70/20/10 Model

70/20/10 dilemma ………of people development.

Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I posted – just been too busy… hope you are too!!

I often go into organisations and am shocked to see the lack of development that I see within people. Part of this is the level of delivery from some “training” providers which shocks me and the adage of you get what you pay for really does holds true (within development).

Also of concern is that the very people who are there to support development (HR, OD or similar) often are doing other “things” (through no fault of their own) and therefore ideally want the trainer to take the problem away. The stressful state within some organisations means they do not look to make their people/talent development programme the most effective it can be and believe that the solution has been found through a trainer when the issue lies way beyond that. A “sticky plaster” to a key problem and results in a further lack of responsibility on the individual and therefore further lack of engagement.

In the context of training, my view of it I am afraid is that I don’t see training as anything but a small part of people development – sorry to all my “training” peers! The truth is that if all you do is “train” someone (thinking of it as some sort of silver bullet) the likelihood of that person’s behaviours and habits changing is highly unlikely, unless it proves the lightbulb moment that they’ve needed (however given the lack of personal responsibility we see this is unlikely).

The 70/20/10 model we use within Improvement Architecture was developed from research from Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger from the Centre for Creative Leadership and gives the philosophy for a structured talent development cycle.

Firstly, is that the knowledge transfer (generally in the form of workshops, e-learning etc..) accounts for 10% of the learning. This is the intellectual learning (the Awareness) or the TRAINING element. The HOW TO. It is great when people write the theory of how they will adapt their learning to the business as an activity or assessment within their training, but again it sort of reminds me of an entrepreneur who keeps coming up with ideas and protecting them but never commercialising them.

Then comes the Coaching or infrastructure development or project identification within the business, which accounts for 20% of the learning, and is about how the learning is ADAPTED for use within the context of the individuals business. This cannot be done on a group basis but only on a team, or individual basis in my view. Also just as important is that the environment within the individual’s organisation needs to support the learning and development and progression through its cycle (even if it needs to change to do so…).

Finally, there comes the DOING. This is the actually implementing it within the business. We learn from the doing more than the other areas and hence why this is 70% of the learning. This can also be started in parallel with the learning (if a longer programme). I am still learning in terms of leadership after my initial programme in 1998. I am still learning in terms of process improvement (after my initial learning at the Ford School of SPC in 1993) – I don’t believe we ever get to mastery… but we can get close.

Organisations need to start recognising that all learning is about doing, not training (although this is a small key element of it). The most effective people development programme is therefore where the person has had knowledge transferred, and has taken their learning, applied it and DONE IT!! (you could take it on another step to suggest the person then just BE IT!!!). This is a journey in itself and we do need to measure the individual through all stages of this learning. This is why it takes a minimum of 12 months often in order to change a behaviour. and Return On Investment (ROI) needs to be understood at all levels of this cycle. It is not good enough for the individual to give feedback after the training session if that is where it stops. Their behaviours will not change and it is highly unlikely the business will benefit (even in the short-term).

Within Improvement Architecture we look at behaviours within three main axis; the success of leadership of performance to a purpose or strategy, the success of behavioural change in order to align with processes and execute better, and finally, the behavioural change required to better serve our customers and the triggers within the environment and culture that make these occur.

We measure these at all parts of the learning cycle;

·     Feedback before, during and after the initial knowledge training,

·     During the coaching and final decision-making of how this knowledge can be applied within the context of the business and measured.

·     Finally at the various stages of the doing it on a carefully selected project or to carefully selected leading measures, and in parallel the progress with working on a carefully selected behaviour or two.

We specialise in the 100% not the 10 or the 30% as traditional training and coaching organisations may. We close the cycle. We measure the cycle and we guarantee development and improvement. It is about the “Show how, not the know how!!!”.

Over the coming weeks, I will look at some of the issues we have encountered and how we have developed the full cycle of talent development around these.

Please do follow us to ensure you don’t miss the future blogs.





Tips on selecting an executive coach.

When looking for a leadership partner you should ensure their programmes are;


Tips on selecting an executive coach.

Top tips on how to choose the correct global leadership programme.



  • Strong in Global Culture. Our issue in the UK is scaling businesses to a global level, and 65% of businesses are saying strategic global leadership skills are lacking
  • Have a measurable and a standardised global process. Provides structured engagements.
  •  95% Success rate in developing Behaviours in Leaders across over 100 Fortune 500 companies, and 11000 leaders. Robustly proven and effective across many sectors and companies!
  • Needs to focus on triggers for what drives behaviours as well as behaviours themselves.
  • The leader has to become the coach. 
  • It is about the Leader, not the Coach.


The benefits and expected outcomes for you are;

  • Clear and transparent process (with up-front agreements on confidentiality and engagement).
  • Clear measurement reporting every 3 months
  • Clear ROI
  • A coaching process that embeds coaching as part of the culture.

If you agree with these tips and would like to learn more. Please e-mail improve@improvementarchitecture.co.uk and we will be happy to arrange a discussion with our executive coach Graham Sleep.

