E26 – The Role of Learning and Development with Lorna Gamman – Expert Interview

 
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E26 – The Role of Learning and Development: Interview With Lorna Gamman, Head of L&D for Krispy Kreme UK

With over 15 years of L&D experience, Lorna Gamman comes with a wealth of experiences including her current role as head of L&D for Krispy Kreme. We ask, What is the role of learning and development? What is L&D strategy? Where does L&D strategy fall down? What does L&D need to do to overcome this? We also look at where Lorna’s career is headed to next and her role in supporting SME’s with her experiences.

Lorna Gamman, The Role of Learning and Development

You Can Read the Transcript of Our Interview Below:

Nathan Simmonds:

Welcome to Sticky Interviews. I’m Nathan Simmonds, senior leadership coach and trainer for MBM, Making Business Matter, the home of Sticky Learning. We are the provider of leadership development and soft skills training to the grocery and manufacturing industry. The idea of these interviews is to share great ideas, great concepts, and great ways these skills are being used to help you be the best version of you in the work that you do. Welcome to the show.

Nathan Simmonds:

Welcome to another Sticky Interview with me, Nathan Simmonds, senior leadership coach and trainer for MBM, Making Business Matter, the home of Sticky Learning. Idea with these interviews is help you be the best version of you. I feel like I rushed that, but that’s because I’m really enthused, energized, and kind of really, really enjoying this conversation that’s been happening before this recording and what we’ve had before. Today, I have the privilege of speaking to Lorna Gamman, the head of L&D from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which in itself is prestigious enough for such a large company that’s been around for nearly 100 years now. Lorna will correct me on that in just a minute. She has a phenomenal history with just over 15 years of L&D skills, hands-on practical skills, and is through this current situation, transitioning from this environment to a new world, potentially HR consultancy, L&D consultancy. Taking all those wonderful experiences that she’s got from these incredible people and these incredible spaces, and helping to package that, and giving it to new people that need that support in a different way. So it’s an exciting venture that I’ve been having a conversation, an exciting new venture ahead of Lorna as she moves into this space. Welcome to Sticky Interviews, Lorna. Thank you for being here.

Lorna Gamman:

No worries. Thank you for having me.

Nathan Simmonds:

Look, I want to dive in because I want people to hear as much of what’s going on in your head. I love asking you questions because, and I say this with absolute love and respect, you’ve got a lot to say on these things. You bring an enthusiasm and energy with it that is infectious and I want you to share that with people. For me, the first question is always why do you do what you do?

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah. I think for me, I love people and enabling people to be the best version of themselves. I love the selfish part of knowing that I’ve had even a teeny, little part to play in that because I think gives you the best feeling. That might be a simple conversation that changes the way that somebody views something through to some longterm leadership development programs and coaching sessions. I think for me, a win’s a win, no matter how big. So I think, for me, it’s just enabling people to be the best version of themselves. If I can have a bit of a part to play in that, I just get a really big feeling and a great buzz from that.

Nathan Simmonds:

I don’t think that’s selfish. I think it’s wonderful. I talk about what we give to people, and it’s the law of contribution. It’s about what you put in first of all. With L&D, and leadership development, and all those elements, it is about what we put in first. We know that as leaders, the point it falls down is when it’s take, take, take when it’s all about me, me, me. That most people, as they’re moving into the L&D space or the service industry, it’s kind of in personal development. It tends to be, “Okay. What can I give to this person? What can I give to them?” The idea is not to live through their successes. It is to enjoy their successes from the work and contribution that you’ve made to those individuals.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

It’s a wonderful thing. Thank you for doing what you do.

Lorna Gamman:

I enjoy it, and therefore, it’s not a major pain, is it, to do it. I think it’s lovely, and I can probably still name people that I think I had a little bit of a hand in where they are now. I’ve also had some bits as a manager where I think, “God, if I had of carried on what I was doing, I would have had a part to play in where they are now.” Thankfully, I’ve learned from those as we’ve gone along and learned in the moment in those. I think it’s a lovely feeling to have when you can look at someone’s career and go, “You know what? At that moment in time, I helped them.” Because, certainly, I’ve got names of people where I look back and go, “Do you know what? Vicky Harris and Andy Cross, they were instrumental in helping me be who I am now.” If I can be that name for somebody else, then it’s great.

Nathan Simmonds:

One thing that I’ve said is words change worlds because I still remember things that were said to me in my first job when I was 15 for the right reasons, for the wrong reasons, but it’s something that’s been encoded into the fabric of my thinking and the way that I approach certain things. It’s the same when you put those names out there. Vicky and Andy, I think it was you said. It’s about what do they give to you. Okay. What is it I’m now saying to someone else? Potentially where are their words am I repeating to someone else and passing that down the lineage or what else am I including and what do I want that person to say in 20 years’ time? Because I know my outer voice is going to become my inner voice as the aspiring leader. What do I want to come out of their month in 20 years’ time that’s going to help the next generation of leaders coming up behind them?

