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You and I can only ‘live the vision’ if we know what that vision is.

If you are anything like me, you have a general vision of how you think life, work etc should turn out but you haven’t articulated it clearly to yourself.

Recently my mentor got me to write down my vision and the practical implications of achieving it. He suggested a four-layered approach.

1. 5-years from now. For most of us, 5 years is far enough away that we can dream bigger dreams. Let it be idealistic. Don’t start with saying ‘Ican’t do that’ but rather by saying ‘I would love to…..’  I included ideals about work, family, church, personal and friendship.

2. The next 2-3 years. We find it easier to see 2-3 years ahead. This layer allows us to think more realistically about how we achieve the 5 years vision. What are some of the things that you will need to accomplish in the next 2-3 years that will help take you closer to your 5-year ideal. So for example, if in 5 years time you wanted to be a rock star then the 2-3 year plan would be to have done x-number of gigs in x-number of places.

3. This years objectives. The third layer is then fine-tuning the 2-3 year plan into some SMART objectives. So if you want to be able to gig somewhere, you might start with 1. Learn how to play 6 chords by the end of May. 2. Learn how to sing in tune by the end of June. You may be slightly more advanced than that (I like to think I am), in which case you would have objectives such as 1. Write 5 songs in the next 5 months. 2. Contact 5 local gig venues and agree dates to play.

4. Break it down! The final layer is breaking down your objectives so that you are setting aside time in your diary to ensure you accomplish those objectives. So if you need to write 5 songs in 5 months you need to decide how much time you set aside for that. In my case, my objective for the year is to be able to play more than one song from memory. In order to achieve that I think I can realistically learn one song a week. This, I think, will only require me to practice the chosen song every evening for 10 minutes.

These 4 layers of vision have really helped me to think big and live that vision in a practical day-to-day manner. Hope you find them helpful too.

A few years ago, my wife and I went to Barcelona for a long weekend. We decided that we would go on one of the bicycle tours . Although it knocked us out for the next three days (we’re super-fit like that), we thoroughly enjoyed it. The tour guide was funny, knew where he was going, the safest way to get there and had lots of interesting facts to tell us.

Now consider if I landed in Barcelona, decided to set up a bicycle tour company that afternoon, found a few unsuspecting tourists and away we go. I would’ve been a leader for all of about 3 minutes until they realised that I actually had no vision i.e. I didn’t know where I was taking them or how to get there.

When I consider the word ‘vision’ it sounds so much like 90’s management speak. And yes, it has been thrown around to the point of being cliché and almost meaningless.

But hopefully that delightful bicycle tour story shows that vision is just as important today as when someone first caught onto the idea and wrote a book about it.

Clay Lowe suggests Live the Vision is the first cornerstone of good leadership.

Firstly, you need to have a clear and compelling vision. This can be applied in your corporate and personal life. What is the vision that you have for your team, department, company, charity, family? Where are you headed? How will you know when you get there? Consider La Sagrada Familia on the left. If Gaudi wasn’t clear as to what he was trying to achieve, that incredible church would probably not be there, or look very confused.

Tomorrow we will look at three steps to help you develop a clear and compelling vision and to live the vision.


Many thanks to those on LinkedIn who contributed your suggestions to what you think the cornerstones of leadership might be. You can read the excellent and interesting answers here.

There isn’t a any hard-and-fast rule of what the cornerstones of good leadership are and one could easily include more than four! 

The 4 cornerstones of leadership that we will look at over the next few days are described by Clay Lowe. He’s had a wealth of experience from leadership in the US Army, to now taking people on leadership development courses up Snowdon.

When I first heard these I was inspired by their simplicity in terms of remembering them but also in applying them. They are:

1. Live the Vision

2. Set Standards

3. Have Humility (!)

4. Make Decisions

We will look at each one of those briefly over the next few posts.

Go into any airport bookshop and you will see countless books on Leadership. I typed the word ‘Leadership’ in Amazon.co.uk and restricted the results to the ‘Books’ section and got 166,474 results! Like me you’ve read a few of those and we spend the rest of our lifetime reading nothing but leadership books and still not be done!

I’ve picked up some things from the various books on leadership I’ve read but I wouldn’t be able to recite the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership to you.

