It is becoming imperative for organizations to strengthen their Leadership pipelines more than ever with the current environmental changes and the rapidly growing businesses in the Middle East. Many organizations are gradually recognizing the importance of Leadership and Management Development as a tool to sustain organizational performance and gain competitive advantage in the global environment. Businesses need exceptional leaders if they are seeking the best opportunities for growth in the region. Therefore, integrating Leadership and management development strategies is vital to make sure Leaders and Managers possess the necessary skills to carry out their roles effectively and stay up to date within the complex business environment.
So should organizations focus on developing their managers or leaders or both? With several years of experience in the learning and development field, I see that they both make valuable and different contributions to organizations. In my opinion, leadership and management are two distinct, yet complementary systems of action. While management is about order and consistency, leadership is about change and movement.
Yet, successful organizations need both and a different type of development is needed for each. Broadly, management development focuses on the ‘hard’ aspects of managing such as planning, execution, prioritization, and control processes, whereas leadership development focuses on the social dimensions including interpersonal awareness and skills, team development and engagement, and processes related to gaining commitment for vision and strategy.
How do organizations maximize the effectiveness of their learning & development opportunities?
70:20:10 Development Model
This model illustrates how challenging experiences, developmental relationships, and formal coursework create a foundation for learning and growth and explores how people learn, flourish, and change throughout their careers.
According to this model, 3 sorts of experiences influence people’s development, following a ratio of:
• 70% challenging experiences and assignments
• 20% developmental relationships
• 10% coursework and training
This makes us believe more than ever that leadership can be learned and that a manager’s ability and motivation to learn from experiences is the basis for leading with impact.
Most of us learn best in circumstances where there are opportunities for practice, networking and conversations, and reflection. And the model responds clearly to these learning styles. Putting the model into practice means that organizations need to maximize on-the-job opportunities that prepare leaders, develop employees and advance business goals.
Let’s explore each separately.
The 70% focus on informal and on-the-job work experiences and challenges that allow opportunities to absorb and retain knowledge and skills. This means putting individuals in new or uncertain situations where they must take action, see direct outcomes, and improve their approach to be more successful. These new experiences can be encountered through line managers/superiors, increase in job scope, new initiatives/stretched assignments, horizontal moves, significant challenges… etc. here, people are enabled to make decisions, address challenges, reflect, learn from their mistakes, and receive feedback on performance; and over time, develop new skill sets and greater expertise.
The 20% means learning from others through a variety of activities that include social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaboration, continuous improvement, giving and receiving feedback, action learning, after-action reviews, and other practices of interaction with peers. This can be for example when your line manager coaches you or gives you job-related tips to enhance your role or maybe your colleague shows you new methods of doing things more efficiently. Briefly, this is when people learn from mixed backgrounds and experiences to improve in their roles.
Finally, 10% of professional development ideally comes from formal interventions like courseware, modules, workshops/masterclasses, eLearning, seminars, reflections…etc. People develop knowledge of key concepts and models and, depending on the course design, apply their learning through role plays, case studies, and discussions. For example, attending Time Management training provides learning on how to make to-do lists, prioritize, handle interruption, deal with procrastination…etc. which are all essential knowledge to bring to the workplace.
Does this mean that formal training is no longer essential?
Not at all! Structured learning is still important and plays a crucial role in people learning when designed effectively, but it is not the only or main way in which people learn and grow. For instance, Emotional Intelligence courses/workshops/books are essential for leaders in understanding human behaviors, emotional management, and how to manage relationships; but on-the-job experiences are vital to put the learning into practice and help managers to become emotionally intelligent.
In addition, research shows that learning which occurs closer to the time and place where it is to be used has a greater chance of being turned into action and results in performance improvement. Therefore, the aim of the 70:20:10 model is not to separate learning and working, but to reinforce the synergy between them.
Are the numbers accurate?
Not Exactly! The numbers in the model can differ depending on the industry, organization, work environment, and learners. There are companies where 70-20-10 is the proper mix while others do not.
The 70:20:10 is a Reference Model which means the numbers simply remind us that people learn most from working and interacting. Most of the experiences that contributed to my personal development as a professional were work-based challenges and assignments. I have attended so many formal training which was very effective and added value to my knowledge and I can also say that the information I retained was those combined with work-related experiences. In addition, I have delivered many training and Behavior change was mostly achieved when learners were exposed to informal experiences that allowed the extensive application of the skills learned.
However, the application of this model doesn’t come without challenges. Management commitment in organizations is key to the successful implementation of the model. If companies want to develop their leaders effectively, the experience needs to become the core driver of their talent development strategies.