Lorna Gamman:

Absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

What do you think then the role of L&D is in development?

Lorna Gamman:

It’s a difficult one because you positioned earlier on as we provide a service, but I think that I’d into that that if we can become the strategic consultant within the business, then you can be an amazing service provider. I think the risk that you always have is if you’re perceived as just an internal service provider, you get a department shopping list of training, and you just go off and deliver that. Whereas for me, that role of L&D is to really challenge the business in terms of where they’re going, where they want to be, and how L&D can help them get there as opposed to be the order taker. I think there’s a real opportunity to start to ask the why and delve into that to make sure that you’re going off the things that really make a difference.

Lorna Gamman:

Sometimes I might get random requests. You think, “Actually, if I went after A, we’d fix B, but if we go off to B, we won’t touch A.” So you have to challenge. So I think being a strategic consultant is what the role of L&D is. Whether that’s an external consultant coming in or an in-house consultant, I think we need to play that part of questioning, and challenging, and really getting to root causes to understand what’s driving the business and how we can really drive the development of our people to deliver against those business objectives.

Nathan Simmonds:

What happens then when you end up being that order taker as an L&D function?

Lorna Gamman:

It’s really unfulfilling to start with. They’ll be times where you have to pick your battles as well within L&D, and sometimes it’s not a battle that’s worth fighting at that point, but at the beginning, we said, “We want to see people being the best versions of themselves.” If fundamentally you know that what you’re doing as the order taker isn’t enabling that, it’s really unfulfilling. You want to add value. You want to see change. You want to see improvement. Actually, by just being the order taker, you may not get that sense of fulfillment. Then I guess that the outputs of that is that the business doesn’t see the value that you’re adding because it wouldn’t have been what you would add if you had the choice.

Lorna Gamman:

Then almost your role comes into question because actually why are you here? Because I come up with the idea. You come in with a bit of a plan. My team thought it out. So what’s the point? I’ve had many conversations in my time where I’m like a, “Really? Is that truly what you need? Let’s talk about why. Let’s talk about the learning platform. Let’s talk about what you’d like to see at the other side of this. What are those measures of success?” When you get to all of that stuff, you can then go back to the beginning and go, “Is it really that? Or if we go after this…”

Lorna Gamman:

I’ve had conversations where I’ve said, “Can you just put a bit of trust in me? If it doesn’t go right, I’ll eat my hat. It’s fine. I don’t mind going back on much if I’ve got it wrong and putting my hands up, but can you just give me the freedom to explore this? And give it a go in an area. Either prove it or disprove it. Sometimes you have to pick those battles in that way instead of trying to convince somebody to allow you the space and the freedom, but I think definitely the thumbs down for it, side of it is that it’s just unfulfilling because you can’t see the value you’re adding.

Nathan Simmonds:

The words that jumped out to me was that strategic consultant. Do you think people in organizations when they have the L&D function there as a go-to mechanism don’t give it the credibility that it’s actually due?

Lorna Gamman:

I think that there’ll be a mixed bag out there. There’ll be people that absolutely, intrinsically have L&D at the table and at the heart of everything they do. And there’ll be businesses that don’t have an L&D function that really, really should do. Then there’s the ones in between that are big enough that, well, they should have an L&D function, but don’t really know how to engage with that and use it to its best ability. They would save a whole lot of money in that respect of just getting an external consultant when they need them as opposed to having in-house team. So I think there’s a absolute spectrum of that. I think the real downside is when you’ve got a function where they feel like they need to have an L&D team because they’re big enough, but they don’t really know how to interact with it.

Nathan Simmonds:

How does someone interact with it?

Lorna Gamman:

Getting them at the table. I think if you are the strategic consultant, you’re there at the beginning and not the afterthought. I’ve sat in some meetings where you think, “God, this has really got nothing to do with training right now,” but what it gave me was all of the insight I needed that when training were brought in, I got it. I understood it. I knew where the business was going, so I could then already have my thoughts, and ideas, and feelings, and start to drip-feed that through. It also enabled me to shape some of the conversations as we were going through that before it really become a training need is that you’re part of those projects where you can shape, and steer, and help bring it to life, but do it together.

Lorna Gamman:

I think the biggest part for me around L&D is the collaboration piece. You’re not a siloed department. You can’t be. You are in everyone’s department. You’re everyone’s little sister in that respect, and you need to be everywhere. You can’t just be at home behind a laptop creating a course that somebody’s asked you to do.

