From Learning to Impact: Lessons from Go!

One of the biggest challenges for L&D programs (especially “open enrollment” programs) is translating learning outcomes into tangible business results. Too often, programs fall short in this regard, decreasing the efficacy of the learning and prompting stakeholders to question the investment.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

Jane is a high-performer who is selected to attend a 3-day leadership seminar. Between answering emails, stepping out to take calls, and trying to keep up with her day-to-day responsibilities, Jane is exposed to some innovative ideas and makes connections with other emerging leaders. Once back on the job, however, Jane struggles to apply what she’s learned. After a while, the enthusiasm fades. Nothing changes.

This is an unfortunately common outcome. What can be done to avoid it?

As we developed Go!, our international leadership development program, my team made it a top priority to create continuity for our participants and maximize Go!’s impact on the business. The following list represents our top 4 strategies:

  1. Personalize outcomes. During the first week of Go!, we create a “leadership development plan” for each of our participants based on personality assessment, 360-degree feedback, and professional coaching. The plan helps participants understand Go! in the context of their own professional development, and it gives them a roadmap to continue learning after the program is over.
  2. Incorporate mentorship. Our participants are required to have a mentor (and/or manager) from their company to support them throughout the program. We coach mentors on best practices and inform them of key learning outcomes. In this way, mentors provide continuity, support, and accountability for the participants beyond Go!
  3. Utilize simulations. We believe in learning by doing. Throughout Go!, our participants have the opportunity to apply what they learn in a safe environment where they can experiment without the fear of failure. Not only are the simulations fun and engaging, but they also reinforce learning outcomes.
  4. Maximize exposure. The flexibility of Go! enables participants to work full-time throughout the program. By spreading learning out over a longer period of time, we increase learning retention and eliminate the “training stress” of being away from the office. Since they’re learning and working at the same time, they also have the ability to apply learning in real time.

What strategies have you used to translate learning into tangible business results?