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Learning professionals debated the question of how best to support managers in their workflow at a lively #Why702010 event. Here are some of their suggestions, with contributions from presenters Laura Overton and Charles Jennings.

Towards MaturitySlide from Laura Overton’s presentation at #Why702010. Available in full at http://www.slideshare.net/Lauraoverton/702010100-the-evidence-behind-the-numbers


  • You need support from the MD: Self-reliance and self-directed learning should ideally be part of an organisation’s culture, built into frameworks and reviews.
  • Research into the secret learning lives of managers revealed they want fast, easy access to resources to solve their problems.
  • Know your ‘blockers’ and think about how you can get around them eg can you circumvent potential bans/barriers on specific IT and forms of communication? What are the alternatives?
  • Managers may have significant ‘spikes’ in their need for resources, eg first thing in the morning and at the end of the day – how can you meet this need?
  • Make time to reflect – you can’t afford not to!


  • Open up leadership and management programmes to aspiring managers, so they get into a managers’ mind-set before they take up the role.
  • Focus on communicating that the learning department is there to help managers do their jobs better, smarter, quicker, faster. We’re not course bookers!
  • Give staff the tools to help themselves.
  • How you ask managers what support they want is critical. When framing questions don’t ask ‘what resources do you want/need from me? How do you best like to learn?’ Don’t confirm your own bias. A better, more open ended question to ask, for example, would be: ‘How do you solve your problems?’
  • Job aids can be simple but effective. Charles Jennings gave the example of a pocket sized prompt which outlined three key questions for managers to use with staff in 1-to-1s:
    • Tell me what you’ve been doing since we last met…
    • What would you do differently in hindsight if you could?
    • What learning has come from this reflection?


  • Laura Overton – the learning expert: Laura Overton’s slides give highlights of the results of Towards Maturity’s research into 70:20:10. Here are some more tips from Towards Maturity on using marketing techniques to engage learners.
  • Take a peek at #TheWhole100 tweets from Michelle Parry-Slater.
  • Find out even more…Talk to us! We exhibit at events like Learning Technologies and the CIPD L&D Show at Olympia, London and regularly attend other L&D events too. Or call 08451 707 700.