Nathan Simmonds:

I challenge back probably from one of the previous conversations we’ve had where you talk about everyone’s little sister. In truth, I think the nicest possible way is everyone’s big sister or big brother because it’s, especially in current circumstances when we’re talking about COVID-19 and under this moment in human existence, the first thing that gets switched off is training. First thing that gets kind of shut down is the L&D function.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

To be honest, the thing that needs to be ramped up is the L&D function and the training, but before the event actually happened. So that when we walk into this, okay, it might be unprecedented in kind of floating speech marks, but it’s that fact that actually these leaders, these people that have these skills and tools available in order to go and do what they need to do regardless of what the situation is. As you’re saying though, previously how it is, they’re not seen as that strategic consultant. They’re seen as the generalist, the fix-all. We’ll tell them what we want and because we’re telling them what to want, there seems to be a mismatch in the communication of that dialog.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me, I think there’s that, that people look at it from the wrong angle. I think for me personally, it’s that generalist approach. It’s that one-size-fits-all. There’s Bob, the general trainer. One day, he’s going to teach you how to fix a milkshake machine or use a ice cream machine, and then tomorrow, he’s going to deliver leadership content, but we lose the passion, and the expertise, and the experience of actually what Bob’s really good at and where his own thing is, it might be the ice cream machine, and that’s his thing. Bob, go and do that. Then get in the experts and the specialists that then do those niche elements to the highest possible level to get the highest possible results.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

One question that came up for me though as you were talking was around being part of the conversation. Where do you think L&D often falls down or lets themself down in certain organizations?

Lorna Gamman:

I think that I’ve had a few conversations recently where we’ve talked about actually we don’t do any PR of ourselves. So actually, we complain that people don’t recognize for the work we do, and how hard we’re working in the background, and all of that stuff, but actually, how active are we at marketing ourselves? I look at marketing functions, and you think they are constantly talking to the customer, and then they are sharing back what stories they’ve had with their customers. They’re telling the business about what they’re doing, how many hits they’ve had on a particular website, or the click-through rate from an email. Yeah, L&D don’t do enough of that. I’ve never experienced it in any L&D function where we’ve done our own PR. I think if you can get the PR right, you might only have one success story at that, but that’s the bit that people have got to read. That becomes two success stories. Then it becomes five and 10.

Lorna Gamman:

Already, you’re starting to think, “Hang on a minute. Why isn’t L&D at the table?” People are questioning that. I think you need to do your PR to be able to unlock those doors because some people don’t get it. They kind of, particularly, established this fear of learning and development as opposed to training. I think quite often, I end up saying… There’s people at my job site, and they go, “What’s that?” You go, “Training.” Ultimately, we do a lot of training. I think that there’s an education piece around what’s the difference between training and learning and development, and how can learning and development truly help the business, and why should they be at the table early on? Because actually, we don’t have that initial commercial piece that they’re working through, but in reality, certainly through some of the projects that I’ve sat on in the past few years is having a seat at that table early on makes me better informed, which means I’m better placed to be able to think about what those training interventions might be or what I need and who I need around me to be able to shape that going forward.

Lorna Gamman:

Of course, when you’re late to the table, you’re on the back foot already. So I think definitely a PR. We don’t do enough of it, and I think we’re as a HR function, every single one I’ve worked, and they’re very humble. People expect to be paid. People expect to be hired and their contracts done correctly and on time, but we don’t tell people in a year how many contracts were generated, how many times we’ve run payroll to help people realize that there is a volume of training out there alongside all of the succession meetings that you’ve had and the talent pipeline conversations. They just expect those things to happen, but we need to talk about it to advertise it and bang our own drum because nobody else will bang it for us because we leave other departments to do there’s. So we need to do our own.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me, the one prime example is when you’re looking at the payroll being run. People don’t say, “Thanks for paying my salary.”

Lorna Gamman:

No.

Nathan Simmonds:

They’ll only come and see you when there’s a problem with it.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

And-

Lorna Gamman:

I talked earlier on too. I contacted mine. I’ll explain actually. Krispy Kreme delivered an entire, brand new HRIS system. On payday, the HR team celebrated because pay worked, and we paid everyone. Nobody else really cared about the system. They just wanted to check that they’d been paid. You’re right. There is no thanks for that because it’s expected. It’s a basic thing that people expect to happen, but I know in the background, there was a huge amount of work to get that project off the ground, and to get it live, and to make it pay people, but it’s expected of us. So there’s no exciting deliverables there.

Nathan Simmonds:

No, you’re the backbone of the business, but almost like our own backbone, we don’t notice until it starts to deteriorate and we get backache.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

The other thing that popped up into my head was thinking about whether or not we bang our own drum. Actually, it is a marketing point of view. Even as a consultant potentially listening to this or someone in L&D moving or developing in that space or moving out of it or as a coach, we don’t very often bang that drum, which is why as a part of MBM, we do the evaluation process. We talk to people. We get your evaluation forms. It’s the same as your feedback forms off your back of the trainings and stuff. That becomes part of that marketing content, “This is how I helped this person inside this business get this result.” Okay. Then people go, “Oh, that’s interesting. So-and-so had that. Okay. Let’s have a conversation with Lorna about getting her in to do this,” so on and so forth.

