Performance Through Learning with Andy Lancaster

Written by Robin Hoyle

Key points summary

Andy Lancaster explains the concept of self-directed learning, why businesses need to allow individuals to shape their learning experiences and the challenges that business leaders taking this approach face.

A shift towards self-directed learning may change the role of the Learning & Development professional. Acting as consultants to the individual and taking a more assertive approach to learning and the associated delivery methods with senior leadership.

Andy highlights the relevance of the Gerald Grow model. Shifting individuals towards a self-directed learning approach. The four-stage model starts with dependent learners and helps the individual transition towards self-directed learning by introducing accountability, exploring personal needs, involving them in the design process and ultimately encouraging them to take responsibility for their own learning needs.

Connecting individuals to the right resources is a huge challenge for Learning & Development professionals. Andy explores the idea of a concierge model, enabling Learning professionals to focus more on connecting people, collecting resources and understanding current capabilities and less on being the subject matter expert behind each organisational need.

Organisations that are committed to professional development are more likely to attract and retain talent.

The responsibility for impact, measurement and transfer should remain with the learner and their line manager because they understand the individual needs and the overall needs of their team.

Organisations are finding increasingly creative ways to measure the impact of their training programmes. Andy shares an example where one business turned to learners to gather qualitative data on a recent management training initiative.

Enabling individuals to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning experiences is a practical step that Learning & Development professionals can take to help shift the learning culture within businesses towards a more self-directed approach.

Wait, there's more

Conversation transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Workplace Learning Matters series from Huthwaite International In this episode, Andy Lancaster, Head of Learning at CIPD and author of Driving Performance Through Learning talks to Robin about self-directed learning and how organisations need a fresh approach to ensure that they can harness the learning power of their people. This is the audio recording from that conversation.

Robin Hoyle: So, Andy Lancaster, at CIPD, award winning author of books about Learning & Development. I want to start by talking about some of the stuff that you've got in that book. In Driving Performance Through Learning, you suggest that L&D teams need to focus their effort very much more on workflow learning. Perhaps they've not been doing enough of that in the past, is the kind of implication that I take from that. What does that mean in practise, particularly when we're talking about self-directed learning for people involved in organising development for their folks in the organisation?

Andy Lancaster: So, firstly, great to be here. Always love a conversation with you, Robin. So don't know where this is going to go, but we'll find our way through this somehow, so I'm looking forward to it. So, there's always been a tension between what the organisation needs in terms of Learning & Development and what the employee needs. In many ways, those are two sides of the same coin. I think what's really interesting, this is a brilliant time for us in learning & development, there's not many good things that have come out of COVID-, but this is an interesting one because the employee voice has been massively amplified.

We now understand employee focus in terms of things like flexible working. There has been a shift between the organisation having real control over this and understanding now that this is something where we need to focus. ‘Driving Forms Through Learning’ was created pre COVID. I called out, as many others were doing, this real need to look at self-directed learning. And there's other things in the book around communities of practice and curation and coaching, but I think that the underpinning for this is that there needs to be some transfer of control to the learner. I think that's a really important thing - it may be worth saying there is a real distinction, which I got tripped over recently, on self-directed versus self-determined learning. I think it might be worth just making sure we've got this right. Self-directed learning means that we allow people to shape their learning provision - to shape their learning priorities. This comes from Malcolm Knowles’ thinking around adults actually needing to be involved in the planning of learning and how it's undertaken - those kind of things. Self-determined learning allows the learner to control their learning. I think we need to make sure we don't, in a lazy way, interchange these terms. Self-determined learning means what do you want to learn, how will you learn it, how will you go about that? So, I think for me there is this real sense that now, self-determined might be quite challenging for organisations because clearly there are some things which the organisation might need us to actually focus on. But without doubt there is a real opportunity for organisations and learning professionals, to pursue a more self-directed route where we allow learners to shape their learning. There are some key reasons why I think that is important but perhaps that’s a good point to stop and examine those differences and how we need to pursue them.

Robin Hoyle: I get that, and I think that the idea of directing not what only they are going to learn but the route that they take to gain they are going to learn those skills and capabilities seems to make perfect sense. We talk a lot within the industry about the idea of engagement and I think what you're talking about goes beyond the idea of people doing the stuff that we've asked them to do and being much more active within a process of saying, ‘actually, I need to really build these skills through working with peers, through working with subject matter experts, through working with role models within my organisation’. How does the L&D team get involved in ensuring those options are available that the options we are putting before people give them genuine choice rather than just saying you can either do A, B or C but that’s’ it - which doesn’t feel like a directive to me, it feels like here’s my smorgasbord and you can choose these things but you’ve actually got to have this!

