Well over six years ago, a friend asked me what to pay attention to in her new more senior role in Learning and Development. She had already spent some time in HR and L&D, so what she was really asking was what was new, what were people not doing that they should be doing, and how to change things to make more of a difference.

She knew I spent a lot of time working with and speaking to L&D people from many different organisations in both the public and private sector, so she wanted to know what I had seen that worked, and what didn’t work.

It sounds like a simple question, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised the answer was not just repeating what most L&D people have as job descriptions. There was more she needed to know to keep up with, and perhaps get ahead of the changing world within and around her organisation. We swapped a few emails and ended up with a list of 15 tips which she said made a huge difference in the way she approached L&D.

She suggested that the tips should be made into a booklet to help others. Frankly, at the time, I felt that converting my emails to her into a tips booklet was a bit cheeky. After all, who was I to attempt to give people in L&D advice? Anyway, the 15 tips booklet was born.

Over 6 years later in it’s 4th edition, the booklet is now the 17 Essential tips for L&D people.

I am grateful for her encouragement to print the booklet, and surprised that it has stood the test of time and proved so popular. Looking through the content for the various editions, very little has changed since the first edition. This is not laziness on my part. I would have rewritten the whole booklet if I felt that the tips should be new and different. But that is not the case. Hence my surprise. Has so little changed in Learning and Development that practitioners still need the same tips, over and over again?

And that is the root also of my disappointment. I would have hoped that over time the basics within the original tips would become business as usual, and different things would have been on the agenda, and made it into the later editions.

One bit of feedback was from an L&D Manager who told me he would have said that over the years his company had greatly changed and improved the L&D function, but when he really looked hard at what they were actually delivering to the business, it had not really changed much in ten years.

A few senior L&D people have gone through the booklet and, unasked by me, sent me a response to each tip in terms of what their organisation did well, and what it didn’t do so well. They also acknowledged that on those tips that they were not implementing well, they should be. Each of them said it was a very useful exercise. If you are in Learning and Development, you might also find it useful, so grab a free copy of the 17 Essential tips for L&D people booklet from our website and do the same exercise for yourself.