How can you learn by doing?
The 70:20:10 framework which describes this phenomenon where developed in the 80s by Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger and is still today seen today as a key model for describing how we learn in general and are used. In short, it is stated that individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events.
The hands-on experience (70%) creates the most value, as it is here where the person are enabled to test, discover and refine their skillset. As they have to make decisions, address challenges and interact with people that have other competences such as top managers, workers and specialists. In addition to these positive learnings lies there an additional learning in the mistakes and failures as the person here receives an immediate feedback.
Hereby stating that most of the learning should come from the person’s everyday life. As a manager you can help your employees develop themselves by supporting them in broaden the scope of their role. The manager can initiate some of the following activities in order to support new responsibilities such as:
• More decision-making authority
• More management of others
• Include the employee in more senior leadership meetings
• Include the employee in forecasting and budgeting projects
• Encourage cross-functional involvement in projects
• Bring the employee into hiring decisions
The interactions with others (20%) provide the person with learning from others. This is enabled by the interactions which include social learning, watching, coaching, sparring, collaborations and all other situations there the person interact with others. The learning approach, are developed through encouragement and feedback from the surroundings.
Thereby stating that the key to implementing the 20% is to support the employees in carrying out the 70%. The manager can support this by:
• Assigning a mentor
• Set up regular coaching sessions
• Introduce the employee to people outside of your organization
• Conduct 360-degree feedback sessions
• Encourage 1@1 meetings focused on reflection, not tasks
• Prioritize 1@1 meetings, focused on reflection, not tasks
Books and formal education holds the last piece of the puzzle (10%). It is here where the person crosses traditional courseware, instructions, lectures etc. The 10% is the manager’s opportunity to set up a formal development education. Do not be afraid to go beyond the scope of traditional training sessions. Encourage the persons to participate and provide them with:
• Training videos and webinars
• Readable content like eBooks or articles written by industry leaders/specialists
• Reimbursement for certifications
• Reimbursement for career development classes
• Seminars and panels
• Group meetings focused on business-related topics
The model is not rigid and you may split the three levels as you wish, as long as the split is made where the un-formal practices is represented as the biggest chunk and the formal education is the smallest. Use the model to visualize how learning can be done.