According to my colleague Jay Cross, Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo originated the 70:20:10 framework at the Center for Creative Leadership in North Carolina. Their 1996 book, The Career Architect, stated that lessons learned by successful managers came roughly:
- 70% from real life and on-the-job experiences, tasks, and problem solving
- 20% from feedback, and working with and observing role models
- 10% from courses and reading
Research also shows that most workplace learning is informal. But when do you move from formal instruction to informal learning? An interesting article on management coaching uses the metaphor of riding a bike. When is it time for the parent to let go of the bicycle and let the child ride alone?
Jesse Lyn Stoner says:
How do you recognize that moment – that it is time to let go? I consider these four questions:
Do they have the skills and knowledge they need?
Have they demonstrated their ability to do this in other settings or similar ways?
Do they want to do it?
Do they have the resources they need to do the job?
These are the types of questions that training departments and HR professionals should be asking. When is it time to let go? Are they looking for indicators, or are they just wed to their preferred methods of control. I think it’s a great question to ask: When do you let your employees ride on their own? If there is no clear answer, perhaps most workers are still encumbered with training wheels.
If the organization has no methods in place to mark the time that employees can ride on their own, then they may be treating their workforce like children. At what point can someone make decisions to spend a few hundred, or even a few thousand, dollars to address an issue that is important to get work done? With metaphorical training wheels, nobody falls, but the riders never achieve full speed either. Are these the kinds of employees you want? Give them a chance to really ride.
[This post was written after a great 70 KM bike ride on a fall day in the middle of the week]