Andy Lancaster: I was talking to someone the other day and I've used this analogy in our team a bit. I quite like this analogy of slalom skiing. I want to make it clear that I am not a skier, but I'm an avid watcher of this kind of stuff. So, if you look at slalom skiing, they're up at the top of the hill, they've got to get down to the bottom and there are some defined gates they have to go through. What you do between those gates is up to you. You can spin, you can do whatever you want to do. So I think analogies for me around this Robin, is how do we now allow people to have more expression around their learning? And I think to your point, choice is an important concept here of how we do this. I grew up in a time when you had a white coffee. That was the deal, wasn't it? I won't mention brands, but you had a white coffee, that's what you did. Now you go into a coffee shop, and as consumers, we’re used to choosing from Americanos, Flat whites, Macchiatos - it's, all those kinds of things. There is a sense that now we have far more sophisticated learners who understand that choice is important to them. I think that the starting point for us as learning professionals is to really think about choice - there are specific things we can do around that which we can unpack - but I think that's the point. It's not one size fits all. We knew it never was. I'm not going to stray into the learning styles debate, that one's debunked. We're not talking about different learning styles here. What we're talking about is different options for learners. I think it was Henry Ford who allegedly said, you can have any car providing it's black. We've got to move beyond that, we've got to move beyond those kinds of things. So, a choice-based design approach, I think, is the starting point for us.

Robin Hoyle: I think it's an interesting idea, and I'm thinking about the foremost philosopher of the late 20th and early 21st century, who was, of course, Paul Weller, who said that the people want what the people get. And there's an element there within the thinking about learners, or consumers, or people who are making choices - which is that they don't always choose the best options. And you talk in the book at length around this role of L&D as consultants, and I think we've kind of thought of that before as consultants to the business, consultants to the organisation. But is there a role there in terms of acting as a consultant to the learners, to the participants in the programmes, or to those who need to develop capability to help them navigate well. What do these choices mean for them? What's the most appropriate thing for you in your circumstance? And that becomes a kind of coaching conversation in some ways.

Andy Lancaster: Immediately I'm kind of tipping from small organisation to large organisation and we’ve got to understand that at scale, all these things become more challenging. But the answer is absolutely yes. And I think even in large organisations, we can get alongside managers, and it's something I want to perhaps touch on in a minute, because managers are crucial in this self-directed process. It's an absolutely vital role they play. I think we can get a sense of what choices might be useful and like you said, you may have formal learning in there, but I know you're passionate about informal learning. There's so many wraparounds we can put around these things in terms of curated resources. We can put around coached interventions, we could put around community conversations. I think it's not as difficult for us to do, and in many senses, I think we're doing a lot of this stuff. But for me, the intentionality is the key thing on here that we are getting alongside learners as well as the business. And it comes back to the old kinds of thing the business might say. Now I don't want to be derogatory to the businesses but often we're talking senior leaders here. The most cost-effective way of this is dumping some elearning on the organisation That's the most cost-effective way of doing it, but it isn’t necessarily going to move behaviour. I think it's us being far more consultative with the learners, but also far more consultative and perhaps assertive with senior leaders to actually say, we know about learning, this is our job and there are more effective ways to put this together. So, that choice-based menu is really important for us to have and then people can opt in and out of that, managers can support that But yeah, we need to get away from this one size fits all, I think.

Robin Hoyle: A lot of the work that I do is talking about, okay, so you've got this thing, whatever that is, whether it's a course, whether it's some other form of input, whether it's just a piece of comms. But it's something which says, here's what we want you to be able to do - and then there is that gap between - I now know, or I have been informed or I've been taken through a process which gives me some clarity about what it is that I need to do - but I haven't yet got to the point where I'm practising those skills day to day. I'm not getting feedback as I do it in real-time, in real work, in real situations.

Where does the role of L&D shift and how do we bring that evidence which says, we know that if you learn new things and you don't apply that within a work environment and you don't get some feedback about how well that's going, whether that's from peers or managers or coaches or whatever label we give those individuals, then the chances are you're not going to get that much better at doing things without some kind of feedback and support and advice as you go along.

So what is it that we need to do as L&D people to reframe our approach to stop thinking, if indeed people are still thinking this way in a kind of an event mindset, and to start thinking about that idea of developing capability over a longer term, longer phase of the process?

