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Adventitious Learning at Café Africa

by | Dec 4, 2015 | Articles

As a part of Towards Maturity’s world tour for 2015, we had the pleasure of participating at LRMG’s Café Africa event. Held in Mauritius, it was a great venue for bringing great people together.

The synergy of values and ethos was clear to see, with the headline of Café Africa being Align; Engage; Perform. These are clear behaviours that Towards Maturity has been drawing evidence and demonstrating results upon for 12 years.

However, I learned how both ‘Essentialism’ and the 7 points of consciousness can be applied to the Towards Maturity Benchmark framework to enable ‘Adventitious learning’ which is self-propagating growth, resulting in changing behaviour. In other words, it’s a means by which to become a true performance organisation.

Essentialism for Learning and Development

Essentialism is all about doing fewer things better, by putting real focus behind our efforts. An essentialist is one that balances out the trivial many with the vital few. As Socrates said, “Beware of the bareness of a busy life”.

When we place our attention on fads and jargon, we get caught up in the noise, rather than focusing on the marginal gain to enable the highest possible contribution – think of David Brailsford and the GB cycling team’s achievements. He focused on the small, simple changes that made the biggest differences.

The 7 levels of consciousness complete the circle by finding the voice – the soul, spirit and business acumen to ensure thought-leadership performance to enable a change in behaviour. It’s wider than Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in the sense that the 7 levels are:

1. A secure base in ourselves

2. Relationship networks

3. Self-esteem

4. Transformation & personal growth

5. Finding personal meaning in what we do

6. Making a difference

7. Service to the planet / humanity

In other words, we listen to and look for the inflection points in our organisations. We keep things simple.

Refining Strategy: Review, Compare, Act

Our Benchmarking framework follows the simple principles of Review, Compare and Act and uses evidence for change rather than trying to implement the latest trends, which are creating a lot of noise. There has been a 200% increase in the number of technologies adopted by over 50% of L&D organisations during the past 4 years, but the performance gap between aspiration and achievement is getting wider.

Since 2003, the Towards Maturity Benchmark has concentrated on identifying the business impact of learning innovation and has uncovered 6 workstreams of behaviour that consistently influence results. This is tracked through the Towards Maturity Index. Those in the top 10% of the index, the Top Deck, are delivering more organisational agility and individual performance and this is identified through the evidence uncovered by the TM Benchmark.

The Towards Maturity Model focuses on business performance – Alignment; Engagement and Performance – learning impact vs learning inputs

Let’s provide some context.

Solving Business Problems

We have to understand the top business priorities. In the PwC 2014 CEO Report, 93% of CEO’s said that organisational agility; competitiveness; talent and improving performance were the top business priorities.

The Towards Maturity Benchmark evidence shows us that there is a big difference between our aspirations and what we are delivering. 9/10 of us aspire to deliver the following:

  • Efficiency – 41% (average actually delivering)
  • Induction /Processes – 39%
  • Productivity/Engagement – 29% (The Top Deck deliver 3x more than bottom quartile)
  • Business Responsiveness – 24% (TD x2.5)
  • Learning Culture/Change – 21% (TD x8)

As you can see from the evidence, the Top Deck are delivering the better possible outcomes.

What the Top Deck are doing differently

So what is the How, What and Why that Top Deck teams focus on in order to deliver the highest level of contribution that they can?

Top Deck teams are using the Towards Maturity Model as a business performance tool to provide focus – they align, engage & demonstrate performance. They are also demonstrating the traits of Essentialism and the 7 levels of consciousness, whilst being brave and focused on impact.

Specifically, the Top Deck focus their attention and embrace change in order to, align, engage and perform through:

  • Working with business leaders
  • Understanding learners
  • Equipping L&D as agents of change

Thus – delivering performance. Unsurprisingly, they report 30-50% fewer barriers than the average participator in our Benchmark.

The secret of the top performing people professionals is execution; they walk the walk as opposed to just talking the talk.

Top Deck L&D professionals are typically:

  • Aligning activities with their business and people
  • Engaged in understanding their learners; their L&D team and their community
  • Focused on delivering impact at the highest point of contribution
  • Brave and embracing change

A simple challenge

As I left Café Africa, I challenged the audience, as I challenge you, to start with 3 simple actions in order to walk the walk and use the Benchmark to provide the evidence and focus to align, engage and perform:

  • Review where you are today using our free Benchmark
  • Compare how you are performing against those already proven from evidence to be delivering impact on the bottom line
  • Act upon the evidence to drive performance in a focused way

If you Benchmark before 27th January, we’ll send you a Personalised Benchmark Report (value £300) with our compliments, thanks to the support of Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors.


LRMG is an Ambassador of Towards Maturity – find out more

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