Actions Speak Louder Than Words…

by | Aug 4, 2015 | Articles

Laura Overton discusses the difference between L&D teams who discuss needs and those who align their actions to support them.

We made the decision this week to extend the Towards Maturity Benchmark for another two weeks, even though we will already be sending out a record number of Personalised Benchmark Reports this September.

One reason for this, was popular demand from our time-starved participants! The other reason is that our 10+ years of research has shown us that actions speak louder than words and the Benchmark is all about helping L&D leaders prioritise the actions that they need to take in order to deliver the results that they need.

I have already reported early findings from this year’s Benchmark; showing that as a community of L&D leaders, our expectations are higher than ever before, yet only a third of us are achieving our goals. Yet those who are DOING things differently, rather than just talking about them, are consistently getting better results.

70:20:10 – Talk vs. Action

Let’s take the example of 70:20:10. These three simple figures have been at the heart of a significant number of L&D discussions over the past few years as we debate exactly how much of learning in our organisation is experiential (the 70%), how much is through social collaboration (the 20%) and how much is through formal learning (the 10%). Already we’ve seen an increase in this year’s benchmark study of L&D leaders looking to implement the framework this year as they seek to modernise learning.

Charles Jennings, one of the most respected thinkers in the field of 70:20:10, is very clear that this is a framework, not a rigid model; the focus should be on how we support learning in these different areas, rather than the exact proportions on figures themselves. The Towards Maturity team have been working with Charles over the years and we’ve been quietly exploring some of the activities and tactics behind the model, rather than the numbers.

In 2011, our report Boosting Business Agility flagged how the top performing organisations (those reporting the best business outcomes of learning activity) were already active in supporting collaboration between staff, that managers were actively involved in supporting learning at work and providing time for reflection for example. Since then, we’ve continued to see that those that are providing opportunities to collaborate and connect and those who are thinking differently about how they design formal learning are consistently delivering better learning outcomes.

Actions across the spectrum of activity in the 70:20:10 model deliver results. Talking about the model, doesn’t.

The Pattern Continues

Other hot topics of conversation in the L&D community include alignment, engagement, technology (gamification, mobile learning, social learning), self-directed learning and more. We’ve been investigating these and other hot topics for over a decade, consistently finding that the top performing teams are not reliant on the latest technology gadget or fad, but are consistently taking action every time where it counts.

Turning Talk into Action

The Towards Maturity Benchmark deconstructs and investigates the different behaviours of top performing L&D teams (including their approach to the 70:20:10 model), in order to understand the extent to which different aspects of effective practices are being applied by L&D professionals in today’s workplace.

The Benchmark process presents the activities back as a checklist to all participants, to help them reflect on what they are currently doing well and what needs attention. Every participant receives a Personalised Benchmark Report containing confidential and personal feedback against 24 effective practice benchmarks and how to improve them (including new feedback this year on the 70:20:10 framework).

Benchmarking helps to prioritise the actions that we need to take, but like all good L&D activity, it’s something that we need to do rather than talk about. We are already sending out a record number of Personalised Benchmark Reports in September, to help L&D leaders around the globe turn talk into action. We’d like to invite you to join them!

Get started with building your own evidence-based learning strategy and complete your Towards Maturity Benchmark by 14 August. You’ll receive a free Personalised Benchmark Report in early September, to help you set a baseline and justify your next steps.

Are you Benchmarking to set a baseline and prioritise actions?

Leave us a comment on Laura’s LinkedIn article.


Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Health Check.

Featured content


Our Ambassadors

Our Supporters also influence Towards Maturity's Health Check and research, providing insights on future trends and practices that should be investigated.

Pin It on Pinterest