70-20-10: An Outdated Learning Model or Proven Success?

It’s well-accepted that the majority of a person’s learning absolutely doesn’t happen within the four walls of a classroom. And managers are no exception.

We’re big promoters of the fact that everyone learns best at their own pace using different techniques. Which is why we believe that there isn’t one ‘magic learning method’ that creates amazing leaders.

We do, however, think that having an awareness of the popular 70-20-10 learning model is the first step to ensuring your managers get the training they need to thrive.

The 70-20-10 Learning Model for Managers

Managers should be the people that your teams look to for inspiration and support when times get tough. They should also be the ones to celebrate success with.

The 70-20-10 model is a great framework for adapting and using alongside other learning methods to ensure your managers are equipped to deal with the pressures that this role can bring.

A recent study by CareerBuilder.com reported that a huge 58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training at all. We find this quite shocking, as we all know that a person can be amazing at what they do, but not necessarily have the skills to successfully manage others.

So if you’re reading this thinking that your organisation needs to up its management training game, the information we’re about to share with you will probably come in quite handy.

How does the model work?

70, 20 and 10 refer to the percentage of a manager’s time that should be spent on learning from three different sources…

70% of knowledge should be gained doing the job

People ‘learn through doing’ and refine the skills they need to do a job successfully. This is valuable time where they can interact with and take advice from their own managers, navigate challenges and learn from mistakes.

20% social learning i.e. learning from others

This one is as it sounds – learning from peers, being coached or mentored, attending mastermind groups and engaging in other types of collaborative learning.

10% learning through formal training

Any course with a start and an end point counts as formal training, whether that be E-learning, micro-training sessions, face to face courses or other forms of learning delivered by a training provider.

The Modern-Day Version of 70-20-10

This model was first created in the 1980s and, to point out the obvious, the world has come a long way since then.

With the evolution of technology and new ways of working, we definitely think there’s room for a modern day re-imagining of this well-established learning model.

So what do we think is great about it? And what could you change?

Ensure your people get a good mix of training

First thing’s first, your people won’t know which learning method is truly going to help them with their management skills until they’ve tried a few different things.

This is where the 70-20-10 model comes into its own. It acknowledges the fact that one size doesn’t fit all, and it pays to take a rounded approach to learning in your organisation.

These days businesses rarely have the time or inclination to spend lengthy periods in the training room and often need to see return on investment quickly. A great way to achieve positive business outcomes, as well as effective learning, is to make business improvement projects part of the development.

Be open to change up the percentages

Support your managers to learn in ways that can be adapted to their preferences. Because as we’ve already touched upon, everyone learns differently.

Some people might work better in a formal learning environment and need less time ‘on the job’ before they master their management skills. But they (and you) won’t know until they’ve started engaging with their learning programme and putting it into practice.

So ask them to give it a chance, but also be open to change if it still isn’t working for them.

Be flexible

Ask your management team how they feel they’re progressing, and if they need more support in the form of other types of training, do your best to facilitate it.

Global studies reveal that 79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving. So show your people that they’re not all expected to learn in exactly the same way, and it’ll show you really do want to support them on their journey to becoming a fantastic manager!

Bespoke management training programmes

We practice what we preach and believe that learning is more effective when tailored to the needs of your organisation. This is why our Rise to Leadership programme can be adapted to the unique needs of your team.

To find out more about our leadership training packages, get in touch.