Great Leaders

Improvement Architecture’s 7 Great Leaders.

We asked Graham Sleep to name is top 7 greatest leaders, he has listed below his thoughts. Do you have anyone you would like to add to the list, please tell us why?

  1. Martin Luther King (MLK) – Passion came from a purpose.  He looked forward, never back and focussed on purpose rather than own comfort.
  2. Gandhi – if he was good enough for MLK to admire and learn from he is good enough for me.
  3. Jesus – read the beatitudes and you will find the epitome of a true leader (whether you chose to believe it or not).
  4. Allan Mullally – although some may not have heard of him, from a business perspective his simplistic approach in a complex world at Ford was an example to all leaders today.  Learn about the red dots…
  5. Bill & Melinda Gates – he admits he got lucky on timing with Microsoft, however, to have the heart to give so much away through philanthropy and having huge global impact through Gates foundation shows a lot more of the leader.
  6. Winston Churchill – if only the UK had this type of leader now to bring the country United.  Great orator and calm in a crisis.
  7. Marshall Goldsmith – confident enough in terms of his own ability whilst humble enough to share generally FOC his wisdom with the world.  Focus on giving rather than gaining…

Please feel free to join the conversation and leave your comments below. We look forward to receiving them.

Characteristics of a good leader.

Important Characteristics in Leaders

We asked Graham Sleep what he thought were important characteristics in a good leader.

Characteristics of a good leader.

Graham Sleep’s thoughts on being a good leader.


  • High emotional intelligence is the foundation, self-awareness and self-management lead to humility, and perseverance.
  • Passion for the right purpose leads to aspiration, personal motivation, high energy, hunger and courage.
  • Creative/Forward thinkingAbility to think and create visually the future-state leads to “holistic” decision-making.
  • Great communication skills Simple Communicator and for SMEs, a social connector, someone who can make complex sound logical, leads to engagement internally and externally.
  • The discipline to execute.
  • Ability to see PEOPLE first.  Belief in people creates and leads to strategy.
  • Helps others -should find pride in helping their team/staff succeed.
  • Integrity –Having strong values, beliefs, ethics and character allows others to identify with you.

Please join us in the discussion and state your thoughts and reasons, we look forward to hearing from you.

Getting over the struggle

Getting Over the Struggle

For those who have been successful but may be struggling a little, the following are transaction communication patterns (flaws) that often become unnoticeable habits (to us) that create challenges and roadblocks in our interactions with others.

Promoting my value

  • Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion
  • Claiming credit that we do not deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contributions to any success.
  • Passing judgement: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  • Starting with “No”, “But”, or “However”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong”.
  • Making destructive comments: the needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make up sound sharp and witty.

Overusing emotions

  • Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  • Negativity: “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we were not asked.
  • Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset to blaming everyone else.
  • Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behaviour as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
  • Playing favourites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.

Empowering the Ego

  • An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they are who we are.
  • Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
  • Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we are wrong, or recognise how our actions affect others.
  • Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t and when it is totally beside the point.
  • Telling the world how smart you are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.

Upholding Boundaries

  • Withholding information: The refusal to share information with others to maintain an advantage over them.
  • Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.
  • Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.
  • Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
  • Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help.

by Graham Sleep

Contact us now for more information.

7 Reasons for choosing a coach.

7 Reasons Why Executives Appoint a Coach

There are a number of reasons why executives decide to appoint a coach, these include;

  1. You are looking to achieve significant results, solve a pressing challenge, and/or take advantage of a major opportunity.
  2. You are looking for a credible, engaging, knowledgeable and experienced advisor.
  3. You are willing to, and are expecting to, be held accountable for your results.
  4. You are comfortable with an outside perspective, and are willing to take calculated risks to advance your company and career.
  5. You are an “early adopter” and comfortable “pushing the boundaries” of technology, business development and personal performance.
  6. You are willing to answer tough, challenging questions about your performance and the performance of you company, division or department, and are willing to do your own work, conduct your own research and implement new tactics and strategies.
  7. You are a visionary, with the need and desire to leave a legacy for your company, colleagues … and your career.

by Graham Sleep

Get in touch now for more information.

202020 Vision.


How IA can help with Leadership

Personally, I always like finding people who are well placed to help me on my personal and professional journey (they are inclusive to each other) – what I learn personally I like to give to the outside world.

Nearly 20 years ago when I attended my first leadership development programme “Lessons in Leadership” in the US, listening live to people like Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard and a certain Richard Branson, I have been fascinated by leadership, and the psychology of how it leads people to better performance.  I have made it my lifetime journey to continue to understand more and develop more within this area.