Nathan Simmonds:

I think too many people in businesses say, “Oh, yeah, it’s just my job.” When actually how much is your job worth? What impact have you had on the business? How much have you saved the business, created for the business? How much are you actually worth to the business? Then go and talk about that stuff because it’s reasonable to share the wins and successes of how you’ve onboarded people, helped them to navigate, improve them, and get them developed into the places they need to be? But we don’t show it or very few of us show it.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah, you’re right. We do see it as it’s just our job.

Nathan Simmonds:

Yeah.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah, I think we just see it as our job, and it’s nothing to shout about because, actually, onboarding people or recruiting people is just what we do. That’s what we’ve been hired to do so why would we shout and celebrate about those things? But I think those are the pieces that will then start to highlight to the business that we don’t just hire and fire people in HR, which is often the perception. You hire, and fire, and do a bit of training. There’s so much more to it than that.

Lorna Gamman:

Actually, we’ll complain that nobody knows about it, but actually, that’s in our own power because we’re just not talking about that. So how can we blame somebody for not knowing about all the talent conversations we have or the work that’s going into new systems if we don’t tell them? So definitely banging the drum is something that we need to get more confident at and not just look at it as our day job. It is something that we can inform, and educate, and share the news with other people.

Nathan Simmonds:

The words social media strategy came to mind. So having-

Lorna Gamman:

Definitely.

Nathan Simmonds:

… almost like a Monday to Friday schedule. On Monday, I’ll put this sort of post up. On Tuesday, I put this sort of post up. On Wednesday, I do my humble brag or whatever you want to call it. Here, I do a client testimonial. For L&D to have their own marketing strategy for themselves so that the business does actually go, “Oh, this is So-and-so. Oh, okay. They’re on the floor. Oh, they’re talking about this. Oh, they’re sharing their successes,” and going out there and getting the people in the training rooms, in those spaces also to share that message back out into the organization as well so people want to come into that space and experience what you do so well.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

Interesting. It’s getting me thinking in a different way. Nice. Next from me then is what is an L&D strategy?

Lorna Gamman:

For me, and we spoke about this before. I’ve been pondering it over the last couple of days as we got closer to this interview. I think the main responsibilities for us [inaudible 00:20:20] start with people and we do that aligned to the business priorities, but the key part of our goal is about nurturing, maximizing, and retaining that talent. You want to be able to keep talent. There’s no point in just turning people through the business. It’s about identifying those people, nurturing, and maximizing on that, and keeping them. I think for me, the big part around strategy is around always starting from the outside and looking at what’s going on out there because you want to see what your competition is doing, what other L&D people are doing, and so on. Being around keeping the support for the core business.

Lorna Gamman:

So actually, the BAU stuff needs to carry on. We talked about milkshake machine. We always need to maintain the milkshake machines. The BAU is making sure that they’re in training for maintenance of milkshake machine, but the future is X, Y, and Z. Actually, we need to have an eye on a core part of the business and an eye on the future part of the business to make sure that we’re thinking about both parts.

Lorna Gamman:

The other part is around having that real value proposition for the customer so that we add value in everything that we do. So almost as that point where somebody’s knocking on my door saying, “I want to come to that. I want to be part of that. I want to be on that webinar. I want to be in that classroom.” Instead of us going, “Please come along.” You create that demand because you created the value proposition, so they can see what they’re getting from it, and they come and kick your… down for it.

Lorna Gamman:

I think there’s a piece around fine-tuning it and making it relevant to the audience. So you can have one L&D strategy, but then communicating it in a way that is right for your audience so that they really start to click in, and tune into that, and listen up. I think the biggest part around landing that strategy is just stakeholder group, and getting that buy-in, and having them completely on board and aligned with what it is that you’re going after because, ultimately, if you don’t have that, you can do all of the other stuff, but you won’t land it because your stakeholders aren’t bought into what it is that you’re going to deliver for them.

Nathan Simmonds:

That was going to be kind of my next question. We’d already started answering it previously was where does L&D strategy fall down. In some sense, yes, it’s because you’re not banging your drum loud enough and in the right possible way, and, A, the right drum, and, B, at the right volume, and also getting those key stakeholders involved. What else causes the L&D strategy to fall down?

Lorna Gamman:

Well, I think businesses that don’t see their employees as their biggest asset. They are, for most businesses, their biggest expenditure, yet we put them sometimes at the bottom of the list. I think for me, if you can switch that and say, “Do you know what? If we’ve got the right people doing the right things at the right time, money will follow.” Whereas quite often, the business goes after your KPIs of sales figures, and numbers, and numbers, numbers. Whereas actually, the forgotten numbers around the fact that we’re hemorrhaging people, but we don’t bang our drum. We don’t talk about what that costs to lose those people and recruit another one. It’s they don’t see that as the impact. Whereas if we can focus on people, make sure that they’ve got an amazing management team that support them towards their goals and ambitions, an amazing onboarding process so that when they join a business, they feel loved, and wanted, and needed from the minute they walk through the door or even before as they start that process, but really putting your arms around them.

