August 1, 2022

How can you put salt in their oats?

grey horse wearing a halter and lead rope in a lake

First Monday of the month = L&D Monday

You know, don’t you, that managers are critical for helping people apply their learning on the job. Of course you know that!

So, how can you enlist the management population as collaborators in learning transfer?

Someone once said to me that the managers in their organisation just didn’t want to get involved: “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

The solution is to add enough salt to the horse’s oats so that they are thirsty enough to want to drink. So how can you add salt to the manager’s oats? How can you convince the manager that it is worth their time and effort to support their team members’ development?

Here are some things that managers need to know…

No one is better positioned than the manager to
• motivate learners to engage in learning
• understand the learning needs of people on their team
• know the day-to-day life of their team members and thus know how and when learning experiences will fit and have impact
• aid in the accumulation and personalisation of learning
• be an agent of change for the learner
• be a role model
• hold the learner accountable for practising their new learning
• be accountable to the learner for providing support
• respond to and help with any stress created by the learning programme
• manage the environment around the learner to support transfer
• provide opportunities to experiment and practice
• help the learner see the relevance of the learning
• delegate relevant tasks
• coach and mentor through the learning transfer journey.

If managers don’t do these things, no-one else will, and everyone loses.

Here are some questions you need to ask about managers…

• Can they be held accountable for a measure that indicates the level of learning transfer?
• Does their job description include their role in supporting learning transfer?
• Does their manager support and promote the programme?
• Do the managers even want the programme?
• Do the managers see the learning programme as relevant?
• Were the managers involved in creating the programme?
• Do they have any sense of ownership of the programme or its content?
• Will the desired learning transfer help the managers meet their objectives?
• Do they understand their role in learning transfer?
• Do they see their learning transfer duties as an imposition or an integral part of the job?
• How are they, or could they, be rewarded for performing their learning transfer duties?
• What do the managers need to believe is true for them to participate in learning transfer?
• What do they need to believe is true for them to not wish to participate?
• How are they measured and thereby encouraged to prioritise their activities?

You’ve got some thinking to do 🙂

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

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