Introduction to the T&D Leadership Systems and Processes of a T&D System

Mostly from my 2001 book: T&D Systems View

Note: T&D = Training & Development = L&D = Learning & Development (if performance-based/focused that is). For Enterprise Learning vs. Educational Learning vs. Personal Learning “Contexts.”

Leadership systems and processes do just that—they lead – they lead the rest of the T&D System as an organizational entity – charged with “protecting and then improving the enterprise.”

A T&D system is not in business to perform leadership tasks, nor is it in business to produce boat loads of content. These systems are in place for targeted investments – unless there are zero resource constraints – and who has that luxury nowadays, or ever did?

The T&D leadership systems and processes include the following five positions on the T&D Systems View Model clockface:

12 O’clock: T&D Governance and Advisory System

1 O’clock: T&D Strategic Planning System

2 O’clock: T&D Operations Planning and Management System

3 O’clock: T&D Cost/Benefits Measurement System

4 O’clock: T&D Process Improvement System

These 5 Leadership sub-systems of the overall T&D System – which itself is a sub-system in the larger Enterprise context – are just one of the many necessary means to an end, with the end being successful operations of the systems of T&D (or L&D) and sufficient return on investment and economic value add from them – for the shareholders. Remember the shareholders – it’s their equity that we turn from profits-in-their-pockets right now –  to investments that put more-profits-in-their-pockets later. And not too much later.

A brief introduction follows for each of the T&D leadership systems and processes.

12 O’clock: T&D Governance and Advisory System – This system’s processes organize all of the key stakeholders of the enterprise, generating both advice from the T&D internal marketplace customers and governance from the leaders of the enterprise.

1 O’clock: T&D Strategic Planning System – This system’s processes organize all of the strategic planning for T&D to ensure that T&D’s plans and efforts are consistent with the strategic plans of the critical “business units/operating entities” of the enterprise.

2 O’clock: T&D Operations Planning and Management System – This system’s processes organize and guide the day-to-day operations and management of the various T&D operations to ensure consistency with the strategies of T&D and the strategies of its key, critical stakeholders.

3 O’clock: T&D Cost/Benefits Measurement System – This system’s processes organize the measurement and reporting of all T&D metrics and provide the data and interpretations (where appropriate) to the T&D leadership, staff, and all of the key customers and stakeholders in the T&D marketplace.

4 O’clock: T&D Process Improvement System – This system’s processes organize the quality/process improvement efforts for both continuous improvement and discontinuous improvement to the processes of the entire T&D system.

Again, the T&D leadership systems and processes guide both the core and support systems and processes of the overall T&D system.

They provide a structure for advisory and governance by the T&D stakeholders of the enterprise. They align the T&D strategies and tactical plans with the critical business strategies and tactics of the other organizations of the enterprise.

The members of the leadership systems’ board of governors and the various advisory councils review the projected results (costs/benefits) for T&D expenditures and investments along all points of the value chain. They plan for, and then conduct and manage, the continuous and discontinuous improvement projects for targeted processes within the overall T&D system to help T&D achieve its end-game goals.

At 12 O’clock High : T&D Governance and Advisory System

All you Digital natives can ask your Analog natives friends about the 12 O’Clock High reference – suffice it to say that it is the top dog when it comes to the systems within T&D. It is where the customers and other key stakeholders have their say, set the goals, provide the marching orders, etc.

If this sounds a little bit like a Command & Control approach to Learning – then Bingo – you got it!

If you owned 100% of the Enterprise you’d want some say or total say – after being advised – on where the money was to be spent/invested – to what ends these means are targeted. All other concepts of “power to the learners” are actually foolish and naive – in an Enterprise Context. Those concepts – OK for Educational Learning Contexts sometimes – and Personal Learning Contexts all of the time – are simply not business oriented enough at all for an Enterprise Learning Context. Those who espouse such are not deserving of any seat at “the table” or along the wall in the same room (perhaps a “cry room” where they can hear but cannot speak). Those sentiments are not even cute – as in: isn’t that cute. Serious business people don’t tolerate cute like your parents did/do (which is the job of grandparents anyway).

Sorry – I digress. But for a worthy cause. To keep you centered with your eyes on the prize: ROI and EVA.

T&D Processes

There are two Process within the model for 12 O’Clock high…

12.1: T&D Governance Process

12.2: T&D Advisory Process


T&D systems must be driven and governed by the voice of customers and stakeholders as they formalize their plans and manage their activities.


