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.

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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.

 

A really strong case for using outsourced trainers for your learning and development needs is Cost Saving.

Savings tend to be around 20%, brought about by:

  • Working with a commercially aware supplier operating as a cost centre
  • Increased “percentage utilisation”. Having a permanent full time L&D resource means inevitably there will be peaks and troughs in utilisation of this resource. Internal utilisation is typically 60-70% whereas external utilisation is typically 95% upwards.
  • Reduced overheads including:
  • NI and pensions; all trainers are set up as limited companies and are IR35 compliant
  • No career planning or training costs

 

 

Outsourcing relationships involve transferring or sharing management control and/or decision making between client and supplier.

Essentially the main reason organisations choose to outsource is to increase their competitive advantage; through for example lowering costs, redirecting energy or streamlining resources.  Often bringing in specialist outside services in any given area allows the client to fully focus on their primary business streams.

Whatever the actual reasons for an organisation going down this route, they should be clearly defined and communicated up front.

Once the reasons are clear an organisation can think about finding a supplier; and one of the critical requirements of a successful outsourcing partnership is alignment of values.

For outsourcing partnerships to be successful you must have alignment between partners in terms of values and what they stand for. Any organisation considering outsourcing should start by truly understanding and then profiling their L&D strategy and values  – before they begin searching for a partner. The profile then acts as a set of measures that any potential provider can be assessed against.

Overall you need to decide which elements of people development in the business are best done internally and which are best outsourced to a specialist learning partner.

Over the next few posts, we’re going to look at decisions that need to be considered when choosing to use outsourced trainers. These were written by Brian Broadbent, Marton House MD, based on his years of experience with providing outsourced training to FTSE 250 companies.

 

And the final step to creating a successful personal brand is Performance.

You’ve written succinctly your Passion, you’ve written out a Plan and you’ve made a decision to be Persistent in establishing your personal brand. Now it is about putting it all into practice.

Get your name out there, do the ground work, make sure people know what you are passionate about. Make sure people at work notice the excellent work you are doing and the contribution you are making.

At the end of the day all the sitting and thinking is critical to getting it right, but you also need to now get out and follow the plan persistently. Ultimately, how you perform will determine the strength of your personal brand. There are no short-cuts, but by following the previous three steps, you will make it a whole lot easier and more effective for yourself.

 

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