Category Archives: Other

Performance gaps – there are different types actually

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

If you are a learning and development or training practitioner you will be familiar with the term learning needs analysis which is used to describe the process of accurately identifying what people need to learn. The process supports learning design, development, and delivery because it ensures that if you do develop a learning intervention then it is the right one because the learning needs analysis you carried out earlier would have identified what the learning intervention should focus on.

Learning interventions which could be a virtual or face-to-face course or an e-learning course or even a coaching intervention are usually aimed at dealing with knowledge or skills gaps. But there are actually more performance gaps than those two that we need to focus on for the purpose of developing and delivering learning interventions that work. Sometimes we need to be honest and realistic enough to admit that some gaps cannot be solved by a learning intervention.

What are these other performance gaps apart from skills and knowledge?

I learned about all the gaps from Julie Dirksen in her brilliant book titled – Design for how people learn.

In her book Julie identified the following gaps which can affect a person’s performance:

  1. Knowledge gaps: gaps due to not having enough or the right information to do something.
  2. Skill gaps: a gap that can only be filled by practice.
  3. Motivation gaps: this is a gap that is present when someone knows what to do but chooses not to do it.
  4. Habit gaps: a person may have the right skill, knowledge, and motivation and still struggle to do something because it has not become a habit for them.
  5. Environment gaps: when the environment isn’t set up for people to succeed despite having the right knowledge, skills, and motivation.
  6. Communication gaps: this is a gap that occurs due to poor directions or instructions.

A good learning needs analysis goes beyond just identifying knowledge and skills gaps. It must consider all the other gaps of motivation, habit, environment, and communication too.

This partly explains why a lot of training courses and learning interventions are ineffective because they are the wrong solution for the existing performance gap.

It may be beneficial therefore to think about these gaps as you go about providing any learning solutions.

In subsequent posts, I will look at each gap in more detail.

I’m changing this blog to focus on my strengths

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

When I started this blog my intention was to focus on writing about training and learning resources for leadership and management development, particularly for first-line managers and team leaders. The truth is, I did not enjoy doing it and I’ve come to realise that my core strength is designing, developing and delivering training and I want to transform this blog to now focus on writing about that. I’ve worked in that line of work for over 20 years and I still enjoy it.

I’ve also learnt a few things so from now on I want to write about what I’ve learnt, what I’m learning and what I am doing when it comes to learning, training and development. I’m still going to be writing about, and sharing content I design but the focus of the blog will now be more on those interested in designing, developing and delivering learning training and development.

I am aware that I may lose a couple of people who have read content from this site but if there is one thing I have learnt in life it is this:

We contribute and operate more effectively when we are doing it from our area of strengths and not weakness.

As you can see I have changed the blog’s name from Leadabytes to Learnabytes. At some point, the domain name will change too. I am looking forward to this new writing adventure where I now have the opportunity to share what I enjoy and do relatively well and I hope in some way I will be able to add value to people.

Training Resource – Introducing Effective Delegation

Over the next couple of days, I will be posting a resource that can be used to deliver an introductory training course on effective delegation to new and first-time managers. The resource titled Introducing Effective Delegation will be posted in parts. The resource will have both virtual and face-to-face versions but I will post just the virtual version here.

After I post the whole training resource, files (facilitation guide, participants workbook, and presentation) will be made available for those who want it. The resource will cover these topics:

  • What is delegation?
  • Benefits of delegation
  • Why some managers don’t delegate
  • Structure for effective delegation
  • Demonstrating effective delegation through practice

I look forward to posting part 1 of the resource tomorrow.

My thoughts about creating a learning and development strategy in a book

StrategyYears ago when I was completing a professional HRD qualification, in one of the modules, we explored the importance of having a learning and development strategy that aligned the learning and development function to the priorities of the organisation.

I ended up reading various models and frameworks about creating a learning and development strategy. I also read a whole book on the subject, which if I’m being honest I did not fully understand. But I did come to the conclusion that having a strategy that aligns what the learning and development function does with the strategic priorities of the organisation is important and necessary.

