Head-Learning and Development,
“Three years down the line I want my company to be an end-to-end logistics provider, not just a courier company…. Would you be able to help in this transition?” was the CEO asking the potential CLO in his final interview for the role? The CLO and his small team would appreciate a strong helping hand to orchestrate this kind of change. I see this helping hand coming from the L&D consultants as true catalysts in this journey.
Good L&D consulting firms should bring in a knowledge base built upon solving the problem many times in many ways for other firms. Instead of rediscovering fire over and again, depending on the needs the consulting firm would show you how to use a lighter or a flamethrower. They should ask extraordinarily great questions, inspiring deeper and more open thinking, and lead the client L&D team to insights, innovation and organisational impact. They should be able to recommend which tool/model is better and then teach you all of the hacks to use them most effectively in the client organisation.
L&D consultants can ride on the 2016 trends to bring success to the client organisation in the following areas:
- Helping augment role of L&D
As L&D functions mature from training team to culture change agents, the consultants can act as thought level catalyst. Consultants can guide L&D team in obtaining business strategy clarity and its implications on capability gaps. Subsequently they can help to have meaningful conversation with the senior leadership to create insights, interest and buy-in for the complicated changes that the L&D team would be proposing. This will fasten the process of L&D teams being accepted in the role of Talent pipeline advisors, performance consultants, career coaches and culture change agents.
L&D teams are now more actively involved in strategic talent management. The consultants have an action level support role, right from providing strategic capabilities for workforce planning; build quality and standardised recruitment methodologies; help create standardised/role specific on-boarding process and facilitators; help supervisors at all levels in driving proactive and on-going employee performance management; help create variety of learning vehicles to support performance gaps; Define, assess and recommend actions to bridge critical skill gaps in current roles; Human capital assessment and strategy execution for talent pipeline building; finally they can help all supervisors effectively use tools like appreciative inquiry to retain talent.
Changing employee demographics opens up possibilities of using many technologies for enabling learning in the organisation. L&D teams are usually skeptical about the ROI of these new technologies. L&D consultant can introduce newer technologies; work with IT support to create comfort in implementation. In addition, they can help create strategies for faster adoption leading to culture change within the organisation.
Going beyond the traditional leadership development workshops and assessment centers based IDPs, L&D consultants could guide the L&D team in helping all leadership levels to obtain clarity of strategy, vision and own role; create culture of autonomy at various levels and tweak organisational design keeping the business dynamics in mind. Long term commitment from the L&D consultant would be required to witness the complete shift.
- Development of L&D professionals
L&D consultants could help build L&D team capabilities to effectively orchestrate expected impact. This could be at the knowledge level like, ways to increase learner engagement; training design & delivery; coaching and mentoring techniques; ways to guide non-participating/non -covered population embrace learning; change management as well as emerging learning, technology and neuroscience trends. This could be at skill level like collaborating with demanding business leaders, innovative thinking and creating OD solutioning, ability to influence stake holders. This could also be at thought level like, resilience and ability to change, delivering with limited resources, and lastly recommending decisions based on matrices and business insights.
- Assessing impact of L&D activities
One of the questions that stake holders often ask is the impact of L&D activities. Initially, consultants can guide the L&D team implement higher level evaluation matrices by enabling best practices and tools, communication and other levers. The consultants could help in overcoming barriers in evaluation and closure.
While it may appear that the above can be achieved by the in-house L&D team, I see the value-add of resource availability, experience in outside environment and broad based tools from the consultants acting as the helping hand to materialize the envisaged goals.
The point is that, even the best of Pilots need a Co-Pilot or Vice-Versa and knowing how to fly an airplane doesn't mean that you can’t fly as a passenger in some other flight.