This system’s processes organize and formalize communication with key enterprise stakeholders. They channel advice up from the T&D internal marketplace customers to leadership, and then channel governance down from the leaders of the enterprise in response to that advice.

This system is the central, driving force behind the strategies and success of a business-based approach to T&D. Without this in place, it’s unlikely that the other systems/processes will truly have real return on investment and economic value add.

The Advisory Process provides a forum for T&D customers to communicate with governing decision-makers regarding which T&D products to build and which maintenance needs to address. The Governance Process gives the organization’s executive-level leadership specific process mechanisms to affect T&D strategies, tactics, and resource allocations in order to achieve worthy business results.

If a T&D effort is not providing a positive return on the investments, then this system is clearly broken. In any T&D redesign/re-engineering effort, this is the place to start.

The Governance Process and Advisory Process are interdependent. When operating properly, they drive the alignment of the remaining T&D processes, as well as the T&D products and services. T&D products and services should be aligned and targeted at high-payback business needs and not at T&D offerings with perhaps mass appeal but little potential return on investment and little or negative economic value add.

The advisory councils provide continuous advice to the board of governors as to where to strategically and tactically place the organizational “bets” for the greatest payback. The personnel on the board of governors select the members of the advisory groups to ensure that both the quality and a high-level confidence of the advice provided is presented by credible individuals, acceptable to the members of the board of governors.

For More…

See the book T&D Systems View – available here as a free PDF.

Why should you bother?

Early Reviewers wrote these early reviews back in 2001…

“T&D Systems View is an excellent resource for anyone with a management role in training.  The book has useful guidelines and models on how to structure and manage the T&D function.  The models should drive meaningful discussions that lead to better decisions about the roles, responsibilities, and relationships of the enterprise’s leadership, T&D as a function, and T&D’s internal customers.”

Judith Hale  –  Hale Associates

Guy Wallace has done it again!  After demystifying the ISD process in his “lean-ISD” book he tackles the corporate training and development system and puts it in a business-focused perspective.  Whether you are in-house or serving as a external consultant you will find Guy’s model an invaluable tool for enterprise training and development.

This analytic and design process ensures that you dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s when moving your company or client to learning by design, not learning by chance.  The elegant clock-faced model helps you develop a clear picture of any organization and clearly helps you map out how best to effectively manage all the elements of the enterprise. Once the elements are mapped out, the model, through enclosed assessment and prioritizing tools helps determine where and when to put corporate assets to maximize corporate return on investment.  This is a must have book for any consultant or organization that is concerned about improving the performance of their organization through improving processes and competencies.

Miki Lane  –  MVM Communications

 “(T&D) Systems View explains why the T&D function must be managed as a total system: to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing marketplace.  The book shows, in detail, what must be managed competently for a T&D manager to assure that learning happens by design rather than by chance.  The best T&D managers manage the system components described in the book though probably not as well as they will after studying and thinking through how to fill in the weak or missing components.”

Dale Brethower – Professor  –  Western Michigan University

T&D Systems View is a useful guide for any organization assessing current T&D processes or establishing new ones.  It’s emphasis on T&D delivering ROI and shareholder value is a timely message and one critical to any T&D organization’s viability today.

Carol Nicks  –  Director, Workforce Development  –  Verizon

Whether you are new in the Training Business or an “old hand,” this book will provide you with as much guidance as you need to get the job done. Guy has provided material that leaves “no stone unturned” yet there is sufficient flexibility for application in all training organizations.  Well thought out.  Many fresh ideas along with solid reminders of things we knew we should do, but we have, somehow, let go by the wayside.

Charline A. Wells  –  Programs – Manager – Corporate Training  –  Sandia National Laboratories

If you are not actively controlling the critical components of your T&D efforts then they are by definition out of control.  T&D Systems View provides an extremely comprehensive overview of all of the processes that contribute to a successful T&D System.  Guy Wallace then takes the next step by showing you how to select those processes which are most critical to the success of your organization and how to get them under control before someone else does it for you.  This is a must read for anyone interested in more closely aligning the T&D function with the organization’s strategy.

George West-  Director, Educational Services  –  Siemen’s Building Technologies

At first glance, T&D Systems View paints a formidable picture of the ideal business-driven training and development organization.  Then it dawns on you that, intentionally or not, formally or informally, you’re already doing these things.  The question Guy Wallace raises is, “how well?”  If I were a CEO, this is how I would look at my training and development function.

John M. Swinney  –  Performance Consulting  –  Bandag, Incorporated

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