The Changed and Changing Role of L&D Functions

From intervention delivery to performance support and growth enablement

Changing times require an adaptive way of enabling people to perform. Unfortunately today’s way of developing people focus on talent management, leadership development and legally required upskilling. Performance Support and Growth Enablement has rather a mean aside. What is HR’s function besides administrative tasks? Human resources considers humans as production factors. As such it is HR’s task to create the conditions in which humans can deliver what they are thought for and to give them things back which create a balanced relationship between giving and taking.

We develop leaders and support talents. We hope that leaders support their employees in doing stuff and foster talents to deliver an even more potent performance. It remains a hope. Cross your heart: Are you as a leader capable to develop your employees? Did anybody helped you developing this skills as a leader? Did anybody assessed those skills during your recruiting? Leading people is not just about delegating personal development to HR. You’re in charge of recognizing needs, shaping how to cover them and supporting the development.

In former times development tasks were usually delegated. Unfortunately there is each time a gap between needing, developing, applying and sustaining. Blending learning with phases of leadership involvement theoretically works, practically it doesn’t as development is not integrated enough in the process of work. What may work for big steps of development anyhow doesn’t for the majority of knowledge and skill needs. Those too often and increasingly rapid change so that it is obvious that traditional ways of developing people to make them fit for future on the long run doesn’t work.

If it is not possible to develop people strategically as we did it in the past topic wise, accompanying them by creating an environment which contains space, time and skills to self-develop leads to success.

Knowledge and expertise is too often hidden, fragmented or not accessible. Aggregating sources, gathering expertise and enabling access spreads internal wisdom and saves time by proactively searching, qualifying, transforming and curating what’s already there.

The bigger a company is the more probable it is that expertise already exists. Identifying this expertise and connecting people to communities to support each other and to exchange boost knowledge and skills.

Increasing knowledge and skills foster competencies. This evolution leads towards change. Unmanaged change may lead to loosing direction or at least doesn’t support the companies’ strategy. So personal development is closely connected with change management.

Supporting performance and enabling growth doesn’t happen without communication. Cultural change needs communication as well and is at the same time the channel through which we get in touch with our internal customers. I’m even claiming that the right communication reduces development needs.

Disrupting People Development is for me exchanging it by Performance Support and Growth Enablement. Focus is creating conditions which support performance and growth in all moments of need by the 5 Cs:

  • Companionship (accompanying leaders and employees)
  • Curation (of knowledge and expertise)
  • Community Management (bringing people together to learn from each other and to raise knowledge and expertise to higher power)
  • Change Management (enabling people to change and driving change)
  • Communication (translating the companies’ strategy)

Form follows Function (the performance), Need (the moment) and Learner (the receiver).

Written by Christian Böhler.

One Response

  1. Telkom University

    Can you provide insights into how L&D functions contribute to fostering a culture of continuous learning within companies?


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