A blog by Luke Thomas of Spring

In order to make the most of reading this blog, it will definitely make sense to have read Part 1 first, for the context & foundation on which this second blog post builds and extends the conversation.  Click here to read the first part of the blog.

So… I offered to get into the practical nitty-gritty of how you design and deliver L&D programmes that achieve a Return on Investment through changing performance in your management and leadership populations – because when you do, they’re self-funding.

I’ve seen how they can grow and repeat, because they’re creating value.

 The way I’ll present this is to highlight the pillars of the approach that we use within our change management team, as a simple list.

Each bullet point could be expanded into an entire article in its own right, and please get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything in greater detail.

Another piece of context is that this work and methodology is often in partnership with Coloured Square, as Spring are licensed to use their Universal Toolkit of Intellectual Property. This is a sister company with people I know and trust where we are experimenting, writing, and developing these concepts continually with our shared client work.

The richer the sources of inspiration, peer supervision and practice, the better. The creativity and innovation loop is also far stronger as a result.  And although these ideas are constantly evolving by their very nature, the key themes and principles have remained strong over time – because they continue to work.

As I showcased in Part 1 of this blog, these pillars are echoed and reinforced in the recent McKinsey research – providing further external validation and rigour.

Right then, here you go.  If you want to increase the effectiveness of your L&D ROI, start introducing more of these factors into your work along with the list from the McKinsey article.

Do just enough research before starting, in order to:

  • Provide accurate & specific evidence of the current situation.
  • Generate a credible argument as to whether change is actually required and therefore also any investment in the first place.
  • Ensure a quality Design Brief can be produced with enough clarity to focus the development.

Create a quality Design Brief, that’s often as simple as 2-3 pages:

  • Created with (at the very least) the direct line manager of the population being developed, but more senior sponsors to increase the effectiveness & returns
  • Clear summary of Background & Outcome, Performance & Process Goals including a minimum of ‘from > to’ regarding:
    • KPIs – such as Quality, Time, Productivity, Sales, Wastage, NPS, Engagement.
    • KBIs – See, Hear, Feel, Unsolicited Feedback goals.
    • Mindsets – expressed in everyday ‘on the sofa/in the pub’ language.
  • Consider whether a) the timing is right b) there’s an operational focus that can be applied to the whole development piece.

Get ‘one up’ managers on your team early: – Deliver to more than one ‘audience’ at a time. This systemic approach is really important in helping embed the change as ‘the way we do things around here.’  If line managers aren’t involved, accountable and role modelling themselves, then don’t expect anyone who reports to them to maintain the change.

Find a way for it to be programmatic over time:

  • ‘Drip drip drip this is here to stay’ using a mix of methods that can be blended into the operation and business as usual (not seen as a one-hit-wonder ’workshop’)
  • Use Workshops, Whatsapp Groups with audio & visual drops, Phone coaching, Mentoring, On-the-job coaching, Self-Directed Learning, Testing and training methods as preferred by individuals and groups.

 Combine Group & 1:1 development that always includes ‘live’ application:

  • This can be onsite, offsite, remote or face-to-face spread over as long a period of time as you can stretch to.
  • By applying the learning in real situations you are helping people to continually practise and experiment.
  • You begin to capture immediate results, stories and anecdotes that demonstrate progress against the Design Brief.

Choose the content carefully – focus concurrently on Mindsets, Behaviours & Processes:

  • Skills-only training in isolation does not support lasting change; in fact, it regularly harms the achievement of ROI in L&D by perpetuating an approach that isn’t being reinforced systematically by the organisation, so it simply fizzles out, gets forgotten, or never even gets fully applied in the first place.


So that’s it. If you’re already doing all of the above, I’d love to hear about it and how it’s going. If you disagree with anything, please challenge me.

If you believe I’ve missed something that should absolutely be included, again, please let me know by commenting below. Criticism and an ongoing feedback loop are valuable tools in developing really effective performance change methodology.

In the ongoing process of developing and honing management and leadership programmes that create ROI-based change in organisations, I always look to the embedded culture first, to ascertain motivating factors.

These factors are often pivotal in also developing resilience and wellbeing within an organisation, because they tend to highlight the cultural values and ways of working that help or hinder change.

To check out some of the other blog posts written by me and the Spring coaching and training team, you can click through here.