Benieuwd naar learning verhalen?

A key concept is respect for the breadth of skills - interview met Sanne IJpelaar

5 February 2020

Er verandert maar weinig zo snel als het learning landschap. Wie zijn de Learning Leaders van 2020? Wie zijn de movers en wie de shakers en wat zijn de belangrijkste trends en ontwikkelingen? Sanne de Kemp, Business Director bij 227 Learning, interviewt Sanne IJpelaar, Global Commercial Excellence Manager, L&D and KAM bij marktleider in chemie Nouryon (voormalig AkzoNobel): "Customer conversations have a lot of impact". Op verzoek van Sanne IJpelaar (SIJ) vond het interview in het Engels plaats.

Sanne IJpelaar: "customer conversations have a lot of impact"

Sanne de Kemp (SdK): “What have been the biggest changes within your organization and your role or function in the last 2 years?”

Sanne IJpelaar (SIJ): “Our organization has gone through a lot of changes during the past 2 years. First the ‘chemicals’-business unit - where I work for - was split from the company AkzoNobel (AkzoNobel had 3 Business Units, Paints, Coatings and Chemicals) and we were sold to a US private equity group, our organization is called Nouryon now. Due to those changes we needed to adapt to a different leadership style, way of working and growth ambition.”

SdK: “What business challenge do you face? Or what major challenge (s) do you have for the short term? Can you tell something more about your organization and the role of L&D in it?”

SIJ: “As a L&D team we need to speed up our talent capability building by providing our commercial staff members the right tools in a more agile way to embrace the growth ambition. We face the challenge of supporting the businesses with more on demand customized learning but need to keep the overall Nouryon learning strategy intact.”

SdK: “Do you or does your organization use Learning Analytics? If so, can you tell something about it, or share your experiences? If not, why not and is it on the agenda?”

SIJ: “Yes we are using Learning Analytics, at first it was based on manual Excel input but now we are implementing ‘Success Factors’. Since we are at the beginning of this implementation, I cannot provide any more feedback on the outcome. For me personally, Learning Analytics is crucial to being able to manage a Learning Culture.”

SdK: “If we look at skill set or skills that (future) employees must possess, we see Learning Agility score highly, or the learning and change potential of employees; those who can cope with changes faster, are agile and resilient and can convert new experiences into effective behavior. Do you recognize this? Can you give a striking example within your professional field?”

SIJ: “As always, the world is constantly changing. And it will change faster and faster in the future. Recognizing the need of these changes is key to examining the current context in which we live, and the major changes to be expected in our future that should inform how we think of learning today. Within this context, a key concept is respect for the breadth of skills. And focus on breadth of skills means educating for a mastery of a wide range of competencies that will help mitigate the challenges posed by our changing world context. Many stakeholders in our organization have articulated the need for the breadth of skills approach.”

SdK: “Learning situations must be relevant and applicable. Performance support expert Bob Mosher even says "Workflow learning is learning WHILE doing the work" (read: do not first stop your work to learn in the workplace, but learn during the activity). How do you view this? Does this occur in your organization? Can you give a clear example?”

SIJ: “I do agree this should be a part of the learning strategy. But it isn’t always easy to implement, due to lack of opportunities and resources in the business. What we do organise is ‘Joint visit coaching’ for our sales employees. We provide them with the possibility to be coached on their visit preparation and customer conversation during a real life customer visit. It appears to be a way of learning that has a lot of impact. And it is greatly appreciated: both by the sales staff and by our customers.”

SdK: “Denis Waitley writes: "Failure should be our teacher". What is your biggest failure and what have you learned from it?”

SIJ: “I very much agree with that statement. And although I did not see it that way at the time, I experienced my greatest failure at the start of my career. I was blocked by political games. I learned from that period that I always have to ask myself whether there are real problems or whether they have been devised by people with a different agenda and work myself around to reach my goal.”

SdK: “How do you deal with providing insight into talent within your organization and with talent development? But also: how do you use talents to inspire others and help them further?”

SIJ: “Talent management is not really part of my daily activities , but I always make sure that talent is noticed and appreciated. The most powerful way to inspire people is to let them reconnect with talent in one way or another.”

SdK: “What question would you like to ask the next interviewee?”

SIJ: “How do you interact with the digital landscape of learning?”


Profiel Sanne IJpelaar

Sanne is Global L&D Manager Sales, Customer Service and Marketing at Nouryon. She is experienced across all learning areas including but not limited to: design, gap/opportunity capability analysis, learning analytics, people leadership, learning strategy creation linked to performance. Sanne is a strong networker of business stakeholder partnerships, ensuring collaborative co-authorship of strategies and approaches.

Her specialties are B2B Management & Sales, Communication, Training, Coaching and Learning & Development strategy, Community building and Social media.