Learning That Sticks

a lion with cubs to illustrate learning that sticks

Too Much Corporate Training Is Wasted
Done right when you provide learning that sticks, training can be a great investment in career development and performance improvement.  In fact, investments made by an organization to make their employees more successful consistently rate in the top ten in terms of employee engagement research.  Done wrong however, training can be a missed opportunity and a huge waste of both precious time and money for you and your employees.

Learning that Does Not Stick
Based upon the measurement of over 800 training programs, we know that training, by itself, changes the behavior and the on-the-job performance of only 1-in-5 participants on average.  Those are not great odds.  The biggest barrier to having learning that sticks?  Relevance!

Training that is not highly relevant to the participant, their boss and the company as a whole has the lowest probability of changing on-the-job behavior or performance.  While this seems like common sense, how many of your training initiatives have a direct thread to a top strategic priority and the individual, team and company levels?  Our clients tell us that less than 20% of their training fits the bill.

Learning that Sticks
We define learning that sticks as training that helps to visibly improve on-the-job behavior and performance in a way that moves a people or business priority forward.

  • First, each learning solution must be highly relevant to three key stakeholders (1) The Target Audience, (2) Their Bosses, and (3) The Business/Executive Team. We call this 3×3 Relevance – without it, learning leaders often struggle to get initiatives off the ground or fully implemented.
  • Second, the new skills, knowledge, and behaviors must be consistently adopted by at least 50% of your target population.
  • Third, the impact on the people and the business needs to be measured to create accountability for execution and to provide actionable feedback for coaching.

Take a Lesson from Animals
For newborn offspring to survive in the wild, they must learn new behaviors.  Certain birds teach a “password” to their chicks in order to call for food.  Some European ants practice a way to run together to find food quickly.  And lions kill prey for younger offspring and then bring live prey to older offspring to finish the kill.

How much do your leaders create the conditions for their teams to practice and learn how to “survive” and perform?

3 Tips to Create Learning that Sticks
To create corporate learning that sticks:

1. Focus on What Matters Most
Forget the fire hose approach. It may make logistics easier, but it will only overwhelm employees and there will be little on-the-job retention.  A little at a time with greater focus and intensity is far more effective.

First, identify the top few skills that matter most to the participants, their boss and the company as a whole.  Second, identify the top scenarios in which those skills would make the most difference.  And finally, design a learning solution that allows participants to learn what matters most at a pace that works for them.

2.  Allow for Practice of the New Skills
The more participants can test their new skills, the more proficient and confident they will become. To become adopted, new skills have to be put into practice on-the-job over a sustained period of time. Practice can be done on an individual basis or group basis, in real circumstances or in simulations.  The key takeaway is that changing behavior and performance is a process.While much has been written about the amount of practice required to master a new skill, we find that how you practice is as important as how often you practice.  Researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that those who practice slightly modified versions of the new skills learn faster.  Similar to the muscle confusion concept for athletes, it is important to keep your brain on its toes.

3.  Reinforce the Right Behaviors
Much of learning is learning by doing, reflecting, feedback and failure. Be sure that your training programs have sufficient follow-through and are supported by performance management systems and ongoing coaching.  Without consistent exposure, feedback and accountability, new skills tend to become the fad of the month instead of the new muscles required to perform at your peak.

The Bottom Line
Ensure that your investment in training counts.  If you focus on what matters most, pace the learning, allow for practice and follow through, you will be part of the elite 20% that has delivered learning that sticks.

To learn more about learning that sticks, download 3 Steps to Building a Smarter Training Initiative – One that Gets Business Results

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We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

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LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

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We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.

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Rambus

LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

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Kim Silva, CFO

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

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Thoratec

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

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I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

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HR Director

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

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Intuit

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