The Learning Cafe

People like us listen to things like this

  • Posted by Elysia Arnold
  • On July 7, 2020

Written by Adam Harvey | Business Performance Partner

I’ve been listening to the Learning and Development Podcast with David James for about 6 months now, and I’ve been really impressed.  

In this thought-provoking episode, Serena Gonsalves-Fersch, a learning practitioner with 20 years’ experience in companies such as KPMC, Deloitte, and most recently as Head of Global Learning for Cloudreach, poses a simple question: how does ‘learning’ as a business function better contribute to directly impacting performance?

To that question, Serena shares her views on the future of L&D and what it means for us all. I love the way she constantly brings it back to linking learning to affecting business performance. Its such a meaty issue that she often poses questions with more questions, which is annoying for someone that just wants answers, but it’s a great episode that left my head filled with ideas and a renewed sense of purpose.


  • “If you aren’t directly impacting performance and furthering your business’s strategy through the performance of its people, why do we exist?”
  • “Before you do anything, you need to recognise your performance problem”
  • Learning has become a sort of event. It sits so far away from the point of need, by the time the need is cascaded to L&D, somebody has already decided what the solution is. It feels like, by the time people have to address it, we’re playing catch up.”
  • “Learning has become an event, and often the solution comes before diagnosing the performance need by asking ‘what are the performance outcomes we’re trying to achieve?”
  • We need to be asking the “what are we asking people to learn?”