There are plenty of hackneyed phrases in the workplace. After a season or two on “buzzword bingo,” most of these lines are retired.

Yet, in learning and development (L&D), there are a few tried-and-true sayings that are making a comeback, offering a fresh perspective on corporate learning.

Here are three expressions that are making a comeback in the learning space:

  1. “Less Is More.”

Often, we’re tempted to layer more content atop the learning that we’ve already delivered to build greater skills. We do this even as we acknowledge that our initial efforts have barely begun to impact individual and/or organizational performance.

As a result, L&D professionals are doubling-down on current and past content to deepen understanding and highlight applications.

One company recently recognized the need to enhance its leaders’ coaching abilities. It developed and delivered training that introduced leaders to five coaching mindsets and laid a foundation for strong relationships, productive conversations and developmental results.

While the reaction of many might have been to offer additional training on the coaching process, or direction on how to engage in dialogue, this team took a step back. They recognized that building a coaching mindset was not a one-and-done endeavor. They also scanned the landscape and saw significant changes ahead — changes that were going to occupy leaders’ attention.

Rather than rolling out more content, this organization reinterpreted the concepts that training had already delivered. They contextualized it to the current challenges leaders were facing, and they offered it just in time with actionable strategies and tools to take what they had introduced earlier a step further.

This organization’s “less is more” approach is transforming how leaders think about their mission … as they experienced less resistance and invested less in new resources, they saw more results.

  1. “It’s Not What You Know; It’s Who You Know.”

In today’s digital environment, access to information is table stakes. Nearly everything we might or want to know is a few keystrokes away. Consequently, knowledge no longer distinguishes employees.

What does? Relationships. Relevant networks are the new knowledge.

L&D functions that recognize this reality are responding creatively and strategically as they facilitate human connections. Common strategies for building these connections include:

  • Driving learners toward social platforms where content and contacts can grow.
  • Implementing cohort-based learning that builds community and skills.
  • Creating coaching pairs who support and hold each other accountable.

Emphasizing connections is a game-changing strategy that highlights the importance of knowing the who over the what in today’s workplace.

  1. “What’s Old Is New Again.”

L&D leaders are looking to work with what they have, as many organizations already possess volumes of training material. Do classic skills need to be consistently reinvented?

For many organizations, the answer to this question is no. Certainly, there are opportunities to refresh, and rearrange elements, but if the core content is aligned, it’s appropriate to leverage previous investments.

L&D professionals who embrace these three expressions can transform them from hackneyed phrases to powerful learning hacks for improved performance.

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