Approximately two years ago, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the No.1 Leadership thinker in the world (as voted by Thinkers 50 and F.T.), Marshall Goldsmith and his large body of work in developing Leadership and Coaching models using stakeholder feedback as the basis for improved performance.  This was at a time when I had researched programmes from Universities and private providers over the course of a year to gain a coaching accreditation which helps deliver better Global Leaders at my stage of maturity as a Leadership Developer and Executive Coach, as well as given my experiences and competences.  I found it fascinating…

What I was looking for at the time could be summarised in FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLES;

  1. When I went to the USA to take over a $30M loss-making plant, although language was similar… culture was radically different.  The ability to bring people of different cultures and backgrounds on a journey of growth and transformation is exciting but difficult (especially when your first communications meeting is met with only one person “getting it”).  Add to this, seven different nationalities (and constant friction between various factions) and this is just a small flavour of the issues inherited.  Taking this forward, I believe that there are mental barriers which stop organisations scaling within the UK – I wanted to help people overcome this.  I therefore needed a programme which was strong in Global Culture!
  2. The tools used needed to be proven and effective across the international business environment. We attempt to find our own way but today there are lots of conflicting opinions of the best approach for engagement, for development, for leadership. In my experience, only the proven tools breakthrough within larger organisations and are continually used.  Big companies want to link with big brands, and the people who work within them, this can make it harder for the service sector especially in terms of training and coaching to compete and engage with these.  It had to be robustly proven within big companies, but also the flexibility to be introduced to the SME sector!
  3. For me any behavioural development and change must be measurable at each step of an individual’s progress.  This also linked well to my previous process expertise as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black-belt.  It had to be Measurable! The fact it is GUARANTEED also is a bonus!!
  4. Any leadership starts from a point of understanding yourself, your traits and the triggers (from the environment, to today’s situation, etc..) that impact you not achieving where you want to get to. It had to include understanding of Triggers, as well as Behaviours!
  5. Any development programme needs to leave behind a leader who can sustain it and hopefully improve on it within their own business.  The leader should become the coach.  It must be about the “Show how” not the “Know how”.

I found all of these and more within Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centred Coaching programme.

For interest, the background to the initial research Marshall and his team conducted around Global Leaders of the Future was as follows;

18 Global Thought Leaders came together (based on research from hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs).  They identified 15 potential competencies that could be classed as being the major ones.  These then went to 200 Organizations of 120 Multinationals to test them.  Then 300 International Business CEOs and Senior Executives On 6 Continents (North America, EU, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America) helped identify three categories of five competences in each. They then went with these to over 200 HR Executives on these continents also (who confirmed this).

Marshall’s Stakeholder Centred Coaching Programme, and Global Leaders of the Future assessment answered all my non-negotiables and delivered so much more for me.

Hopefully you may be in a place or situation where you believe that this same learning can support you in your journey.  Please do contact me if I may be of help to you.  Remember it has worked for 95% of 11,000 Senior Leaders (including myself) … why would you be any different?

by Graham Sleep

Get in touch now for more information.

Developing Leadership blog post

Graham Sleep’s Leadership Journey

As a person who never went to University and has gained a lot of his knowledge through a constant thirst to learn and improve, and seeking out people who can help me, I have always liked finding people who are well placed to help me on my personal and professional journey (they are inclusive to each other for me) and what I can take from them. This was a habit I created in myself when at 25 years old I was diagnosed with M.E. / C.F.S. (a little know illness at the time) but so debilitating it became known as the “living death” as the lack of energy and “fog” that we have when suffering means that what was an easy task all of a sudden becomes extremely hard. The motivation to improve was challenged by the need to maintain energy, and thus I developed my own tools to allow me to manage time and energy effectively. I also read a number of books by those who had overcome severe illnesses to become successful and this allowed me to develop the “positive mindset” and the hard-copy tools to do just that. I actually fast-tracked my own leadership journey (in terms of self-reflection) within my 20s.

Nearly 20 years ago, when at 30 years old I attended my first leadership development programme “Lessons in Leadership” in the USA, listening live to people like Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard and a certain Richard Branson, I have been fascinated by leadership, and the psychology of how to lead people to better performance. Also I was fortunate to be able to practice this over the last 20 years no matter what engagement I have taken on. It doesn’t matter what type of change or improvement you attempt to make in an organisation, you require leadership competencies to go with the management capabilities and the technical capability to make the change.

Approximately two years ago, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the No.1 Leadership thinker in the world (as voted by Thinkers 50 and F.T.), Marshall Goldsmith and his large body of work in developing Leadership and Coaching models using stakeholder feedback as the basis for improved performance. Although I had come across Marshall previously as an attendee at the World Business & Executive Coaching Summits (WBECS), I approached his work with renewed rigour at a time when I had researched programmes from Universities and private providers over the course of a year looking to gain a coaching accreditation which helped deliver better Global Leaders, but also aligned to my stage of maturity. This maturity was founded in my own leadership journey and already developed capabilities but then honed within the multiple clients I have supported over nearly ten years as a executive and business coach. My 20-year leadership development journey has been one of self-reflection, challenge, confidence-busting at times, one of gaining humility, losing ego and tackling my own fears and blockages head-on, one of strengths discovery and performance tools. All of this and more needed to be found within the programme that would be right for me.

Read the full journey – Download the e-book