By Lisa Toenniges

Creating a holistic, business-focused learning strategy is one of the critical milestones in the five-year strategic journey of Lowe’s Learning & Organizational Effectiveness group as they transition from transactional T&D order takers to strategic HPT business partners.

“The learning strategy we co-created,” says Don Kirkey, Director of Learning Strategy and Operations at Lowe’s, “is a transformational framework designed to architect a proficient and engaged workforce that delivers optimal customer experiences and business results.”

The Learning@Lowe’s project is a model case study that addresses all 10 ISPI performance technology standards. Lowe’s spent a year examining the current state of readying a workforce that can deliver measureable business results by systematically:

  • Conducting a cause analysis to determine why a gap existed in performance
  • Co-creating a rigorous, emergent, one-of-a-kind learning architecture
  • Building just-in-time, just-enough (not just-in-case) learning solutions during the development phase
  • Piloting and implementing the new way to learn at Lowe’s (to more than 1,700 stores)
  • Measuring new performance with knowledge assessments and performance validations, informally and formally

“We began this effort with a focus on improving bottom-line business results at Lowe’s and took a systems view of the organization,” adds Innovative Learning Group CEO Lisa Toenniges, CPT.

“Lowe’s is clearly an interconnected and complex retail entity,” says Eileen Banchoff, Ph.D., CPT, President of Banchoff Associates, Inc. and the project’s lead consultant. “Adding value and sharing expertise was paramount as the partnership with corporate stakeholders, department practitioners, and external resources has developed over this past year.”

Don, Eileen, and Lisa are excited to share the guiding principles and tools of Lowe’s performance-based learning architecture with you during the 2012 THE Performance Improvement Conference, April 20-23 in Toronto.

About the Presenters

Don Kirkey is the Director of Learning Strategy and Operations at Lowe’s ( where he is responsible for guiding learning and performance improvement strategies, processes, tools, and standards. Don has been a Master’s Series presenter at ISPI and sits on the ISPI Certification & Accreditation Governance Committee. He can be reached at
Eileen Banchoff, CPT, PhD., and President of Banchoff Associates, Inc. (, consulted with Lowe’s to develop the learning and measurement strategies for its new architecture. Eileen has been active in ISPI for more than 20 years, leading and mentoring the local Michigan chapter and serving on numerous Society committees/task forces. Eileen can be reached at
Lisa Toenniges Photo Lisa Toenniges, CPT, is the owner and CEO of Innovative Learning Group (, a company that provides custom learning and performance support services to Fortune 1000 companies. Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience in the performance improvement industry. She is wrapping up a two-year term as a board of directors’ member and treasurer of ISPI and is past president of the ISPI Michigan chapter and past chair for the 2010 ISPI International conference. Lisa is currently a nominee for ISPI president-elect. She can be reached at