Lorna Gamman:

So I think the point at which a business can truly say, “The people in our business are the most important thing within our business,” and actually having the right people trained to the best of their ability in the right positions will give us all of the sales figures that we want and all of the stats that we need, but people are at the heart of that and being really, really true to that. There are probably lots of businesses out there that will say, “Oh, people are at heart of everything we do,” but their actions say different. They need to be one sentence from both parts. It’s that people are at the heart of everything we do, and these are the things we do that mean that the people are at the heart of it. I think that flicking that switch to they are your biggest asset. They cost you a lot of money. Look after them, and they’ll earn the money for you.

Nathan Simmonds:

For me, couple of things popped in. The main thing that popped in is people that are chasing numbers… Because you know if you chase the vision, the numbers will follow. If you chase the numbers, the vision gets fuzzy. In that though is numbers are infinite. So if you want to chase numbers, if you want to chase bottom line, it’s a losing game because you can never attain enough. It’s a constantly growing thing. What I’ve come to understand through my own leadership is behind every number is a behavior. Behind every metric is a trait or a skill or a focus of energy into that situation. So your sales results or your KPIs or whatever, there will always be a behavior that links to that number.

Nathan Simmonds:

When you address that behavior, whether it’s a company at the large scale or whether it’s with the individual at the micro-scale, you can shift the number that comes out the end of it. It’s not an immediate thing. It’s not an overnight thing. It takes feedback. It takes coaching. It takes consistency to shift that behavioral change, but as a result of that, you will get the numbers. That number will keep consistently returning back to you in incremental increases when you put that focus on your people and make the people first.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah, absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

What do you think then, what does L&D need to do to overcome this?

Lorna Gamman:

Before I got married, my surname was Woodburn. I always joked and said you had to be a woodpecker. I still believe with that, but I’ve just got a different surname. Anyways, it’s you just have to keep chipping away and be relentless at selling the story. Share the value proposition, link it back to the overall business goals, and just keep going at it, and just be relentless. Sometimes it’s really tiring, but if you know what you’re going into in a role… Actually, I’ve spoken to various different people over many years. Some companies say, “Well, actually, people aren’t at the heart of what we do right now, but we know we need to move to that space.” So you know what you’re walking into. It is purely just pushing down that wall and keep banging on about it. Keep sharing the stories, and finding the little wins, and celebrating those wins where you’ve got them.

Lorna Gamman:

I’ve had an experience in my time where I got introduced to a senior member of a business, and their response was, “Oh, you’re here to do the training, are you? Good luck.” They just walked off. I won’t share the name. I do still remember the name, but it was one experience I thought, “Ah, you’re the person to change.” Everybody else is kind of like, “Hi. Welcome. Come on in.” Whereas this one person, I thought, “You’re the one that I need to just go, and be relentless, sell the story, tell you how I can help you and how I can make a difference to your team, and your business, and ultimately, therefore, your bonus.” And link it back to what it is they’re trying to achieve, but you do just have to be a bit of a tough cookie sometimes and just go with it, and keep going, and going, and going.

Nathan Simmonds:

The bit that jumped out from that is highlighting the person you need to win over and whatever level they are is working out, okay, well, actually, that will ultimately affect their bonus. What things am I contributing to? What levers am I pulling that are going to help make that to happen for them? What’s in it for them rather than what’s in it for me?

Nathan Simmonds:

The other piece that jumped out is that people in businesses, in teams, et cetera will only do what their leader does. If their leader isn’t engaged in the L&D function, if their leader isn’t engaged in their own personal development and their own skills upgrades, people in their teams won’t do it either unless those people in the teams want to upgrade so they can move on and do something else. We have to be that role.

Lorna Gamman:

Absolutely. And I-

Nathan Simmonds:

We have to be that example and that invitation for those people to do it.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah, and I think you have to tweak your language. I remember a scenario where I was talking to a particular person who was a very numbers-focused person because, actually, their world was around numbers. If I talked to them about how it made me feel, it kind of didn’t really resonate with them. They’re like, “Oh, that’s a shame. Whatever. Move on.” So I went back with my tail between my legs. I worked out some numbers, and I walked back up 20 minutes later. I said, “I just want to share this with you. This is what it’s cost you.” They were, “Ah.”

Lorna Gamman:

It’s that piece around actually the only way you can pursue it and change people’s minds is actually sometimes being the one that fully adapts. I knew in certain businesses who I needed to talk to in certain ways and what sorts of words were going to prick people’s ears and either cause a bit of controversy, which meant they thought, “Oh, I need to listen to this,” or it was just a bit where they thought, “Oh, god. That’s an impact on me.” And finding the right language to convert those people. That takes time. You can’t walk into a business and think, “Well, okay. I’ve got the lay of everyone.

Lorna Gamman:

I had walked into this particular business, and it was on day two that this person told me good luck and walked off, but everybody else I’d met didn’t have that. They might have been thinking it. I don’t know. But this person outwardly shared that they weren’t sold by this whole training malarkey. So she became my first person to go after, and spend time with, and get to know, and to talk to, understand what drives them because then I can start to tweak how I speak so that they start to think, “Ooh. Hang on a minute. Music to my ears.”

