Earlier this week we set off for London for the CIPD L&D show, to exhibit for the second time. This time seemed easier, I knew what it might be like. What I was blown away with was, the interest in my session on “The Secrets of LNA – evaluating business alignment”.
There were enough seats for 70 and standing room was easily the same, if not more. As I spoke, eyes fixed on me, heads nodded and people identified with the content.
I began quoting from the CIPD L&D survey of 2015: “Of the organisations polled only 25% said that L&D are fully aligned to the organisation“. So this worries me – what is happening in the other 75%? Where does your organisation fall? In the 25% or the 75%? If you don’t know or if you are in the 75%, consider this. How would you like:
- L&D to be the change agents for your organisation?
- It to be easy to justify budgets for L&D interventions?
- When there is a downturn, L&D is not cut, but people are invested in?
By analysing the needs of your organisation before delivering any learning or training, you may find the things above become a reality!
TNA? LNA? NA?
Is this all just semantics? Are they just all the same? So here is the thing, if I conduct a Training Needs Analysis, the solutions are always going to be training. It is a little like having only a hammer in your toolbox and so everything looks like a nail. Often organisations who conduct only TNA’s may be either very technical in the learning they deliver, or it could be that they do not know much about the organisation and how it operates.
So how does a TNA differ from an LNA you might ask? So an LNA will be broader in its outlook, the equivalent of having now a hammer and maybe a wrench and a screwdriver along with some allen keys in your toolbox.. The outcome will always be a learning solution whether it is a book to read, some coaching, a webinar or a full blown qualification. What I would love to happen and here is where over the last few years I have been trying to use my Jedi mind tricks (I do know I am not Yoda btw), is when you are conducting an LNA, you ask some questions:
- Is there something happening behind the scenes that I need to know about?
- Is there something missing?
- Is something not happening?
- Is there something besides learning that these people need (eg more resources, better processes, more support etc?)
Those are just a few to get you started. These are great questions to ask if you are trying to dig deeper and look beyond the traditional training or learning needs. For this to be successful though there are some things that you will need in your personal toolkit:
- An air of curiosity
- A willingness to find out more about the organisations and how it works
- The ability to speak the language of the stakeholders and not just in L&D speak
- Persistence and courage to challenge when people just tell you to “DO it” (the training that is)
- An overview of what the culture is like and how the organisation is structured (this can be key in determining how easy it is to get people on board and change minds. For example a company with a hierarchical structure and a blame culture will resist change and pass the buck. Whereas a matrix structure and a culture of empowering, will welcome your curiosity and fresh eyes to see what might be going wrong.
- Infiltrate the organisation so you have your finger on the pulse of what is happening, now, not 6 months ago
Sometimes we may not be able to foresee when we need to do an LNA. Have a look at the picture below to see some of the instances when they can be planned and when not. Try as much as you can to plan in your LNA’s (always thinking about what might be going on under the surface). Once you start doing regular LNA’s and demonstrating the value your solutions bring, it will become easier and easier to get the resources you need to do a valuable LNA and any subsequent solutions.
Once you know you are going to do an LNA, you then need to choose some suitable methods. Below is a table of many different LNA methods. You could start by trying to sort them according to whether they are high/low cost and whether they are suitable for individuals or groups. This is one way to see which methods are going to be most suitable for your situation. You will also need to consider some other criteria, to be able to decide which methods are most suitable:
- Your budget
- Resources, such as people and tools
- Commitment from stakeholders – without this, it does make it harder*
- Size and culture of your organisation
*Read this blog about stakeholder management
So finally …. here are some of the secrets of LNA (I am sure you knew these already!)
- Know the difference between an LNA, TNA and NA (remember the Jedi mind tricks!)
- Choose the most suitable methods (use triangulation – 3 methods to get a broader picture)
- Plan the LNA when you can
- Always keep the end in mind so that you are aligned to your business
Thanks to everyone who came to the session and participated. We were truly overwhelmed by the numbers who were there and also the numbers of people who spoke to us saying “We are in that 75% and we need help!”
This topic certainly seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people and my concern is that if you are in that 75%, you get the help you need to achieve alignment with your organisation. If you need help, then please phone for a chat to see what we could do. Phone Krys on 07952 416530 or email email@example.com