First, apologies for the bad photograph, it was taken at the top of Sigiriya rock an ancient rock fortress in Sri Lanka!

Some years ago a friend mine Gavin Scovell and I organised a marvellous cricket tour to Sri Lanka. It was a great success and amongst some of the great people I met were Rahul Varma and his wife Preeti. Little did I know that our paths and opinions would cross years later.

It was a great success and amongst some of the great people I met were Rahul Varma and his wife Preeti. Little did I know that our paths and opinions would cross again years later.

Rahul is very clear and illuminating about his principles and that performance management has outlasted its utility…it was demotivating more people than it was motivating’. 

This is a very interesting and provocative statement and by that, he means that learning, trainin and learning systems have to change to meet the needs of the ‘millennials’ and Accenture has reacted in a revolutionary way to this need after researching the problem.

Accenture’s workforce is more than 370,000 of which 90,000 are millennials who we know they behave in a different way. This makes Accenture ‘over 70% millennial’.

Rahul Varma says their research found five things that produce great performance which happens when the following are present.

  1. Bring the best with passion
  2. Focus on the viral priorities
  3. Engage with your team
  4. Give real-time feedback
  5. Make output an action to grow not a theoretical response

This Accenture is calling ‘Performance Achievement’.

To satisfy the different learning style of this group Accenture have produced‘Accenture Connected Learning’. 

The ‘mantra’ is ‘time away to learn and learning all the time’.

At the core of this system, which connects130,000 learners, nearly100 classrooms, 1000 learning boards, is the curation of content by internal subject matter experts. He says in their system there is a wide variety of content in many different learning styles, both internal and external.

He goes on to say that the core principals of good training are

  1. ‘Make training leader-led
  2. Curate don’t create
  3. Real experiences-less about classrooms’

Exemplary as this is , Accenture’s budget for learning is a massive $840m so what are the lessons that smaller organisations or even SMEs can learn.

First old style training is largely ineffective for the millennials according to Accenture’s research. Forget ‘blended learning’, ‘e-learning’, blah, blah, blah, its old hat and it doesn’t work.

Second, if you know what you are doing do it yourself. If you are the subject matter expert find the material you need, there is tonnes out there on the internet. Evaluate it and if it is fit for the purpose and make some training out of it.

There are even cost effective tools like Easygenerator which let you produce your own e-learning or training in a few minutes!

Establish your objectives, see how the content fits, make it real and don’t make it like a classroom.

The era of formal education and training is dead!

Even, let your staff find the content they think is suitable and assess themselves. Take your training budget if you have one and invest it in giving people time to learn and foster a learning culture.

Human beings don’t have to be forced to learn they just need the tools to be able to do it, paraphrasing Sugata Mitra! (see previous post Schools as we know the are obsolete).

Our research is based on these principles and we are developing an eco learning system to support a more informal style of learning in a new freer way. It focuses on a truly learner-centric approach, assessment of the skills learned in real-time, cognitive assessment and tracking and how the individual outcomes fit the corporate strategy and performance of the organisation through measuring performance achievement as Rahul says.

Be inspired do it yourself!

Chris Heron