Lorna Gamman:

It is a little bit of playing the game, isn’t it? You’re playing the game to get them to listen to you. Then you can start to tweak back where you need to, but actually what I want is their buy-in. If I can pick the certain parts of the project words that are going to float their boat, then why would I not use them to get them on the boat? Otherwise, it’s kind of like, “See you later,” and you’re on your own.

Nathan Simmonds:

Absolutely. They’re going to go sailing on, off into the distance without you, and never the twine shall meet, as it were. The other part that… is then it’s walking the talk. For me to stand in a training room and deliver leadership, influencing, or communication skills as we do, as a lot of L&D people have experienced or learned, we’re not just standing at the front of the room teaching it. We need to be living it. We need to be the example. We need to be role-modeling the behaviors. Okay. How do we actually get other people to buy into our communication?

Nathan Simmonds:

Then that stuff that you do on a daily basis then becomes the fuel for the content you’re actually delivering in the classroom. Oh, actually, when I join this company, this person I met on day two, I’m not going to say any names, did this, this, and this, and this. This is what I did with my language. These are the skills that I used. Now, this person and I, we’re going out on a Friday night, and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, whatever it might be. It’s kind of the proof in the pudding of what you do and why you do what you do.

Lorna Gamman:

It’s that credibility piece, isn’t it? Whenever I run a workshop, I’d always talk about why am I here, why am I stood at the front of the room, why am I the one talking. If I’m there introducing somebody else because they’re talking, I talk about why they’re there and why I’m not there because then that adds that credibility. So you build that credibility by going, “This is my experience, and this is why I’m the best person in this business to talk to you,” or, “Actually, this is the best person. They’re not from our business, but they are absolutely the best person to talk to about this stuff.” That credibility piece is massive.

Lorna Gamman:

I think if you can align what you’re talking about when you’re sharing those things back to the common language you use in the business, whether that be the behaviors, values, competencies, whatever they are, but using that to link it so they can go, “Oh, okay. So actually, you do get our business. You understand it, and you’re applying your experiences to those values and behaviors, and living and breathing them.” If it is a challenge the status quo line that you’ve got in one of your values, you’re actually, “This is how I challenged it.” I had a person in this business. I walked in, and they were like, “Good luck,” and walked off. I made it my mission to challenge that and to try and convert them into a different way of thinking. Then hopefully, you can go, “And I succeeded,” but being able to do that with credibility is really, really important.

Nathan Simmonds:

And demonstrate the tools you used with that individual to make it happen.

Lorna Gamman:

Yeah.

Nathan Simmonds:

The one thing, and this is one of the lines that I heard from a previous leader that really made me furious was I was talking about leadership development when I was working for an organization before. I was doing the leadership development in as part of my role, not solely, and then moving into more what I’m doing now. That person said, “People that can’t do train.” Literally, I could just feel the blood boiling. Yeah, the hair. Literally, I was going into fight mode. It looked like-

Lorna Gamman:

Is it that [inaudible 00:33:47].

Nathan Simmonds:

That wouldn’t have even-

Lorna Gamman:

Just all that.

Nathan Simmonds:

I would have pulled my own ears off. Let’s put it that way, but what they were saying is I think there is a collection or a selection of trainers out there, leadership trainers that haven’t actually gone out and got the experience. They haven’t necessarily cut their teeth in the real time to actually go and do that. You talk about that credibility piece. Is you have to go out and do those things. It has to be experiential. When you’re delivering that content, people have to feel the authenticity. It has to be kind of a visceral response because people went “Ah, you had that conversation with that person?” “Yeah, yeah. This is how it looked. This is what I said. This is where I made my mistakes. This is where I had my successes. This is what our relationship…” Everyone’s like, “Ah,” but it’s genuine because it comes from the real, like you say, that credibility piece.

Nathan Simmonds:

I think there is also a pot of trainers out there that haven’t had that that are delivering content they got from a textbook, and it lacks that substance whereas then you get those leaders that just don’t buy into it because they’ve been in the classroom with people like that or with a generalist. I think it devalues some of the great content that we deliver as L&D professionals.

Lorna Gamman:

Absolutely.

Nathan Simmonds:

Something you were leading onto, I think it’s a segue. I hate the segue phrase, but I’m going to use it right now anyway. It segues beautifully here is what is it you do then that makes behavioral change stick?

Lorna Gamman:

I would always start with the why, why we want to change behavior, what is the benefit to us as employees because I think if you can start with the why, you can be really, really clear about what behavior it is you wanted to change to try and make it stick. Celebrate the changes no matter how small they might be or how insignificant they might feel. Celebrate all of that. Then going back to what you just said, leading from the front. Behavior breeds behavior. Actually, if the senior team aren’t living those behaviors, why should anybody else? I think that’s the biggest part for me in terms of that behavior change is that you could have somebody saying, “You know what? I send emails at 11 o’clock at night. I’m not expecting a response from you. It’s just that’s when I work at my best, so I’m emailing you as one of the board at 11 o’clock at night, but I don’t expect a response from you.”

