Leadership development: achieving the whole 100

Michelle Parry Slater offers some practical hints and tips for applying 70:20:10 principles to leadership development, with a cautionary note – it’s not about the numbers!

People often criticise the numbers in the 70:20:10 framework of workplace learning.  We should never get caught up in the numbers because it is the whole 100 that counts. It’s about looking at the business issues and across the whole spectrum of potential learning interventions to create a mix which suits the need, the audience, and the budget. The split is relevant to both your organisational context and the people in need of the learning. Nobody would, for example, want a surgeon to learn their craft with only 10% formal learning and 70% experiential practice on unsuspecting patients. Context is king, not the numbers. As Charles Jennings himself said “The 70:20:10 model is not about percentages or numbers and there is no universal ‘right’ ratio.”

The question therefore remains, once you have a handle on your context and business need, how do you know what ratio is right for you? What does 70:20:10 look like for you, practically speaking? Think about the whole 100 and you’ll be focused on the right number. Mix learning interventions to solve the business need, for the right people, at the right time, with the budget you have, and that will help guide you.

Let’s take a look at a typical corporate middle leadership programme to give some practical examples of how the whole 100 can manifest. And for the sake of argument (and so as not to irritate the debunkers too much) let’s stick to the traditional split of 70:20:10.

The 70 – experiential practical tips:

  • Begin writing a reflective blog about your current leadership practice and imagine where you would like your journey to take you. This helps establish gaps in knowledge and future evaluation.
  • Shadow respected leaders in the organisation and better still other organisations. This exposes you to new thinking and ideas which you can adapt, adopt and improve
  • Ask for feedback at the end of a team meeting about the team meeting. This shows your vulnerability and willingness to learn, making you more approachable as a leader.
  • Watch TED talks about leadership from fab people like Simon Sinek, David Marquet, Drew Dudley. This will give you new perspectives and ideas to bring into your leadership.
  • Refer to your organisation’s online learning prior to your first performance review / presentation / team meeting / customer meeting / etc. This will enable you to be as current as possible and give you a confidence boost before any new leadership experience.
  • Build a personal learning network online via Twitter, Google+, or Linked In. This will give you a network you can rely on to inspire, challenge, educate and entertain you.
  • Read recommended leadership books. This is to help with both growth of new ideas and reflection on your current practice.

The 20 – social tips:

  • Attend a peer to peer networking group (internal or external) for middle managers meeting regularly to share stories, ideas, reflections and learning. This will give you a face to face element to your online networking experiences, and cement relationships you may have made online.
  • Talk with an internal coach in between formal course days. This is a proven way to improve personally and professionally, with honesty which is not always available in a corporate environment.

The 10 – formal learning:

  • Attend a leadership course, for example a three day course spread over a three month period. This is a key part of your leadership learning. However, remember it is not the only piece of the puzzle. Blend this through with the other ideas for a wide, contextual, supportive learning experience which will make you a better leader.

For more practical tips on how to modernise your workplace learning, check out #NoPlasters on Twitter, and look out for Michelle’s ebook to follow later this year.

About Michelle Parry Slater

Michelle spends most days excited about the possibilities available to everyone involved in workplace learning! Harnessing this energy, she heads up Kairos Modern Learning, a specialist consultancy aimed at moving the L&D profession away from old style ‘injection education’ courses to embrace the best of digital, social and face to face. She uses a variety of media channels and Kairos Modern Learning’s 3Rs approach to support creativity. Her mission is to promote effective, efficient, enjoyable and engaging everyday workplace learning with corporates, trainers and universities. Michelle is currently writing a book about her experiences of tweeting daily practical learning advice at #NoPlasters. Find her on Twitter at @MiPS1608 and share your practical tips.
Find out more about Michelle at Kairos Modern Learning.n then get in touch at www.lucidity.org.uk or lucy@lucidity.org.uk or join the free Lucidity Community Facebook group.


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