Are you wondering how to make sure the lessons taught through your leadership training and development efforts stick weeks, months, or years later?

There is no magic bullet to ensure people apply what they learn. But there are steps you can take to create leadership programs, experiences, and support mechanisms that improve the likelihood that lessons will be absorbed and applied. Over time, new skills, perspectives, or behaviors can be reinforced, until they become unconsciously and competently put to use.

We understand that individuals — and organizations — face significant challenges in their efforts to apply and integrate learning and develop the leadership capacity they need.

You may be in a position to acknowledge and help overcome the challenges to learning in your organizations. You are likely in a position to influence supervisors and executives, as well as potential participants, in leadership development efforts.

Learning Transfer: The 3 x 3 x 3 Model

Learning is a process, and works best when it’s viewed as more than merely a program. Leadership development can include formal or classroom-based training — but it’s just one piece of the puzzle that must have corresponding pieces back on the job.
Research supports the value of extending learnings into the workplace. Most executives cite on-the-job experiences as the key events that shaped them as leaders and taught them important skills, behaviors, or mindsets.
In fact, research shows that senior executives distribute their sources of key developmental experiences as 70% on-the- job challenges, 20% other people, and 10% formal coursework and training. We use 70-20-10 as a guideline, not a formula for creating learning experiences. Yet we know that experiences that focus on creating learning in all 3 categories can boost learning transfer and accelerate development.
Learning transfer is also a social process. Learning — and the desired performance that comes from it — doesn’t take place in isolation. The work context including the level of support from role models, mentors, peers, coaches, and bosses has a powerful impact on turning lessons learned into leadership in action.
Drawing on our understanding of and experience with adult learners, we’ve created a 3 x 3 x 3 Model for Learning Transfer. This framework informs our leadership development work — and can be applied to development programs or initiatives within your organization. Here’s how:
  1. Think in 3 Phases. This includes 3 steps — prepare, engage, and apply.
  2. Use 3 Strategies. This includes a key leadership challenge, in-class accountability partners, and at-work learning partners.
  3. Ensure Partners Take Responsibility. This includes the learner, the organization, and the training partner.
Increasingly, client organizations are asking to partner with us to look at organizational change and leadership development in ways that are both large-scale and deeply personalized. Our 3 x 3 x 3 Model for Learning Transfer is one way we meet this need by helping our partners get the most impact from their investment in leadership development. And it outlines the critical steps that are required of the leadership development sponsor in the organization.
In the white paper below, we go into greater detail about each aspect of the 3 x 3 x 3 model, exploring practical applications that your organization can take advantage of right away.
Download White Paper

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