Andy Lancaster: Yeah, goodness me, there are some key things you've said there, which just got my mind spinning into various orbits. But I think one of the things for me in writing the book and thinking this, I'm an active learning practitioner at CIPD, so I'm wrestling the same challenges here about creating learning journeys and all those kinds of things. I think it's naive just to think that this transition will happen. We work in organisations, which have incredible muscle memory. Organisations have been providing learning in very fixed ways for a long period of time. But I found Gerald Grove's model really helpful in this one. It's a stage model of self-directed learning. This is some really practical stuff; I think we've got to rewire ourselves as learning professionals so you can look it up - Gerald Grove's model.

Grove comes up with four things. He said in most organisations, you start with dependent learners. They are, as you've said, reliant on instruction, they're reliant on the organisation. You tell me what to do. Now, that's the kind of state that most learning professionals, I think, will probably find within their organisation. What there is, is a way of nudging and building our practise to kind of get more of this kind of self-directed, motivated learning.

In stage two, interested learners, we introduce some kind of accountability. We engage learners to talk about their personal needs rather than generic goals. We go from just formal learning into wrap around processes.

Stage three, growth is about involved learners. There we begin to involve learners in the process. They join us in the design, in the decision making. We may have people representing on our design teams, which is something I do at CIPD, which is brilliant. As we're designing things. gracious me, how crazy is it that we don't have learners on our design teams! Any Product Designer would do that.

And lastly, Grove says you then get to self-directed learners where people having been interested and involved, then become far more ready to take responsibility for their learning. At this stage, what I think we then do as learning teams, needs to change. We then become information gatherers, resources, we become coach, mentors, we're alongside the process.

So, I think for me that model is useful because I was wrestling with how do you get from people who are totally dependent on organisations for prescribing learning to get to the self-direction. I think those four stages are useful and there are very pragmatic things we can do at each of those stages.

Robin Hoyle:I think some of that is about just that transparent and open communication with people - these are the skills you've got now - these are the skills that we as an organisation are going to need. And there's not a route map for that. That's not to say you have to develop these skills versus those skills, It’s, we need a bunch of people who can do this, we also need a bunch of people who can do that, and we need a bunch of people who can do that other thing. So there's an element there of you determining using that term wisely, and deciding what your career path might be, and then directing your learning with the support of the organisation, to achieve the goals that you have collectively agreed.

I was working with an organisation recently and they've got tens of thousands of coders worldwide and obviously they're constantly building their capability. So we've got we know what's coming down the path in terms of the contracts that we've won, all the projects that we're going to be working on. We're going to need people who are able to code in this language or to work on this kind of output. And here's some stuff which enables you to learn to do that. But what was really great about that was, as well as choosing which path I take, as I got towards the end of that and I start to create some output, I can then go onto a part of the organisation intranet or learning experience platform or whatever it is, and identify a mentor anywhere in the world who is tagged for those skills and say, ‘Right, I'm going to send you some code will you give me some feedback on what could be better, how I could do it more efficiently, effectively’, whatever it is.

That idea works particularly well because of the scale. I think they have 65000 programmers in this organisation. So, you know, you've got a lot of folk there. We're not talking about one poor individual who is expert at everything, getting all of these requests in. We're talking about hundreds of people who can provide that support. And that felt to me, like a very modern way of utilising the kind of technology and data that we've got about people and their capabilities. To say, here's some stuff, but the standards don't change. We need to be able to code this language at this level to this effect, to achieve this objective. And I thought that was a really, really interesting use of a more learner centred, learner led approach to learning, but it didn't water down the organisational requirements in any way.

Andy Lancaster: I think that connection thing is important. It's probably going back five years or so when we were talking about learning concierge. It was a bit of a buzzword. We love our buzzwords in learning. But that one, I think had a real relevance about it. I do get to travel a bit. You're in a foreign city and you want to find a restaurant then you go to the hotel concierge. If the concierge doesn't know, they'll find out for you. And I think this concept that we've got to be the subject experts, I mean, it's ridiculous. Okay, we might have some subject expertise around leadership just because of our own roles. I think, Robin, of where I've worked in Substance Misuse, I've worked in Adult Social Care, I've worked in Technology, but my expertise is around learning.

