Talking with leaders of HR, OD, Talent and L&D for large, MNC organisations operating in Asia, I hear two consistent themes.

One: “we are trying to equip and empower our employees, across the board, to take responsibility for their own personal, professional and career development, so that we can focus on strengthening our bench at every level and delivering what the organisation needs”.

Two (more particularly from L&D leaders): “we have all these programmes; but they don’t really join up. By the time you have done Seven Habits, Five Dysfunctions and Fierce Conversations, what next?”

My team and I have been tackling this problem for the last decade. Our clients hire us for all kinds of reasons, mostly around our ability to help people understand themselves and others using the Birkman Method; but the track running in our heads has always been that HR and Talent need “a currency”, the same way finance does; and that once you have a currency, you can have a platform for managing people and their development, using that currency.

So, we took a big step forward yesterday, with the launch of expresso. This new platform takes the power of the Birkman Method and packages it as an organisational platform for self-directed learning and development. It is designed to be low friction, meaning you can set access details up on an internal portal, and watch the platform bootstrap itself across all your teams. We know this because we have seen it so often; even when a team or organisation are hesitant about engaging with “a profiling tool”, the first person to complete the Birkman Questionnaire tells their three best friends, who then complete and then tell their three best friends, and so on; and you get an exponential adoption curve.

As launched, the platform already includes a wealth of interactive explanatory material and downloadable worksheets on talent, identity and career development; but you can leverage it further, with or without our help. For example, it will illuminate Seven Habits (“why do I find this habit so easy, and that one so hard?”). It is a better adjunct to The Five Dysfunctions of Teams than MBTI could ever be (sorry, Patrick); and even gives Fierce Conversations the ballast it needs to be truly effective. But it can also be extended through a range of facilitation and consultancy options we and other Birkman Consultants can offer; all the way up to very sophisticated Culture, Capacity and Capability Mapping, using Tableau.

But the core message is this: now you can introduce a non-mandatory programme that will get great take-up, and give your people the tools they need to equip them to take responsibility for their own development. And that will transform every programme you roll out on top of it. Enjoy!

Originally posted on LinkedIn - Published June 1, 2016