is truly of value. All you have as followers is your own values and opinions and more than anything when faced with conflicting information, you have to make up your own mind and be true to yourself.

Goal achievement

In the world of coaching and personal development the practice of goal setting is very much an accepted success driver and to be honest most achievers in the world didn’t just happen to hit something by total accident but rather by decision, intent and most importantly action.

The technique of goal setting and how you do it for it to stick, is really in my view totally up to you as an individual. We all make decisions that drive actions, so reflect on how this has happened before for you and follow this approach consistently from here forward. It sounds very simple and that is exactly how it should be, I personally believe personal development experts have been making it complex for no particular reason other than their own profitability.

I have been setting goals since I read a book on the topic around 1987 and because it made sense to me, I decided every year at New Years I would make a little list of things I want to achieve in the coming year and then I would leave it aside. Amazingly even without looking at that list on a regular basis, it was enough to set the intention and follow through with action as the years went by. Based on what people keep telling me is that I have probably achieved more than most, why? Well simply in my honest opinion because I set intentions and then went off to make them happen.

One thing is that sometimes I need to reset the goal for another year because it took longer to achieve than anticipated. Time optimism takes a hold of me form time to time ;-). Then again having been in the habit of long term studies for a degree and subsequently an MBA, the long range goals also worked once I could break them down into bite-size action steps.

How do you know whether you are really committed to a goal, my answer is always it is in the action you have taken towards achieving it. For me unless I have taken action towards something, I know for sure it isn’t a full commitment. What I do at that point then is to look what is stopping me from doing anything about it and addressing that or the other side question whether what I am after is maybe not that goal, but something else. So I give myself some time to reflect and ponder all possibilities and ultimately a new action will come out.

Personally I don’t get too hung up on how detailed your goal description is, to me it helps if it is visual and actually writing it out on paper for me is already a visual, my mind is creative enough to then put pictures to it, but some people work best with vision boards with pictures attached. The more alive the goal is the better, then again if you take action that is live in my opinion.

You need to allow yourself a bit of time to reflect on what is important to you and pick what resonates most and what you are willing to step out and go for right now. The more I engaged in self development, the more goal muddled I became and the practice that I had and was working needed to be changed because of theory and goal setting all of a sudden became a very frustrating model of having to fit in a certain way. What i have realised however is that how you set your goal ideas, intentions etc is irrelevant, it is the action of goal achievement that proves your commitment to any of them.

So these days I am actually back to enjoying creating the list in my little goal book and I review them around now and again sometime in June or if there are massive changes on the cards when it seems appropriate. What I mean there is that life sometimes happens and you need to adapt, and what was a well constructed goal or intention may no longer be relevant. Sometimes you need to admit that your time frames may have been optimistic and that is perfectly normal, it’s the ebb and flow of life as we live it.

So have fun with your goals and more importantly enjoy the action packed journey of achieving them.
Happy goal achieving 2013!

Learning curves

The last few weeks have given massive learning curves from product development to web design and construction as well as learning everything my various mentors are teaching me. I always like to implement as we go and then see what the results bring.

By starting my video blog on my facebook page ‘leverage my knowledge’, I kept track of my initial 30 days, even if the results in money terms were disappointing, the results in terms of learning were entirely positive. As you read this you will have seen that I managed to transfer my personal website from plesk sitebuilder to wordpress, which was no mean feat and came with a lot of breaks and walking away from as well as emergency tutorials from fiverr.com. I am absolutely proud to have come this far with one site and at least can now continue to do it for my business site also.

Then there was book creation and now we are on the second phase of changes and it is extremely exciting to come this far very quickly. For so long I have had book idea upon book idea and I have to say I will be super-proud to finally hold my own creation in my hand as a published item. The challenge is now on to create a great launch buzz and as a side effect create additional business, which I am totally looking forward to.

When it comes to new technology, I am working on a 52-week self-coaching module to be sold online through me directly but also through affiliates, so it will be interesting when I can pull this off and make it work. Having held a first webinar and managing to upload this to the website, I was already quite happy, but some recent web changes  on my part managed to undo this good work, so I will need to recreate it on my business wordpress site.

After all the internet marketing programs and books I have been learning from in recent times, I have started implementing the necessary to build lists and communities and this is not flowing as easily as I had hoped, but after 1 month and 1 week, I can’t complain about the results and will keep working on it. The overnight success of the internet marketers, i don’t believe came after this short a space of time, even though they all have success stories of the same, I can’t help but being a little sceptical, so time will tell this story and hopefully they can prove that it works even for me in a short space of time. 😉

So with this website now up and running I am now working on sales pages for all my work, to make it easy for people to invest in my education. I sincerely hope that all my hard work an energy will pay off and that I can build an income that is geographically free and not solely dependent on me showing up in one place.

So I hope that you will keep sharing great advice with me and send me all the best wishes and intentions for my new ventures and that you will support the business and the book with sales.