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Paul Matthews

travels from UK

Expert on learning transfer, performance, capability and informal learning

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About Paul

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Keynote speaker Paul Matthews is Speaker, Author and Consultant who specializes in learning transfer, performance improvement, capability and informal learning. With experience in a range of industries from travel to engineering, holding senior positions in sales, service and operations. Paul is the perfect addition to an event to help your organization to unlock the power of informal learning and learning in the workplace.

Paul Matthews expertise in workplace learning takes him to conferences and corporate events across the world. He covers a wide variety of learning-based topics, but in particular informal learning, learning transfer, performance consultancy and how Learning and Development can help businesses achieve their targets.

From his experience and knowledge, Paul has authored ‘Informal Learning at Work: How to Boost Performance in Tough Times’ and ‘Capability at Work: How to Solve the Performance in Tough Times’. His latest book ‘Learning Transfer at Work: How to Ensure Training >> Performance’ is proving to be another must read. He works directly with organisations such as Santander, GSK and Google as well as many public sector organisations in the UK.

As a speaker, Paul’s key skill is in making ideas come alive with stories, ensuring audiences not only understand, but also have practical tools to implement and action change. Paul is an expert in reducing complex theory down into straight forward concepts that anyone can use to achieve better results for their business or organisation.

Originally from New Zealand, his practical approach typifies the Kiwi can-do attitude and focus on workable solutions. Paul’s last corporate role was as a Director for a NASDAQ quoted IT Company. He set up his own leadership and management consultancy firm People Alchemy Ltd in 1999 in the UK, and now develops online performance support and learning platforms.

See keynotes with Paul Matthews
Keynote by speaker Paul Matthews

Learning Transfer and Workflow Learning

  • For all the great work we do in the classroom, research shows that only a small amount of the information delivered gets used effectively back in the workplace. That’s a problem!
  • In this keynote, Paul shares how to put a ‘wrapper’ around your classroom event so the event itself is more effective, and the learning is transferred back to the workplace and ‘operationalised’. This is how to make sure your training stays alive after the classroom, and generates the benefits you, and your sponsor, are looking for.
Keynote by speaker Paul Matthews

Performance Consultancy

  • Learning & Development can save money by understanding the role of performance consultancy and making sure they don’t make the common mistake of confusing it with learning consultancy. Performance consultancy acts as a filter to stop the common practice of L&D working on learning programmes that are unlikely to solve the original business problem.
  • In this interesting keynote, speaker Paul Matthews shares how to make sure that L&D is working on (and spending money on) the right stuff, not just whatever someone asks for. To sum it up; do less, save money, and get better results!
Keynote by speaker Paul Matthews

The Brand of Learning and Development

  • What do the people in your organisation say about L&D when you are not in the room? What they say is your brand, your reputation, and it has a huge impact on how effective you can be, and how easy it is to get budget.
  • Paul shares a progressive approach to L&D that will change your brand into a trusted business partner as well as the relationship between your ‘brand’ and 70:20:10.
Keynote by speaker Paul Matthews

Informal learning

  • We think we know how important informal learning is; that learning we get through experience, observation, collaboration and social exchanges. But do we? Most L&D professionals still don’t pay anywhere near enough attention to the huge amount of learning that happens while people are doing their jobs – in the workflow.
  • We know about informal learning, but few organisations leverage its power. Luckily, Paul has the tools and strategies you need to implement informal learning. This keynote is perfect for executives, leaders and managers.
Keynote by speaker Paul Matthews

L&D strategy

  • There are three things missing from most L&D strategies. Paul calls them the elephants in the room, ignored, but potentially dangerous. They are: Performance Consultancy, Informal Learning, and Learning Transfer.
  • In this keynote, Paul explains how they tend to act together as well as practical ways to start dealing with them. Oh, and of course he reveals the fourth sneaky elephant!
Keynote by speaker Paul Matthews


  • The first few days and weeks of a new employee’s relationship with their employer are critical for setting things up for a happy future for both parties. There are several stages to the process and each stage needs to be handled well to engage the new employee and satisfy their needs at each stage.
  • In this keynote, the audience will learn the secrets to great onboarding – the kind that truly makes a difference to someone! This keynote is ideal for leaders, HR and onboarding teams.

