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How to Position 70:20:10 with Stakeholders: 70:20:10 Focus Series

This webinar (53:57min) and written summary explores considerations for positioning and socialising the 70:20:10 framework with various stakeholders. The session objectives were to:

  • Understand stakeholder needs and drivers
  • Align 70:20:10 with organisational challenges and outcomes
  • Socialise 70:20:10 across the organisation
  • Gain support for the next stage of your 70:20:10 business case or implementation
  • Use 70:20:10 Forum resources to support your approach

The primary resource referred to in this session is the Communication Toolkit for Positioning 70:20:10 with Stakeholders. This toolkit contains a number of resources you can use to assist in understanding and engaging your stakeholders, as well as socialising the 70:20:10 framework in your organisation.

Good Practice for engaging stakeholders

The following good practice examples and key points were identified during the webinar sessions. Consider how you can leverage these in support of your own engagement approach.

You can read the full transcript from the webinar recording below.


Stakeholder buy-in and support is critical to the successful adoption and implementation of 70:20:10. Many practitioners who see the potential of 70:20:10 are looking for ways to actively position and socialise the framework to individuals and stakeholder groups. They recognise the need to build business support, but many find it difficult to create opportunities to present their ideas and gain traction that will support further action.

We know we have something valuable to offer, but how do we get the conversations started?

Stakeholder Engagement

Conversation and listening are the keys to effective stakeholder engagement. Regular conversations help practitioners to:

  • Build relationships
  • Understand what drives the organisation
  • Understand the real issues
  • Understand what blocks or makes it difficult for people to do their work
  • Identify opportunities to add value
  • Align with organisational needs and priorities

‘If people feel listened to, they become more receptive to your message. And by doing the listening, you become more informed about what they really need — not just what you think they need — which will fuel your relationships with stakeholders over the long run’ - Nancy Duarte

Identifying our stakeholders

To get a feel for whom we are seeking to engage, the audience were asked to define their stakeholders. Responses had a strong focus on leaders at all levels, workers and the broader HR function amongst others. Some of the stand out comments included:

  • ‘Our Board and Heads of Business areas are primary stakeholders.   Then leaders and managers particularly in embedding the culture and of course individuals taking responsibility’
  • ‘Country managers are a couple of levels below our executive, but are responsible for delivery our programs in each of the countries that we operate in, so we have a range of cultural contexts that we also need to be aware of’
  • ‘Everyone is a stakeholder in this, our development plan template now requires people to consider 70/20/10’

The importance of the broader HR network in extending the reach of the learning function was also acknowledged:

‘Our HRBPs are key in helping us make this live and breathe in the business’

The session reinforced the idea that we need to consider a broad range of stakeholders, primarily within, but also beyond our organisation:

  • Executives
  • Line Leaders (People Managers)
  • Workers
  • L&D
  • Others (Suppliers, Customers).

The audience were asked what things were making it difficult to engage their stakeholders, to understand their needs and to position the opportunity for 70:20:10. A selection of the responses are listed below:

We should speak using our stakeholders’ language of work, rather than L&D’s language of learning

A key point raised in the session was the need to communicate to our stakeholders in their language of working, rather than L&D’s language of learning. Rather than lead with learning or a learning solution, appreciative inquiry and open questioning can be used to explore and understand what is really happening in our stakeholders’ worlds. This will create opportunities for us to talk about how we might be able to help. Instead of the language of learning, practitioners can instead speak from the perspective of:

  • ‘How do we help you do your work?’
  • ‘How do we help you solve your problems?’
  • ‘How do we help you get the right support?’
  • ‘How do we help you get better at what you do every day?’

We can be flexible in the language we use to respond to different stakeholders. Although we may speak to 70:20:10 and learning explicitly, more often than not, we can introduce the framework and associated workplace learning concepts and solutions with simple language that makes sense to the stakeholder.

Discussion points raised by the audience included:

  • ‘Often people already do great things. It is important to discover and reinforce the 'good stuff' and not give the impression of having to learn’
  • ‘People are change fatigued and it is imperative to not just add yet another framework but meaningful tasks that enhance individual growth’
  • ‘I agree. I found that 70:20:10 they glaze over. I've started using different words such as application or integrating learning or learning from each other’
  • ‘I like your words of 'how to help people do their job', 'how to solve their problems', 'how to do better each day'
  • ‘I listen for their pain point and talk their talk’
  • ‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’


Opportunity - We should use real examples and stories to demystify the framework and help others to see that it is not something new or extra. We can sell the fact that the organisation wants to provide better support to workers and to share good practice.

This raised an important consideration:

‘It strikes me that there is a dichotomy here - make it about work to engage people however, from an employee engagement perspective  when people are telling you they are not seeing progression and development you want to talk about learning’

Opportunity – As part of our ongoing approach, we need to change the perception that learning is separate from working, course and classroom based. We will need to help the organisation develop a new mindset and language around performance and development. We want all workers to recognise and value the role of workplace learning within the broader ecosystem that supports them to develop and perform.

