What’s Your “20”?

What are you working on right now? Is your training or content making a difference—a real difference?

Have you ever heard someone ask, “What’s your 20?” The term refers to your location. It comes from “10–20” and is part of the Ten Code used by CB radioers, who borrowed and adapted it from the police and emergency services.

It seems appropriate to use this question to kick off my first column in the year 2020. Let’s apply the question to our overall work in learning and development:

  • Will we see things that are actually new and different enter our world in 2020? (As opposed to recycling old concepts by calling them by a new name. Those of us who’ve done this work for a while are kind of over this…)
  • What did we learn about in 2019 that will burst forth and become a “go-to” thing
  • How will we finally prevail at work and apply new and different ideas to our old and tired approaches?
  • What will be the new and different “thing” that also makes a difference to our learners and their learning retention? Because that’s the point and all that really matters!
  • If your evaluation plan is old, tired, or practically non-existent, what will you choose to do to rev it up? A new tool? Are the items being evaluated measuring what is actually needed anymore? What is being done with the feedback? (Anything? Bueller?)
  • Is 2020 the year we do more to rev up existing learning strategy rather than building a new one? Or will it be the other way around?

Now let’s apply the question, “What’s your 20?” to you and your work in learning and development:

  • What are you working on right now?
  • Are the projects what you want to be working on?
  • Is your training or content making a difference —a real difference to your learners?
  • Are you working with the person, people, and the teams you should be?
  • Are your projects reaching the right group of learners?
  • Are your projects bringing the level of value everyone expects—or even better, exceeding that level?
  • Are your projects being evaluated in the right ways?

If the response to any or all of these questions is a resounding, “No!” make the time to ask yourself: What will it take to change your responses to a resounding “Yes!”?


Let’s begin to craft your 20 Plan to make this happen.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Which types of projects do you wish you were working on (whether at your current organization or another)?
  • What does making a difference mean to you in relation to the types of projects you wish you were working on?
  • Who are your learners going to be? Same as today or adding new people to the mix?
  • Are there skills you need to ramp up?
  • Do you have access to the proper tools?
  • Whose help do you need?

Training Matters! Let’s make 2020 the best L&D year yet—get out there and put your 20 Plan to work!

Dawn J. Mahoney, CPLP, owns Learning in The White Space LLC, a freelance talent development (“training”) and instructional design consultancy. She is passionate about developing people through better training, better instructional design, and better dialog. Mahoney asks the tough questions to ensure the training content is relevant to the work and performance expectations. She does this work because she loves to see the moment when the learning “dawns” on her learners. If you need help, get in touch with her at: dawnjmahoney@gmail.com.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.