I think to your point there, what we've got to do, this concierge model is brilliant because what we do is we spend more time thinking about how we connect people, how do we find resources which is why curation for me is fundamental in this one. So, it does change the model of learning and in some ways it's a release for me. I haven't got to be the person who knows how to make a darn Pivot table work. That's just not my skill set. But what I do know is that Sue is brilliant at that, or there's a great little micro video on the Microsoft site. So, I think our role is changing and I honestly find that by realising that, I actually can be more coordinating concierge than having to be beavering away. Let's face it, we've all done it. You buy a Dummy's guide because you hope that you can, in the space of ten minutes, you can understand Nuclear Fusion. It just doesn't work like that. So, this allows me to be a brilliant learning professional doing what learning professionals should do.

Robin Hoyle: One of the interesting things about that then, is that that extends out with the kind of L&D team because it's one of the areas where, when I've spoken to line managers about their role in supporting learning and obviously that gets into a conversation about my role as coach quite quickly, because that's language that people understand, and they have this fear of coaching because they don't know the answers, they don't necessarily feel confident that they can say, okay, well, what you need to do next, Fred, is the following. And that kind of stops them having the conversation. Whereas all of our research, and there's no kind of rocket science in this, says, actually, you need to signpost people, you need to ask questions, you need to get them to propose action. Rather than as a coach, you to be the the person saying, do this, do that, do the following. And that idea of not necessarily having all the answers is both liberating but scares the bejesus out of people, let's be honest, because I'm the manager, I'm supposed to know stuff!

Andy Lancaster: But it's an interesting one, isn't it? Because I think at the heart of this is a control issue, which I guess now, being mid-career, later-career, you're more confident in not knowing. I think you get to the point where you're okay with that and I would recognise a 20-year-old Andy Lancaster, when I was working in Technology as an instructional designer, I wouldn't have been in that place. But I think what we need to rest on is that we are learning professionals, and even if we're new to the profession, it's okay not to know and it's okay to go away and think about this kind of stuff. And anybody who's a genuine consultant, the ones who I work with, and we work with major organisations, the ones who I am so impressed with are the ones who don't shoot from the hip quick. The ones who just take a moment to think and even take an issue away. I think control is a big issue in learning.

For many years, organisations have controlled it, we have controlled how we present stuff So, I think now it is going back to being, like you said, a smorgasbord. We can have a whole range of things that we develop, we provide, and we resource. If we want to put in evidence, we want to put in theory, we want evidence-based information around this. This is not some trendy thing. We know things like self-determination theory, Deci and Ryan, those kinds of things. We know that self-directed learning is hugely motivational When people are tapping into what they want to learn, hopefully that connects with what the organisation wants.

It raises the whole issue, Robin, around professional development as well, and we've been doing some work on this at CIPD. I get a chance to hang around many areas and one of them is the whole thing about employee engagement in organisations. Now, the organisations that are going to attract and retain individuals are those who are committed to professional development. There's good evidence around that. So, again, it's a really onus on us. This is a brilliant business case lever if we say to senior managers, if you are committed to professionally developing your staff, then they are more likely to stay and more likely to be attracted to our business. I think there's a number of levers around motivation that this is so timely for us.

Robin Hoyle: I think just to kind of flip that and move that conversation on, one of the things that you talk about is whether we're talking about workflow learning, self-directed learning, access and curated content, whatever it is. You talk about the need for monitoring and measurement, which we all know, we've all had conversations with people who go, well, the trouble with informal learning is you can't measure it, you can't measure what people are doing. What is more, there are some who would say, and neither should you measure it. I know that you've got some views on that, which kind of chime with mine, which is well you damn well should, because it's important that we know what capabilities people have within the organisation.

So how do you square that circle when you say, look, we're going to be more self-directed, we're going to be more learner led, we're going to be engaging them in the design process. But actually, we're still going to hold people to account for their capability? How do you square that in such a way that it makes sense for people?

Andy Lancaster: We've already talked about the huge weight coming off learning professionals -learning impacts. Let's relieve another weight off our shoulders on this one without abdicating this. The reality is that impact and measurement and transfer, must sit with the individual and the line manager. I mean, that's my take now. It's not an abdication, this is the reality. I'm a line manager, I've got a big team, I'm the one who knows what's going on in my team. I know one of my team right now being developed for assessment skills, because we now need to develop capability to assess formal programmes and what we're doing. So, the more I look at this, the role of the line manager shouts out to me, and you're right, we cannot let ourselves off the hook. It's very easy to say we just can't measure the issues. But we can and we’ve just got to get better at it.