I tried to think of a simple way of understanding and creating what a learning and development strategy is and I summarised my understanding of everything I know about the subject into six questions which I call the ‘Six Strategy Questions‘. These questions are listed below:

The Six Strategy Questions

I have now written a short kindle ebook to crystalize my thoughts around using the six strategy questions to create a learning and development strategy. I wrote the book in a story format to make it more reader-friendly. Creating a learning and development strategy is not the most interesting subject in the world.

Below is the introduction to the book:


Welcome to the first book in the learning and development StoryLearn series. These are short books written as stories about learning and development topics. In this book we meet Larry, a new learning and development manager who has been told to deliver a 10-minute presentation to his organisation’s leadership team about his learning and development plans for the organisation, despite having only been in the job for one week.

Larry is worried because this is his first management job in learning and development and he has only been in the job for a week. He does not think one week is enough time to put a learning and development plan together.

To help him with the situation, Larry contact’s his friend, Brian, for help. Brian suggests that Larry tell the leadership team that he is going to create a learning and development strategy for the organisation. Unfortunately, Larry does not know what a learning and development strategy is, neither does he know how to create one. Brian offers to educate Larry about what a learning and development strategy is and how to create it and this is what the story in the book focuses on.

The aim of this book is to share one way of creating a learning and development strategy (there are other ways to do so) which is easy to understand and implement. I hope that by the end of the book you will have learnt something that will help you create a learning and development strategy.


If you are interested in the book, you can get it on Amazon here.

Start before they start


When should we start training new managers? Good question. Google usually trains managers from 45 to 90 days after they have started in their new roles and there is a good rationale to this. By that time managers know more about what is expected of them in their roles and training at that point will feel more relevant. But I don’t believe you need to wait for 45 days before you start putting your managers through a development programme. In fact you can start training people before they become managers.

Recently, I’ve been working on a programme called Interested in Management at work. It is aimed at staff who are not yet managers and it introduces people to the basics of management covering topics such as:

  • What is management?
  • Who is a manager?
  • What do managers do?
  • Skills for effective managers
  • What is leadership
  • Leadership vs. Management
  • Leadership and management styles
  • Personal development for management

The programme is delivered through two 2.5 hours of virtual-instructor led sessions on Zoom.

Interestingly, a number of people on the course will soon start line managing at least one person so the course did feel useful to them.

What a programme like this can also do is help to identify people who are interested in management and those with management potential. It may also aid succession planning. It doesn’t have to be costly in terms of time or money but it can send out a message that the organisation is serious about leadership and management development.

This week’s focus is Developing New Managers


This week’s focus is on Developing New Managers. A lot of first-line managers will have stories to tell about how they were dumped into the thick of managing a team without any preparation and the struggles and challenges they had to go through before finding their feet. The good thing is, great managers are made and not born. But it’s still not brilliant being thrown into a role you are not prepared for.

Julio Zhuo who wrote the focus book for this week titled, The Making of a Manager, writes this about her experience of being thrown into the deep end of management with no experience or preparation:

I remember the meeting when my manager asked me to become a manager. It was unexpected, like going for your daily run and tripping over a pirate chest. Oh, I thought, how intriguing. We were sitting in a ten-person conference room, kitty-corner from each other. “Our team is growing,” my manager explained. “We need another manager, and you get along with everyone. What do you think?”…… It was only later, walking out of the room, that I thought about the details of what she had said, “I got along with everyone. Surely there was more to management than that. How much more? I was about to find out.

I’m sure most people don’t get their first management role that way, but the experience you go through in that first new role may be similar. Until you start a management role you don’t know what it is really like to be a manager and you only start finding out when you are doing the job.

So, here is how we will explore ‘developing new managers’ this week:

  • Tuesday’s post will be a bite-sized virtual training activity that can be used to run a short session for new and first-line managers. It will focus on defining management and exploring three things managers think about all day. The title of this virtual activity is – THE WHAT AND WHY OF MANAGEMENT.
  • Wednesday’s post will be an introduction to a great book on management by Julio Zhuo, a former senior manager at Facebook. The book is – The Making of a Manager. I will also share a 1-page summary of one lesson from the book.
  • Thursday’s post will be a video titled – ’11 Habits of Highly Effective Managers’
  • I am currently going through an online virtual facilitation course, so on Friday, I will share with you some of the key insights I got from the course. 

I really hope you find this week’s posts valuable. Thank you and have a great day.

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