Ben Davies, the Managing Director of Libra-3E, discusses the formation and aspirations of Libra Europe Consulting’s new Learning and Development enterprise.
So then, everyone’s favourite implementation consultancy has gone and split itself into bits. Libra has launched a Learning and Development arm – Libra-3E. Why has it done this?
Business is about people – specifically relationships between people. Guy Kawasaki noted:
"The goal [of business] is to provide inspiring information that moves people to action".
That sentiment could well have been written about management consulting. However, lets just take a moment and look closely at Guy’s statement; it could well be argued that many consultancies often focus too much on the latter part; moving people to action, going for the short-term “shot in the arm” rather than inspiring their clients to think differently – a longer term but undoubtedly more effective course of action.
That in a nutshell rather neatly sums up what L3E is here to do. We believe in inspiring information.
Having worked for several years at a “traditional” consultancy that very much lived the ‘people to action’ ethos, I became thoroughly disillusioned with the traditional model: Company X acknowledges they have a problem, then call in Consultancy Y who uncover the root cause and develop a solution which they then install – prescribing their plan like a doctor doling out antibiotics; “take this pill and you’ll be fine in 3 weeks”. In an act of blind faith the Company follows this advice, which works miraculously…until it doesn’t. So they pick up the phone to the consultancy again. ‘Rinse, repeat’ as the saying goes.
The point is that the world moves on – the precise set of circumstances that existed when the problem first emerged have shifted, so the exact solution originally proposed no longer fits. The blind faith of compliance is no longer enough. People need to recognise where their own little cog fits within the wider operational machine. Worthy corporate mission statements and transformation programmes will count for nothing on the bottom line unless everyone within a business has not just a shared resolve but, even more importantly, has the appropriate operational and management skills to take on new challenges as they arise.
I have established L3E with the belief that every worker has the right to the knowledge and skills to do their job well, but also the right to know the context in which their job is performed. To extend that famous analogy: you can teach a man to fish, but unless you educate him why fishing is important, he’ll still die hungry. Educating your team in the why, rather than just the what and the how is an absolute keystone in helping them realise not only their value, but also their potential.
Having become disillusioned with traditional consultancy, I moved to a training company where the approach could not have been more different. We focussed on the learning – finding entertaining ways of imparting knowledge that ensured it was retained for use.
The problem was often it was never used. Our efforts were so centred on the learners on the course that the wider management were often left behind, not understanding how to deploy and utilise this new resource and instead leaving the skills languishing unused in the minds of junior managers and operators. Training became a tick-box exercise of skills bingo; everyone would nod sagely when asked that team-development was a good idea, although the lack of joined up thinking within corporate culture prevented its effective use. As such it very rarely translated directly into tangible benefit for the organisation.
From these conflicting backgrounds, I know how important it is to deliver training that enables the best performance in your people. However this must go hand in hand with a business-wide strategy to engage and provide a culture that empowers those same people to deploy their new skill- not only to help them fulfill their true potential but also to ensure your business achieves the right upskill and commercial outcomes.
There are of course many methods of achieving this aim. The knowledge exists! Regardless of your industry or sector the courses are many and varied; some shorter, some longer, some backed by qualifications, some apprenticeships, some bespoke. There is no “one size fits all” approach and understanding this fundamental truth is the key to the whole kingdom. Training courses are merely vehicles to transport you to your destination. Understanding your commercial objective, along with the principles of described above will result in staff development initiatives that not only support your strategic goals, but truly benefit each individual.
We believe in these principles. We believe in them so strongly we named the business after them:
Engage, Empower, Enable
For more information or fresh insight on how we can help you with your skills development and training needs, from apprenticeships (we are an approved RoATP Main Provider) to bespoke programmes, please contact us at:
call me on 020 7290 9020
Ben Davies, Managing Director Libra-3E