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L&D´s Pivot to Performance Episode 3 Anne-Marie Burbidge

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The aim of this series is to highlight the important shift that some L&D leaders and practitioners have made in order to more predictably and reliably affect individual and organisational performance, achieving much more as a consequence. 

For the third episode, Guy Wallace and I speak with Anne-Marie Burbidge, Head of Learning & Development at Utility Warehouse (a UK-based multiservice utility provider) who draws on 15 years experience of running L&D teams. Anne-Marie is keenly interested in Agile principles and understanding how data can help us, using a range of tools and approaches to understand what's really going on in order to grow capability and confidence effectively.


  • Often, training is only a part of the solution. It will not work if issues with the underlying processes are not addressed.
  • Ask what good looks like. How will the improvement be measured? The more clearly this is defined the more targeted and effective the training will be.
  • If you don´t think training is the answer, don´t be afraid to say so.
  • Position yourself as a partner, as an enabler, within the organization.
  • Don´t wait for the perfect situation before pivoting.
  • Start small. Those little wins add up, build trust and ultimately lead to big changes.
  • Find the keen bean in the organization, they will be a great early adopter.
  • Build your internal network.
  • Talk to users, people at all levels, and from all areas of the business. The more you do the more your understanding grows.
  • Approach all of your conversations wearing opportunity goggles. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve things for the business. Don´t wait to be asked.
  • Look at things holistically.
  • When you find a solution to a problem, ask where else in the organization that problem exists, so the solution can be used there too. This is an important aspect of product management.
  • Short videos are a great way to share those little bits of knowledge that smooth things out.
  • When you do not fully understand the problem there are always unintended consequences.
  • Identify what is being produced and measure that. Ask how can you tell good from bad results?


'People can only perform to a level that the environment around them allows.'

'Understanding what the real problem is, leads you a fair way towards the solution.'

'When someone comes to you and says I need training, don´t hear training, hear help.'

'Pilot, test, experiment, and scale-up.'

'Good L and D is quite stealthlike in many respects, but you are also well networked.'



The Learning And Development Podcast - 


David James 

David has been a People Development professional for more than 20 years, most notably as Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company across Europe, the Middle East & Africa. 

As well as being the Chief Learning Strategist at Looop, David is a prominent writer and speaker on topics around modern and digital L&D as well as an active member of the CIPD L&D Advisory Board. 


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