If we think about line managers, they're crucial in the learning ecosystem. If we want to use a trendy word, they ‘sponsor activities’, they conduct performance assessments, they create time for staff development activities, they're informal coaching, all these kinds of things. I think where I would go is to say, if we're going to track this, we need to get the managers involved. Now, this is not an additional activity for incredibly busy, stressed managers. This is part of what you do as a manager. You know where your team are performing, you know what your team need to do if you're the coding manager, you know what you need to develop. I think this is key, that we get alongside managers, and we walk the floor, even if that is virtually, alongside our managers. That's where the intelligence comes back.

One really interesting example we saw a couple of years ago within a classic management development programme, where they tried to measure the impact of that management development programme. Now, we've all kind of been there. There's one organisation we saw that went to staff and asked them to write, I think it was a kind of a micro blog, on how it impacted their practice. They got back this brilliant feedback. They created a little eBook which they shared with senior managers Okay, it isn't hard quantitative data, but the qualitative data that came back suggested, this is what I'm doing now because of exploring this, or the coaching I've had. All those kinds of things. I think, get alongside the line managers. Let's make it easy for them in the moment, in the flow, with naturally occurring evidence, rather than trying to get Kirkpatrick levels going, I think that's where we need to go. I think we’d do well to remember that this only works when it works with line managers. That’s got to be a priority for us as learning professionals.

Robin Hoyle: I think that's interesting. One of the things that I've been playing around with is the idea of having peer review activities on a platform which we can look at and kind of comment on, using a kind of social media, social learning style approach, but within a cohort, so it's private to the cohort. The cohort can work through this stuff and can make suggestions and can work with each other without any kind of anxiety about where the information goes? Because it goes to you and the colleagues who you've been involved in this programme with. That's it. And one of the things that we've been doing with that is extracting some of that information, sometimes anonymously and sometimes not, depending on the relationship that we've got with the individual and sharing that with managers and saying, okay, so this is what Mohammed has said about their experience. What can you do next to make that even better or to get that to another level altogether? How can you make that work? I think that idea of reflection, as, you know, this idea of it not being very complicated or difficult, the idea of saying, what have you done? So what? What have you learned? What can you do differently next time? Next time is a conversation that can happen in two or three minutes and happens best once it has become so embedded within the organisation that the conversation happens internally. You no longer need somebody externally to ask you those questions. You're asking those questions of yourself. What do they do? So what? What next? That approach, I think, is vital to how we shift the needle on learning from being that dependent learner model of - I expect to be taught and I expect to be trained - through to - I am responsible for my own capability. I guess that's a long-winded way of saying, we know that quite a lot of organisations are still focusing on learning and training as being a series of inputs, whether those are event based or eLearning modules or we've created this fancy LMS system, and you've got some stuff that you can look at and we want them to move more towards that. Being engaged with the workplace, having a direct line between any inputs and activity and for those inputs to be more determined by and with learners, so that they can self-direct through that journey and choose the things which have most relevance and most resonance with them. What are the steps that we take to move from that first vision, this idea of organising courses so we enable people to learn, what is it that as L&D people, we need to do to move that on?

Andy Lancaster: I'm going to give a few quick answers here. There's more detail in the book, but these are a few things that I do for my own reflection. Reflective practise Robin is so key in this one. If we could embed reflective practise in the organisation, naturally occurring, these are the kind of questions we as managers ask staff in our one-to-ones, in our support and our supervision. What do we do? How could we do this better? I think that's absolutely key. But here's a few things which I think I think we need to support. A change in learner mindset. I think learners often are very hardwired in how they anticipate learning is going to occur in organisations. Put them in their own personal life, they're probably sitting at home in the evening listening to a podcast or all that kind of stuff. But we have this strange kind of war between what we do in our personal lives and what we do at work. I think we need to help learners in terms of learning differently. We need to look at this mindset. I think things like curiosity are really important, self-awareness and that kind of reflection is really crucial. I kind of revisited some of my stuff because I trained as a teacher and lectured at university in education. Going back a long way, we used to look at metacognition. Now, if you don't know what metacognition is, this is just thinking about how we think. This kind of sounds a bit kind of academic, but it's important. And the psychologist John Flavell, who was the of brains behind this metacognition, he went and said there's some key stages in this. One is knowledge individuals need to understand themselves. They need to be able to plan, monitor and evaluate how they're doing things. I think we need to help learners in planning, monitoring, adapting and evaluating. That's a very practical thing we can do. I think there's some very helpful things we could do and I put a checklist in the book around this. I've not got time to unpack it now, but I think really helping learners to think about learning is so important. We could create micro videos, there's all sorts of ways we could do it, but just to get people thinking differently is crucial.

