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Are You Putting The Solution Before The Problem With Your Emerging Talent Programme? 


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I don’t mind admitting that I’m a Learning and Development (L&D) snob.  I don’t like the idea that L&D is simply a sub-section of Human Resources (HR).  I believe that L&D is a profession, a skill, an art, and a tool for transformation in its own right.  To think of them as the same thing is to reduce them both. 

 However, I do believe that we complement each other, and share a common challenge – that of talking to the business in its own language, and this is crucial to get buy in for any level of Management and Leadership development.

Every HR / L&D professional knows how tricky this one is, but ‘top down’ support with a clear sponsor and active engagement demonstrates the value of the programme for the organisation, and increases motivation for participants.

Nigel Harrison talks about ‘solutioneering’, that thing that businesses do where they present you with the solution before really defining the problem, for example, “Our managers are failing, we need a management development programme”.

Our 6 step ‘Poised for Success’ model provides a tool for us to be able to take a step back from this and ask the right questions.  

  • Problem / Prompt– how would you describe the problem at the moment?
  • Observations – what are you seeing/hearing that tells you there’s a problem?
  • Impact – what problem is this causing you?
  • Solution – how would you describe what you’d like to be happening instead?
  • Evidence of change – how will you know we’re on the right track?  
  • Demonstrating long term results – how will we measure that the programme has been a success?

The first part of the model helps us to explore what the problem is, what the business is observing that tells us there is a problem, and what the impact of that problem is.  It encourages us to be curious about the business metrics behind the problem, and therefore how we will measure success.

Without understanding the problem, we can’t move on to creating a really effective solution.  We need to know what the business expects, so that as the ‘expert’ we can meaningfully discuss how to achieve this. 

We also need to know what evidence the business expects to see that will tell them that the programme is a success.  The earlier we can start to present that evidence in the form of changed behaviours, the better, and the more credibility we will have.  Finally, what is the long term demonstration of the programme’s success?  How can we measure this?

If you’d like to explore this model further, there’s a FREE template on the ‘resources’ section of our website, or join one of our FREE webinars to hear more.

 ‘Growing your own’ is an excellent way to motivate staff and develop your talent pipeline.  If you’re thinking about running a programme for your emerging talent or aspiring managers:

There are also lots of FREE resources on our website to get you started.


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