Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Future or present: development planning vs. development reflection?

Christopher Saeger posted this item recently on the Social Learning Community about the 70:20:10 model and training planning, having seen it in the training magazine LinkedIn group.  It got me thinking about the notion of development planning with its implicit focus on the future, rather than the present, and what's being taken-for-granted.

Question: "70/20/10 - Looking for discussion guides for people leaders

What questions should people leaders ask to help their team members create a development plan that is a mix of 70% on the job experiences. 20% coaching/feedback and 10% formal training?
 We would like to create a simple guide that asks questions like: 

  • What project or assignments might stretch you?
  • What team would broaden your perspective and expand your network?
  • What kind of peer interaction would be valuable
Christopher's reflection was that:

'somehow it just didn't feel right to me. My take is that the 70:20:10 is over time not an annual event. I wanted to get your reactions'
In summary some of the responses were that:

  1. 70:20:10 is not a prescriptive recipe. It simply reflects the way people tend to learn, mostly in the workplace and with others. (@charlesjennings)
  2. The model is a statement of 'what is' not necessarily what 'should be' targeted (@britz)
  3. Developing some guidelines to help a people manager with development objective setting during an annual review process isn't a necessarily a bad thing to do. It helps both manager and individual de-focus from the idea that 'development=formal courses'. (@CharlesJennings)
I agree and my perspective is this: 

Development planning is a common part of the annual performance discussion.  It makes sense, doesn't it?  Well to some extent, yes.  But I think there is something being taken-for-granted which is that the discussion is only about what is to come rather than on what is being done and what has already been done.  Continuous learning reflection is being drowned out by the needs of producing the annual plan.

I've just come back from a 'graduation day' for a fast-track scheme of young high potential managers that I've been working with over the past 18 months.  One of their learning highlights was the encouragement to self-reflect on what they had been doing, getting feedback from others and note taking throughout their time on the programme. 

I'm not trying to make this a choice between reflection or planning because people do and should make plans about their development. But maybe in so doing, something important is getting overlooked that is at the heart of 70:20:10 model and that's the reflection on the context-specific, contiuously changing experience of everyday practice; something that can't be planned, except perhaps for making reflection a regular discipline that is scheduled into each day.

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