Lorna Gamman:

Then at half seven the next morning, they’re chasing you for the response. You think, “Well, you clearly were expecting a response from me.” I think I’m meant to be working at 11 o’clock at night now, but you’re saying don’t, but the behavior says do. I think there’s the piece around actually if you want change in your business, and you want that behavior to stay, it needs to start at the top and from the bottom down. So I think that there’s a bit of a squeezing approach that you can take because actually if you define that behavior change, then you should start to recruit against those behaviors that you want to see. That can be at all levels. So you’ll have junior people coming into the business displaying these behaviors that the senior people are displaying as well.

Lorna Gamman:

I just think you need to walk the walk. If you want change, you need to live and breathe it. If you don’t, you’ve got to question why am I here because it’s obviously not linking to your personal values as to why you’re not working towards those behaviors. We’ve got to question that and come to terms with it. It might be you go, “You know what? Actually, where this is going is not where I want to be,” or, “No, it is where I want to be, and I just need to find my way to adapt and change things that…”

Lorna Gamman:

I guess with behavioral change, there’s also the piece around you can’t expect it overnight. People write these new sets of values and behaviors. They think, “Well, we’ve put them on the internet, so everyone’s read them. So tomorrow, everyone will be nice to each other.” Whereas the reality is actually, it takes time for people to understand it, change, and move on, and understand that ways of working. So it is a bit of being patient, but I think you can start with the why and communicate why you are now launching a new set of values or behaviors, why you’ve changed from the old ones because you probably already had some. So what’s really changed?

Lorna Gamman:

You might also question them as you start to say… you go, “Really, nothing has changed. We’ve just changed the words in some of it. It’s not really a change. It’s all still the same, but we’ve just rebranded.” I think going back and really changing the why so that you can communicate that in a really compelling way so people almost go, “Why would I not be on that train with them? Why would I not?”

Lorna Gamman:

I think a lot of the time what you find is that… I think where I’ve worked in a few operations where you’ve got head office and an operational function is the head office come up with the ideas and then do it to operations, and operations is your biggest workforce. The perception is that HR will have these ideas, and then they do it to operations. They launch something out. Actually, if you can work together and get your champions. If you’ve got a new set of behaviors, get people from around the business involved in those conversations. They’ll become your champions, and they will help make behavioral change stick. You can’t do it as a one-person band.

Nathan Simmonds:

Oh, nice. The whole why, and purpose, and values. Have you heard of James Kerr, by the way?

Lorna Gamman:

Yes.

Nathan Simmonds:

I hadn’t until recently. I’ve just had the pleasure of interviewing him also this week as well. I think it’s on YouTube now. Have a look at it. The way that man talks about values, and how to define values, and his thing is talking about getting words off walls and onto floors, and having conversations with people about what those values mean to them. The values of 1920… The word might be the same, but in 2020, the actions that are being delivered are completely different. So what’s relevant to the now is hugely important and getting people included in that so that that change does stick. Amazing because it dovetails into that beautifully. What are your top three values?

Lorna Gamman:

Oh, that’s a good question. I can only have three. I think trust. I think trust is massively up there. Honesty. I am more than happy for people to challenge my thinking and be honest with me. If they’re bought in or not bought in, I don’t mind. I’m not previous either way. What I want is a great outcome, and you’ve got to have trust to be able to go into those conversations and honesty to just have that debate.

Lorna Gamman:

I also think there’s a bit around having the freedom to explore, and I think so often, you kind of think, “Well, we need a feedback course. I’m sure you’ve got one of those from your previous life, Lorna, that you can dig out and run for us.” You think, “Yeah, I probably have. I’ve got different versions of it, but actually what I want is the freedom to explore the business and think about what’s going to be best for that group of people.” I think that those would be my three if I had to pick them quickly off the top of my head.

Nathan Simmonds:

Honesty, trust, and freedom.

Lorna Gamman:

Yes.

Nathan Simmonds:

That’s a pretty decent kind of code to be living by, I think. So what’s next on your agenda then, career trajectory? Where are you off to?

Lorna Gamman:

Who knows? I don’t really know where COVID-19’s going to take me. What I do know is I’ll be leaving Krispy Kreme at the end of July will be my official end of my Krispy Kreme time. I don’t know. What I’ve said for many years is I’d love to have my own HR consultancy, but there’s lots of things that I need to do between now and then to give me that credibility to be able to have my HR consultancy. So I’m doing my CIPD Level 5 in HR management. I’m doing a coaching qualification. I’m doing a few other bits just to develop me and actually just see where it takes me. I’m in a place where I think I’m not going to rush into the next thing.

