By David Fortanbary
Like most of us in our industry, we are
being asked to deliver more and more
with fewer and fewer resources, including
budgets and people. Smaller organizations
have been grappling with this dilemma for
years, and now most us are faced with similar
challenges. It is, of course, primarily important
to always demonstrate the value of what we do.
Despite our best efforts we are still asked to stay
lean and deliver extraordinary learning
experiences that move the business forward.
Some strategies and resources can help you,
organization achieve lean learning.
For example, when tasked with the
development of a disease state learning system,
adopt a global first-to-market plan that
leverages disease content built in other
countries or regions. Diabetes is diabetes,
whether you are in Sweden or the United
States. So, why not take advantage of this? In
coordination with your global partners,
determine who is farthest along in their
regulatory approval cycle. Whomever that is,
they take the lead for initial content
development. Once you are ready to develop
your disease content, you have a very strong
base to work from, which could save you
thousands of dollars and months of
The re-purposing of workshops is another
effective means to stay with lean learning. I am
as guilty as the next person to say that I mostly
start from scratch when building workshops.
In lean times, it often takes minor tweaks or a
cut and paste to create new workshops –
change the brand, change the activity, but
structurally keep the format of the workshop
consistent. Re-purposing workshops will save
you thousands of dollars and weeks of
Relationships with our supplier partners
offer a unique and important opportunity to
stay lean while delivering high quality learning
programs. On its surface, this may seem
counter-intuitive: After all, most of our budgets
are allocated for the development of resources
and content in partnership with our suppliers.
However, having an open, honest and
transparent relationship with your supplier
partners gives way to a more collaborative
relationship focused on solutions – even when
resources are constrained. I’ve been given some
of my best advice on managing through lean
times from my suppliers. Let them know your
lean situation, and you likely will see some
amazing innovation and partnerships develop.
Moreover, perhaps the most important
resource to achieve your goals and deliver
business value to your organizations is you –
the network of learning professional members
of LTEN. I encourage each of you to get
involved with more of your LTEN colleagues
from around the world.
LTEN is the ONLY organization that
specializes in meeting the needs of life sciences
learning professionals. If you have a challenge
or question, chances are very good that other
members have a solution. Just ask. Of course,
we all understand our lanes and boundaries,
but many ideas are not unique to companies
but are a part of our function and industry.
A cool way to initiate that engagement with
others is by downloading the new LTEN On-the-
Go app. There, you will find a plethora of
resources and platforms to connect with your
fellow members. I’d love to hear from you on
this topic of lean learning. What are some of
your best practices and advice on lean learning?
Post your answers on the new social link in
David Fortanbary is president of LTEN and head of U.S. performance training for UCB Pharmaceuticals. Email
David at David.Fortanbary@ucb.com.