The opportunity to reinvent L&D is here, so what’s next?

In our latest webinar, Emerald Works' Chief Impact Officer Nahdia Khan is joined by leading L&D thinker, Laura Overton, and Mind Tools' Head of Research Gent Ahmetaj to discuss our 2021 Annual Report.

Written by Mind Tools for Business
Published 14 October 2021
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The opportunity to reinvent L&D is here, so what’s next?
The findings of the 18th Annual L&D Benchmarking report, ‘Innovate, Dominate or Decline’, focus on how L&D leaders can navigate through uncertainty and have real impact on their organizations. The report draws on data pulled from 995 L&D senior leaders, collected via Mind Tools' Learning Performance Benchmark as well as insights from over 6,000 employees collected via our learner intelligence programme.

The lively discussion kicks off with founder of Towards Maturity, Laura Overton, looking back on the legacy of the longitudinal study. Taking a trip down memory lane, Laura reflects to 2003 where she asked that all important question ‘What makes a successful learning organization?’.

Talking more around the journey to becoming a high impact learning organization Laura highlights “the great thing about this industry is that the data and the people help you on your transformational journey. You can learn from others' mistakes and make that journey faster and quicker.”

Balancing innovation and efficiency to make an impact


Gent goes on to share more around the report findings and the need for L&D leaders to focus more on innovation over efficiency.

Gent continues, “Historically L&D has been known to be related to efficiency. It still remains at the top, however it’s interesting that the balance is shifting slightly with a higher focus on the search for innovation”.

In Laura’s opinion it’s all about creating a learning culture that supports the search for innovation. The real impact of learning innovation comes from how people use what they have and focusing less on how much they use it. Laura emphasizes “Our strategies are there to support the business, not to support the learning agenda”.

It’s time to stop, reflect and get ready for the court…


COVID 19 has presented L&D leaders with the biggest opportunity to revaluate the what, why and how of Learning and Development. Gent goes on to highlight three areas top performing L&D leaders are focusing on to thrive in this new environment.
  • Focusing on performance
  • Excelling in capability
  • Embracing ambiguity.

But how exactly can L&D leaders use these focus areas to create high impact learning organizations? Gent uses the analogy of a basketball game to show how organizations need to embrace ambiguity to survive and thrive in the current climate.

Gent says “A key aspect of what top performers do well is that they are proactively looking at the whole court. They are actively scanning their environment”

Laura adds “To be successful on the court you need to have a level of agility. You need to read the environment to be able to play in the game. The court we are playing is messy, so we need to be smart in applying our skills”.

Reflecting on the data and insights from the report proactive future thinking is a key element of top performing organizations. They are continuously:
  • Keeping up to date with the latest research into learning theory
  • Researching the impact of emerging technologies
  • Understanding the questions, they need to ask.

This combined with their ability to stop, reflect, and revaluate enables them to become a top performing learning organization and progress to later stages of L&D maturity.

Thinking about the future, how ready is your organization to take to the court?


A key differentiator between top performing organizations and those performing at the early stages of maturity is that they are continuously benchmarking on a regular basis to enhance their L&D strategy. This allows them to connect with the C-Suite and use rich data and insights to start conversations around their future strategy.  Our Learning Performance Benchmark helps organizations do this by providing immediate actionable insights with a free, independent, and confidential L&D comparison tool which measure an organization’s performance on the global L&D market, and boosts learning maturity scores.

You can find out more about the Learning Performance Benchmark and how to get started here.



You can also watch the full webinar and read the Annual Benchmark Report to find out more about our latest L&D findings.  

Interested in how organizations in Australia and New Zealand can use the insights in this report? Join our next live session on 27 October, 4pm AEST, with guest speaker, Organisational Learning Strategist Michelle Ockers when we explore how organizations can be faster and more responsive to maintain a competitive advantage. Find out more and sign up here.

About the author

Mind Tools for Business

Mind Tools for Business

Mind Tools for Business brings accessible, on-demand performance tools and resources that empower colleagues to perform in today’s progressive workplaces. Helping them build happy and successful careers and to contribute positively to the success of organisations, the world over. At Mind Tools for Business, empowering people to thrive at work has been our passion for 25 years.

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