Lorna Gamman:

I read something recently where it said, “Actually, this is the time. When you’re in a redundancy situation to take for yourself and not give yourself such a hard time about how I need to go and find another job. I need to go and find another job.” Well, the luxury of COVID-19 is it’s definitely given people time, sometimes too much time. But it’s given me the time, and the space, and the freedom. I guess what I’m now having is those honest conversations from my inner self to go, “What is really, really important to me?” So I’m doing some lists at the moment of the things I don’t want and the things I do want personally and professionally.

Lorna Gamman:

I read an article from one of my old bosses, a lady called Gayle Tom. She’s got a coaching company. She just put this out there on LinkedIn. I thought, “Actually, no, I need to do that because I need to start really working out what I do want.” To work out what I do want, I need to be really, really clear on what I don’t want. So she says, “Start with a negative mindset and think about the don’ts. That will help you drive out what you really do want because it’s normally quite easy for us to create the don’t list, but it’s not so easy for us to do the do list.” So start with the don’t. That’s my job later today is to start thinking about that and what’s important.

Lorna Gamman:

Who knows? It might be a fixed-term contract for a period of time just to keep me out and about and in it, but longterm, it’s to have my own HR consultancy where, ideally, I want to support smaller businesses. So I’ve seen just from supporting my little brother, who’s taller than me, so not quite so little, but I’ve been supporting him with a few bits over the years. I’ve really enjoyed seeing what I can do to help smaller businesses that don’t have an in-house HR/training/L&D function. So I kind of think, “Right, this my opportunity. That’s what I enjoy. How do I get the credibilities for that to make that happen?”

Nathan Simmonds:

I said the words earlier, and I said it before. Actually, it’s not about being a little sister, is it? It’s about being big sister, especially in that environment when you’re working with your brother and supporting him as his business grows and becomes more successful. You get to challenge the more than 15 years of expectation in the HR, leadership realm into what he’s doing to support his business going from thing to strength, and that’s massively vital. One question that came up though as you were saying that is you’re doing the coaching qualification. You’re doing the CIPD bit as well. Are you needing case studies? Are you needing people or clients to come and find you so that you can do some of this work with them to build up these qualifications?

Lorna Gamman:

Definitely. I think there’s a scope now for me, particularly now as I’ve got time on my side to support some of those smaller businesses, to do some of that work, and I can do it for free because I’ve got the time on my side. I need to do my case studies and just to build my confidence, I guess, because there’s a lot of stuff I know what I’m doing, and I do it, but it’s building that confidence to go, “Actually, I do know this stuff. I can do it.” Certainly, there are a few instances with my brother where I thought, “Oh, I don’t know if I should be helping him with this, but he needs my help.” I was sat in a river. I thought, “I don’t…” But it was okay. We got through it. We did a lot of conversations afterwards over a drink, but definitely, yeah, the bit around having the case studies to build upon for the qualifications is definitely high up there. So if there’s bits where I can support businesses with policies, procedures, whatever is going on, is giving them some of that advice, I’d welcome those opportunity.

Nathan Simmonds:

Amazing. That’s the reason I asked this question in this because if people are watching this, there’s an opportunity to have that conversation with you. As regards to that confidence piece, this is as a coach too in the L&D is that confidence only comes not from doing the exercise, but the perceived lack of confidence is this is what I do in this box over here. When I’m over there, that’s okay. When I’m in this box over here, it’s completely different, but the truth is it isn’t. It just feels different because it’s a different box.

Nathan Simmonds:

So anyone that has just listened to the last two minutes of what Lorna says, absolutely take advantage of this. Have a conversation with her. Go and ask the questions. Get the support you need from someone that has got the experience and is also then ratifying this and galvanizing it with these qualifications because Lorna’s there to support. She’s doing some phenomenal work and is going to do some even more phenomenal support. So if you need a big sister in HR, you need a big sister in L&D function, her contact details will be in the show notes below this and probably in the video stream will come up in a minute as well. Where can people find you, Lorna?

Lorna Gamman:

LinkedIn is always the easiest place because I’ve not got a very common first name or surname, so it’s normally an easy one to find, but you’ve got matter details as well. You’ve got my email address. They can always contact me on email, give me a shout if we need to have a conversation. If we want to do a Zoom like we’re doing now, they’re great just to have a conversation and chew the fat.

Nathan Simmonds:

Amazing, amazing. Lorna, thank you very much for your time today. Thank you for your contribution and thank you for being here. It’s really appreciated.

Lorna Gamman:

No worries. Thank you for having me. I’ve loved it, my first one.

Nathan Simmonds:

Great. We look forward to seeing you on the next interview for Sticky Interviews. Thanks very much. Speak soon.

Lorna Gamman:

No worries. Thanks, Nathan.

Nathan Simmonds:

Firstly, massive thank you from the MBM team for tuning into this Sticky Interview. If you haven’t already done so, now is the tie to click subscribe and stay up to date with our new training videos and gt interviews. Secondly, if you want to learn more about the skills we’ve been talking about in this episode, click the link and take a look at the MBM Virtual Classrooms. They’re there to help you be the best version of you in the work that you do. Until next time, see you soon.


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