And what are the tasks of a Loop Manager?
In short: Constantly learning with and from ongoing projects and feedbacks we get from participants and other stakeholders. Finding the best tools, ways, approaches to move within the frame we built at the beginning. In order to make the most out of development at a given point.
And we have to be extremely flexible: What does work, what doesn’t? What can we adapt? What can we change? Always with the target to increase impact, increase the effectiveness of the initiative. So, one core task of being a Loop Manager is: Be a learner yourself!
The next is: to take the internal team with you. And that’s also a big point. Because we’re not talking standard leadership programs here which you design, roll out and that’s it. What we need instead is continuous work and co-creation: Constant exchange with all relevant people like board and HR. Adaptions in ongoing programs wherever we see opportunities. And learning from literally any single learning activity we offer to people. The idea of doing this isn’t new at all. At the same time, the actual practice is rather new in most companies. So as Loop Managers we need to be strong communicators and fluent project facilitators, able to take everyone on the journey.
Then we have evaluation, of course. It’s important to make sure that we measure what we want to measure and to use our findings immediately. One element of this evaluation structure is for example the learner-centered feedback sheet. What we’re doing is constantly measuring, learning from it and measuring again.
And then you need a certain tactfulness for both people and opportunities. In the course of designing a program, we set up communication structures. As easy and light as possible. Short communication paths via e-mail or even WhatsApp. And as a Loop Manager, you have to make sure that these are really used. And to use them as well to be able to detect opportunities and connect dots. For example: We’re doing the performance topic in this unit – why not include it for this other group as well and let them do exchange sessions in which they can discuss challenges and learnings together? For this kind of work, you need to dive really deep.
And that brings me also to the last point for now: dedication. I think the core question to someone who thinks about investing in this style of learning and development support is: Can you focus on a customer for 6, 12, 18 months? As a Loop Manager, you can’t hop on hop out as you like. That doesn’t work. At least throughout the course of a program, you need to be with your customer with head and heart and all you have. While operating as a Loop Manager you are part of the organization.
How do you become a Loop Manager?
By conviction. 😊 People often ask me: How many hours does that take? How long are you working on this and that project? And I can’t answer it. It’s a style of working and not a bundle of hours you sell for number x.
As a Loop Manager, are you still a trainer?
Although I still deliver learning units like workshops or development days, the mindset of my work as a Loop Manager is completely different. I never think in single units like: How could a really cool workshop on agile innovation look like?
Workshops can be part of my work, yes but I start earlier and from another perspective: What do people need right now to perform in a way that supports the whole organization? What is the business need we want to solve? What did we learn from prior development initiatives? How do people react to workshops? How do people react to other learning forms?
It’s important to understand: Following a loop approach with our L&D measures means that we don’t do “classical” training anymore. Instead, we accompany development processes. Why? There is one core challenge of training as we know it: The punctual approach. For instance: Managers should be able to delegate better? Let’s do a delegation training! We have a lot of young leaders in our organization? Let’s do a First Time Leadership Program!
Don’t get me wrong: Such initiatives are not outdated or bad per se. They still can add the value we intend. If only we see them from a holistic, connected point of view rather than the isolated perspective of “we need a training”. Because isolation includes the risk that in the end, we have people who enjoyed two days of training and know how to delegate. But we do not know if and how they apply it and how that whole initiative of delegation training did benefit our organization.
So, if we want our development initiatives to go beyond punctual, we as development providers have to stop offering these isolated forms of development measures. We have to ask important questions right away like “Which business need to we want to tackle?”. And we need to think in processes rather than one-time initiatives.
And there is another benefit in it: By tackling development initiatives with this approach of co-creation, connectedness and constant adaption, we can bring this very mindset to organizations as a whole.
And if you asked me: That’s the key. That’s why we achieve such a high overall impact with our customers.
So, for who’s this whole Dynamic Loop approach?
Well, I’d say it’s for everyone who wants to go beyond offering or rolling out standardized training products. It’s for boards as well as internal and external HRD professionals who are looking for holistic development journeys for their people. Journeys that offer immediate support while at the same time contributing to long-term development perspectives. Journeys that are connected with daily business, corporate goals and the way people live and learn today.
If you’re ready to invest in this extremely relevant work of designing, guiding and evaluating development journeys, you’re in for far-reaching and satisfying results with your development programs.