I think another key one, we've touched on it already, but offering a learning buffet not fixed menus, and I'm not the only one to say this. If you look at the different ways we could learn, so if we went to a buffet, this is not just quiche, sausage rolls and French bread. There are so many things we could put on the buffet table and many of those things are naturally occurring. There's lots of ways we can create resources. In fact, we can curate great content around this.

I think as learning professionals, looking closely at the whole range of things we can do is really important. The other one I think is to get live professional development plans. I'm quite passionate about this. I think every member of staff should have, whether we call it a personal development plan or a professional development plan, it is incumbent on me as a manager to sit down with my staff and understand what are we trying to achieve here? What's your aspiration, what are you trying to do? I think if that's a live process, it makes it much better. So just to recap constantly. We need to help learners to rethink learning, think about the process of learning. How do they do that - create a whole range of resources which support that, even getting learners to be part of the process of finding those resources and then really thinking through, what’s a professional development plan is? What are you doing it for? I think responsible managers will do that.

I think there's a few practical things and Robin, we could easily do that - I don't think any of those are rocket science. I think the learning department is going to work alongside managers to make those things happen. I think it's totally do-able.

Robin Hoyle: I think this idea of the learning development plan, call it what you will, that idea of saying, well, what am I going to be able to do in x number of months, x number of years, where do I want my career to go? That has never been more important. When you see how many people have a skill set which actually has been overtaken by events. The skills that we need in a year's time, in five years’ time, are very, very different from the skills that people are recruited with. Therefore there has to be that process of growth, of development, of being able to adapt to the changing circumstances in which they find themselves. I find organisations that organisations are being, I'll be genuinely honest, a little ill-equipped to deal with some of that stuff, because this has changed at a level which most organisations would find difficult and challenging. I find the idea that somehow we can roll out the same old course calendar that we've been running for the past five or six years, to be utterly nonsensical within an environment that is changing at that level.

The idea that people are thinking about, what skills do we need in an organisation, is part of that mix. What aspirations do you have as an individual is part of that mix. What is it that actually really inspires and excites you and that you want to know more about? Because that then speaks to that idea that you were talking earlier about talent retention, about keeping people within the organisation, which ultimately is - am I being excited by the opportunities that are there?

We've all come across CPD points and all of those things where towards the end of the year, we tick over the boxes and say, I read that journal and all those things, but that's not exciting. That's box ticking. And we need to move it out of that conversation and into something which says, this is genuinely about where do you want to be? What do you want to do with your work? Because you spend a lot of time here. How can that be more exciting for you?

Andy Lancaster: I think that the pace of change shows us that as learning professionals, the actual support for learning is the crucial thing right now? This is changing very quickly now with AI. I was talking research this morning about AI content creation. This is moving very fast right now, but we need to be experts in supporting the learning process and that's a very different concept. I think, for many learning professionals, our knee jerk response is not to write materials or courses or to schedule events, but to actually think about the creative ways that these things can happen. Ironically, my last two roles have been in third sector organisations. I was working on adult social care with adults, many of whom had dementia, those kinds of things. We didn't have shed loads of money and certainly working in drug rehab, where we didn't have huge budgets. It's a really challenging sector. Many of this stuff is actually far more cost effective to do than to go and procure some LMS course or to get an expert to write it. What we're looking at is pairing people. I look back to my days working in Substance Misuse and Rehab. We had experts in the organisation connecting people with the required expertise. That didn't cost anything. There was just time involved. I think this is not about asking for more money or bigger budgets, it’s just being a lot smarter with the resourcing that we have.

If I think back, Robin, in the adult social care, we did a questionnaire on what skills do you have that the organisation doesn’t know that you've got? We were astonished because you tend to be defined by your current role, don't you? But we forget someone has had, like, years of other experience. We unearthed all manner of expertise in the organisation. So, there's a tip for those listening here. Go and find out what don’t you know. Lift the lid and find out what you don't know about staff, because you may well have some very experienced experts and coaches already in the organisation who are just hiding their light under a bushel right now. So that's one worth doing.

Robin Hoyle: I think that’s useful, useful advice. Going and asking some people some questions is always good. Andy Lancaster, that has been a great conversation and thank you ever so much for joining us. I hope that people will have a look at the book. I hope people will think hard about some of the things that they've been doing. Thank you very much for your time today.

Wait, there's more

Tell us your perspective