Who Is Accountable For Learning Transfer?

This blog is an excerpt from the forthcoming new book ‘Learning Transfer at Work: How to Ensure Training >> Performance” by Paul Matthews

Here’s a tough question, and I will apologise later … How much sustainable behaviour change are you managing to achieve from the training courses you deliver? If you are like most people delivering training, the honest answer is ‘not that much’ or perhaps more honestly, ‘I don’t know’. Now, maybe you as an L&D professional can take home your salary knowing that most of the training you do is a waste of time. Maybe the people who asked for the training are happy with that low level of impact. Maybe, like some L&D people I speak with, you can ‘bury your head in the sand’ or look the other way and make nonsense noises while you plug your ears with your fingers. Maybe you say some nice words about learning transfer and do a few things that might help, but really you are just doing what you have always done. Or maybe you are waking up to the reality that we should, as ‘professionals’, be doing much better than we are at producing business impact from our training courses.

There are many in L&D who would cough and splutter in indignation at that previous paragraph. How did you react? Maybe you are one of the very small minority of L&D professionals who are doing a good job of learning transfer and that last paragraph genuinely does not apply to you, and if so, I apologise, and I salute you. Or maybe you just feel very uncomfortable when someone calls out what should be obvious to all and says that the emperor has no clothes. In the parable of the emperor’s clothes, he did come to his senses and realise that he had been deceived. He was living within an illusion where everybody was pretending something was real when even a child could see that it was not. Somehow, so many people are living within the illusion that training is working well, when even a cursory examination shows that it is not in most cases delivering on its promise.

If learning transfer is important and therefore should be done, and it is possible to do, and people are avoiding it, we end up in the murky waters of responsibility and accountability. Who is responsible for making it happen, and who should be held accountable if it doesn’t happen? In other words, “when and where does the buck stop?”

Stop and think for a moment about the last training course you were involved with. Who was accountable for making sure learning transfer happened? When I ask that question, very few people have an answer. In other important organisational activities someone is accountable, so what’s different about learning transfer?

One of the reasons is that the activities required for successful learning transfer come from many people across different departments, and it is most unlikely that each person will do their bit and all the parts will magically coalesce into a successful programme. Somebody needs to be the conductor of the orchestra. The conductor in turn requires each member of the orchestra to contribute the part they need to play to perform the symphony. And then somebody else, perhaps whoever booked for and paid for the orchestra to perform, is holding the conductor accountable for the quality of the performance at the event. And who holds the event organiser accountable? Perhaps the people who paid for tickets to attend the concert. There is inevitably a chain of accountability.

Now, think back again to the last training course you were involved with. What was, or should have been, the chain of accountability, perhaps even starting with the company shareholders or owner? Where did the chain break? If you fix that link in the chain, are there more weak links further down the chain that will then break? Then take a step back and consider how accountability plays out in the organisation. Accountability is a facet of organisational culture, often driven from the top. Does the senior team take ownership? Do they accept accountability or are they full of excuses?

It is easy to say that a person should be accountable, but for delegated accountability to be effective, it must also be accepted. No-one wants to be held accountable for something that is likely to fail; that is a poisoned chalice. Alongside delegating accountability, you must also ask people if they have everything they need to be successful. If they say ‘yes’ then they are well on the way to accepting ownership and the fact that they are accountable. If they say ‘no’ then they will not take ownership and if/when things go wrong they will drop into spectator mode and watch as things fail. You might even get ‘I told you so’ comments. On the other hand, if they feel a sense of ownership because they have accepted accountability, they will step in when things go wrong to solve the problem.

So, in your organisation, who is accountable for learning transfer?

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Keynote topics with Paul Matthews