Stakeholder Challenges and Needs

1. Organisational Challenges and the Needs of Executive Stakeholders

The image of a chameleon was used to reinforce that 70:20:10 can easily be contextualised to respond to specific strategic challenges. We can position the framework in terms of:

  • Building and sustaining capability
  • Building and sharing knowledge at the speed of business
  • Developing and engaging top talent
  • Supporting and developing a high performance culture or an agile and resilient, innovative workforce

We can talk about how a focus on line leader capability and performance support can have a significant impact on productivity.

We can position 70:20:10 as a lean methodology, demonstrating how we can achieve greater quality and impact, with greater speed and more efficient use of resources.

The audience were asked to share insights into gaining buy-in and support from executives and senior leaders.

2. The needs of Workers

We discussed what workers really want from their jobs and the expectations they have of their organisation’s leaders. These were discussed in terms of Dan Pink’s drivers of motivation, being ‘Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose’ and the below needs:

Give me:

  • A vision to work towards and clear direction so I can contribute
  • Opportunities to develop
  • Permission to try new things and learn from mistakes
  • Recognition and Feedback
  • Time, space and support to do my job

Help me:

  • Solve problems
  • Understand my role and priorities
  • Remove obstacles that make it hard to do my work
  • Get better at what I do every day

The audience were asked to share insights into gaining buy-in and support from workers.

Another important discussion thread was raised:

  • ‘These hooks are all great - we are still experiencing the challenge of individuals feeling they have 'lost' something’
  • ‘I think the accountability is really important in shifting culture’
  • ‘I live by small incremental positive changes every day’

Opportunity – We need to help workers recognise that the adoption of 70:20:10 means more (real) investment in development and greater opportunity, access and support for each worker. Our communication and change approach must consider and counter this risk. A broader focus on 70:20:10 should mean there is greater awareness of learning – people should be more conscious and aware of the difference in levels of support, accountability and opportunity. Sharing of case studies, stories, examples and impact can also help to reinforce a much stronger focus on development and performance. Support from line leaders, HR Business Partners and others to spread the message and role model the approaches will also contribute

3. The needs of Line Leaders

The audience were asked to share insights into gaining buy-in and support from line leaders and people managers.

4. The needs of the Learning Function

The importance of treating the learning function and the broader HR group was also discussed. 70:20:10 means change for the learning function. L&D challenges were used as a reference for understanding the significance of new approaches on the mindsets, capabilities and operating model of the learning function:

  • Deliver at greater speed (responsiveness)
  • Do more with less (efficiency)
  • Demonstrate clear value to stakeholders (impact)
  • Prioritise high value activities (resourcing)
  • Improve the reach and flexibility of solutions
  • To align more closely with organisational objectives

Engagement with the function and individual practitioners is essential to supporting the implementation of 70:20:10. It is important to take the time to make sense of the framework as a function – what does 70:20:10 mean to us, what language will we use to communicate it, how will we work together and support each other to play our role…

Although much of the session focused on conversations and listening, the importance of the learning function creating and selling a powerful vision for change was also discussed.

‘The CLO must create a vision for the future, put in place a business and operating plan that scales, centralize strategy and architecture, and engage top leadership in building a learning culture’. - Deloitte Learning and Development Human Capital Trends 2015


70:20:10 has tremendous potential to support our organisations, but it cannot be implemented without the active buy-in and support of stakeholders. Rich and ongoing conversations play an important role in connecting with our stakeholders, understanding their challenges and creating opportunities to align and utilise 70:20:10 to support success.

Further tools that can support you with engagement and communication around 70:20:10

Stakeholder Engagement: Communicating and Managing the Shift to 70:20:10 Based Learning

The Role of Continuous Stakeholder Engagement in Learning and Development

Explaining the 70:20:10 numbers

Communication Toolkit for Positioning 70:20:10 with Stakeholders

Trends Driving 70:20:10 - Reflection and Discussion Activity

Come back and share

What approaches are you using to engage your stakeholders individually and collectively? What are the hooks that are creating interest and helping you to gain the support of your stakeholders?

Continue the conversation by sharing your ideas, challenges, experiences and questions with the community.

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1 comment

In reading the article above, I have begun to search for a definition of "socialising 70:20:10" to use and embed in consultations and design activities for my manager development program.  I have come up with the following.  What do you think?


Behaviour - building relationships by building trust, e.g. completing tasks and responding in agreed timeframes

Skills - building trust through collaboration and rich conversations using the 'language of work' and focusing on  business solutions for 'everyday performance' issues, plus story-telling to showcase issues faced by others and solutions found

Knowledge - focusing those conversations on the stakeholder's needs and 'pain points'.


Linked to that key element of 70:20:10 of 'who we know' and not just 'what we know' to learn and find solutions for performance improvement.