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70 20 10

70 20 10 in the field of leadership development is much talked about but not yet widely applied. I see many leadership development professionals getting tangled up in what it means for their leadership development strategy.

A quick Google will lead you to a confusing array of suppliers claiming 70 20 10 solutions many of which are one dimensional, for example only about moving development programmes on-line or reducing them to bite-size learning.

Learning and leading are closely linked and interdependent. The most fundamental idea behind 70 20 10 is that leadership development happens all the time, on the job, daily. Leadership and development can go hand in hand, minute by minute.

In my mind, applying 70 20 10 is simply about asking the key question: How can we encourage leadership and learning to happen more closely together, day to day?

Some of the simplest actions can achieve this. Here are my top 7:

  1. Hire leaders who believe in learning. If there a mindset that working is learning and learning is working you are nearly there already.
  2. Let leaders know that learning ability is the foundation of leadership. Popularise the idea of a growth mindset which means that experimentation, mistake-making and continuous improvement are all part of leading.
  3. Move people around and be proud when they leave for the next challenge.
  4. Require leaders to learn how to learn – raise their self awareness, generate feedback, provide tough challenges that require adaptive thinking.
  5. Give leaders access to space, time, coaches, stimulus, data, networks that help them construct their own development in and around their work.
  6. Give everyone a budget of time and money to spend on learning and demonstrate that the top team are doing it too!
  7. Don’t ever send a leader on a programme that isn’t grippingly relevant to their work, designed with them in mind and attended by them with interest.