It is widely suggested that 70:20:10 is based on the work of Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo who were working at the Center for Creative Leadership in the 1980s when they suggested leaders develop best through means other than formal training.
Since then Eichinger and Lombardo have gone on to suggest that lessons learned by managers roughly divide into 70:20:10, and, in a recent publication McCall (2010) suggests that 70:20:10 originated from data reported in McCall, Lombardo and Morrison in 1988 and Lindsey, Homes and McCall in 1987.
A notable exception is one organization that uses the 70:20:10 label, though in application it is closer to 40% on the job, 30% coaching and mentoring, and 30% formal training. Another company reported that it had adjusted the breakdown to 50:30:20 to better suit its business needs.
To demonstrate the range of interpretations, the following table is a sample of different types of 70:20:10 interpretations.
70% of learning comes from constant on-the job encouragement and stimulation such as delegation and job rotation.
20% of learning comes from daily contact with colleagues and management.
10% of learning comes from formal methods such as e-learning, the classroom, external courses.
70% of learning is from work experiences such as stretch assignments, projects and overseas exposure.
20% of learning is from others such as mentoring and learning from seniors and peers.
10% of learning is from formal and informal channels
70% of learning is on the job such as stretch, projects, problems solving, client interaction, rotation assignments.
20% of learning is undertaken through others such as social networking, performance conversations, work shadowing, communities of practice and social activities.
10% of learning is formal or prescribed.
70% of learning is informal learning.
20% of learning is coaching to support the formal side of learning.
10% of learning is formal instruction learning such as through classroom or virtual training and e-learning.