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A Model For Developing Your 70:20:10 Strategy

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This post explores the key elements of an effective 70:20:10 or learning strategy. It also includes two simple tools you can use to review your current strategy or to assist in scoping the elements of your proposed strategy.

Whether you’re piloting the approach or preparing to roll out across your organisation, the first step in developing a full 70:20:10 strategy is to design or adopt a solid strategy model that will underpin your implementation process. This should include most, or all, of the following components:

The set of decisions and actions required at the outset will include the following:

a. Development of the 70:20:10 vision for your organisation.
What does 70:20:10 mean to you?  Where do you want to be in three years’ time? What will learning and development activities look like across your organisation?

b. Definition of a set of principles to underpin your 70:20:10 approach.
What are your principles of operation? Will your focus be on consistency, efficiency, agility, scalability, business-focus or some other operating principles?

c. Clarity about how your 70:20:10 implementation is to be governed.
Where is accountability and responsibility held? How will your governance council/board be constituted? What are its terms of reference?

d. Details of what is to be included in the scope of your 70:20:10 implementation, and what is to be excluded.
Is this a new strategy for your entire organisation? Or will it only be deployed for specific business units or to transform particular programs or courses? Where do the responsibilities for learning and development lie? What responsibilities will the HR and L&D department hold? What are the responsibilities of line leaders? What responsibilities are in the hands of individual workers?

e. Definition of the HR/L&D and Line Leader capabilities that need to be in place to support the implementation.
Do you already have all the capabilities needed? If not, what is required? How are you going to acquire or develop the capabilities you need? Can capability gaps be closed through a development plan, or do you need to hire them in?

f. Description of the methodologies you plan to implement.
It is important for consistency that you agree on a limited set of standard development, evaluation and measurement approaches. How will you engage line leaders in development? Which performance consulting approaches do you plan to use?

g. Outline of the types of technologies that will be needed (if any) to support your 70:20:10 strategy.
Those who migrate learning and development from ‘pure’ formal – classroom and eLearning modules – likely will need different tools and technologies to support the ‘70’ and ‘20’ development activities. The  LMS may not be enough. What are the likely tools and technologies you’ll need?

h. High-level plan for development of any new content that is required to support 70:20:10 implementation.
Do you need any specific content to underpin and support the implementation, such as guidelines, checklists and toolkits? Is there any existing content that should be disposed of as it is no longer needed?

i. Design of any administration systems (people and processes) you need in place to support 70:20:10 implementation.
Do you need additional resources or do you need to re-allocate resources to support your plans? Are there new processes that need to be developed and deployed?

j. Outline of a clear communications plan to support your implementation.
Who needs to be involved in executing this plan? Do you need to engage your internal communications or marketing teams? Any others?

k. Development and sign-off for a financial plan to provide the budget to complete the implementation, together with a business case reflecting the financial benefits that will be delivered.
What financial resources are needed for your implementation?  Is there any initial additional financial resource requirement? What about the benefits that will accrue through 70:20:10 implementation? What data can you provide to support the business case?

Hints and Tips

  • There is no ‘silver bullet’ - your organisation’s 70:20:10 strategy may be similar to others, but it won’t be identical. Understanding your own context is important
  • Some organisations will have a defined 70:20:10 strategy, whilst others will have 70:20:10 embedded within a broader ‘people’ plan
  • The strategy should define your vision, but also contain enough detail for effective implementation:
  • Balance an exciting vision with the need to successfully execute your strategy and ensure you ‘Do what you say you’ll do!’
  • Think top-down and bottom-up
  • Enrol your key stakeholders early
  • Decide how you plan to measure impact and benefits  before you start
  • Look for ‘low-hanging fruit’ and quick wins
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Explore Further

Activity - The attached checklist is a simple reflection activity that can help you review your current learning strategy, or assist you in creating your proposed strategy. Conduct the activity individually or preferably, as a group exercise. Be sure to collate, share and action your results.

Toolkit Resources - The 70:20:10 Forum toolkit contains a variety of important tools and resources to support the development and execution of your 70:20:10 strategy. Some of the key resources to support planning and execution include:


This post explores some of the key elements of an effective learning strategy. Do you have a defined 70:20:10 or learning strategy, or is 70:20:10 embedded in a broader people strategy? What are your reflections upon exploring the post or completing the activity? Why not share your feedback, comments and experiences with our community

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