If you don’t want to read YET another book on leadership then the next few posts will be helpful. We’re going to look at 4 cornerstones of leadership. Yes. Just 4. I can cope with 4 and probably remember them and therefore put them into practice.

But before we do that, will leave this a few days for you comment on what you would consider the 4 cornerstones of leadership.

An outsourced training project will have a lot of stakeholders. It is likely also to take place over a period of time, which means that there needs to be an opportunity for change control, particularly within a regulated environment.

It is important that all materials are current and fit for purpose and that there is an easy to use change control system in place which is rigorously enforced. This will prevent different stakeholders making changes in an ad-hoc manner, or even required changes within content and delivery being completely missed because everybody thought it was somebody else’s job.

To support the change system a well thought through and easy to use method of storing of training materials is critical. Who has access to those materials, whether to view or edit, needs to be clearly defined in order to ensure that the change control system works to the benefit of the organisation.

An Outsourced Training program is often a large-scale project that is geographically widespread.

For example, we are working with an organisation that has 400 care homes across the country. Home managers, trainers, corporate managers all need to be at the right place in the right time with the right resources.

The administrative elements of scheduling, timetabling, travel and accommodation are crucial for an outsourced training project to go smoothly.

The management of this can be either internal or external; and a joint approach could be worked out provided there was access to internal systems & procedures.

Each piece of outsourced training work that is commissioned will require some degree of project management.

At one end of the scale you have major change programmes; with a defined L&D work stream that will be headed up by a work stream leader; who will commission activities in order to satisfy the overall programme.

Each of these activities may require a full time project manager to ensure that the deliverables meet the required time quality and cost criteria.

At the other end of the scale small pieces of work will be managed by the trainer who is responsible for designing and delivering the intervention.

Additionally, larger pieces of work can be sponsored from within the business or from within L&D. Should the work originate within L&D then clearly a sponsor will be required from within the business.

A key consideration here will be the amount of control you wish to retain initially; the amount of expertise within L& D and the amount of expertise within your outsource partner.

How do you decide what to outsource & what do you keep in-house? The first step is to clearly define your organisations approach to designing learning interventions. If this approach is not clearly defined at the outset it becomes difficult to transfer control and allocate accountability.  You may also want to have different arrangements for different L&D functions.

It is also worth noting here that any processes that currently do not work should not be outsourced. This puts both parties under huge pressure.

The following table shows our outsourcing framework that enables the client organisation to make decisions at each stage of the L& D approach i.e. to decide which elements:

  • Can be fully outsourced
  • Should be kept in house
  • Will be jointly managed
  • Are up for discussion depending on supplier experience

As illustrated, in the initial phase of outsourcing the client may control much more than in a mature partnership arrangement. However, there will always be some areas that should remain primarily within the client’s responsibility.

Initial Phase
End Phase
Stage
Internal
External
Internal
External
1.       Identify Business Need & Measures
80%
20%
50%
50%
2.       Make the Business Case
70%
30%
50%
50%
3.       Conduct Initial TNA/Approach Document
60%
40%
30%
70%
4.       Conduct Detailed TNA
40%
60%
10%
90%
5.       Design & Build Solution
30%
70%
10%
90%
6.       Deliver Solution
20%
80%
10%
90%
7.       Evaluation
70%
30%
30%
70%
8.       Internal Audit
90%
10%
90%
10%

So it is clearly possible to outsource most of your training requirements without losing any control on the content and the quality.

Another benefit of outsourced training is the increase in efficiency and effectiveness of the training. For example:

  • Flexibility of resource to suit changing and fluctuating business demand
  • Innovative suggestions for solutions based on trainers experience from other industries
  • Internal design can take 8-10 days to produce a 1 day workshop whereas external may only take 4-5 days
  • A joint approach to writing the business case tends to be more effective as the external provider should have more exposure and experience of this process

 

 

 

  • Trainers provided are fully trained and are experts in their field. They have full external accreditation and it should be the supplier’s responsibility to ensure they meet internal accreditation standards.

 

  • The personal investment for trainers is high. They are all self employed and are fully aware that they need to fully satisfy the customer or they will lose any future work.

 

  • Experienced and diverse account management team who can offer advice and guidance on the trends of spending on L&D across the different delivery channels throughout the industry.

 

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