Bid Training, blog

Learning with impact – disrupting the 70-20-10 rule

In the early days of developing the bid toolkit concept – when we were thinking through how to not just raise win rates in an organisation for a short period or to drill a team for a specific bid, but to create sustained whole organisation impact through widespread adoption of best practice – we studied the 70-20-10 rule.  

We knew we could build a successful bids and proposals live training proposition. The market was a mixed picture with few established quality players. We didn’t have our APMP authorised training accreditation back then, or even a daydream that it could be possible. But we knew we could be disruptive and differentiate on quality and innovation, for instance with our ‘top tip’ videos by some of the best bidding professionals around the world interspersed throughout our content.

But how to you make it stick? How do you boil the ocean of raising win rates across a whole business?

The 70-20-10 model for learning and development (L&D) is a commonly used formula within the training profession.

The model was created in the 1980’s by three researchers and authors working with the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro in the US. The model outlined the optimum split of learning consumption, suggesting that individuals obtain knowledge, skills and abilities in their roles through the following mixture of sources:

  • 70 percent from on-the-job experience
  • 20 percent from social sources such as interactions with others
  • 10 percent from formal structured training

They observed that hands-on experience (the 70 percent) is the most beneficial for employees. It enables them to learn from mistakes, discover and refine their job-related skills, make decisions, address challenges and interact with people in their organisation. Employees learn second best from others (the 20 percent) through encouragement and feedback, including social learning, coaching, mentoring, and collaborative learning. The most surprising element is that their research showed that only 10 percent of successful professional development comes from formal traditional live in person training.

We thought this concept was fascinating and really steered the development of our approach for the bid toolkit. We knew we needed to provide a collection of services and tools that injected improved performance across that spectrum, building momentum to create a dramatic rise in win rates bigger than the sum of our parts.

How has the approach moved on and how have online, virtual techniques and digital assets changed the game?

Helpfully around the same time we were preparing to launch the bid toolkit in early 2018 Training Industry Inc released an insights report, based on data from nearly 1,500 working professionals, to update the focus and efforts in accomplishing training impact. The updated on-the-job, social, formal (OSF) learning blend observed an increased role of social and formal learning. The overall blend is now closer to what might be called a 55-25-20 model. With higher quality and more impactful methods in live training, huge consumption and availability of online structured content and improved understanding of mentoring and social learning there has been a dramatic shift in the dynamic.

In the context of bidding

Previously I held a bid leadership role and was responsible for the leadership of the capability development and training of their 50+ people bid global function.

We saw APMP Foundation as a quick win, a fairly simplistic baseline qualification to recognise staff performance. There wasn’t a great deal of online content to speak of, certainly that wasn’t American market focused, when the rest of the world largely operates to a variant of UK practices, and that wasn’t dramatically over or under engineered for everyday needs.

Yes, we wanted to reward our staff with a qualification and to raise standards, but actually it wasn’t our bidding staff where the real capability improvement was required and where value could be driven – it was their stakeholders – their bid leaders and SME’s / content contributors.

Quite a common predicament. But you can’t pay for everyone in your whole business to go on a course. And if you did you would suffer from erosion of that upside quite quickly with 15-20% staff turnover and apparently it only having a 20% impact that dissipates over time.

The 55-25-20 model

We think we’ve cracked it. In the last 12 months we have found that leveraging the 55-25-20 model with a mixed economy of learning methods and interactions, organised to build and drive momentum, delivers the greatest long term impact and value.

With clients such as Quod, we’ve found that mobilising with live training (or webinars) for bidding ‘champions’ creates the initial upsweep in understanding and motivation, the 20.

We then support that wave with ongoing mentoring and coaching of key individuals and deliver ongoing modules as part of their apprentice, graduate and leadership development programmes – enabling social learning and embedding bidding good practice in their DNA. The 25.

Lastly we land an enterprise bid toolkit site in their intranet as their constant online digital mandated bid process and textbook, providing their consistent roadmap and governance to follow and embedded microlearning to refresh or upskill bid teams right when they need it, on live bids. The 55.

Our clients are averaging more than a 20% increase in win rates and finding the experience of their new measured methodical bidding far less stressful and draining on the business.

“Jeremy and the team have been immensely helpful, both in providing training for our technical staff and in building a robust bid process. We have already received some very positive client feedback on the quality of our submissions – all achieved with reduced stress levels generated from the efficiency of the approach.”

Chris Wheaton, Director – Quod

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