The 70:20:10 model in Employee Learning and Development is an optimal model for people to leverage multiple sources of learning. The model defines that 70% of learning takes place in the form of personal experiences on the job, 20% through meaningful exchanges with others and 10% through formal training or academic exposure. This model is highly preferred by many organisations across the world to bring about workplace effectiveness by making learning avenues accessible to people.

This framework was designed in 1980 by three researchers Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A Eichinger while researching core areas of development for successful managers. Their research concluded that people development thrives on one’s ability to create learning environments in which employees learn from peers, on-the-job exposure and formal training. This in turn helps employees successfully develop multiple business competencies like influencing skills, risk-taking, decision making, communication with stakeholders and peers and many more.

But what if we could use this model for personal excellence the way it amplifies professional growth?

We often go through the motions of the day whining about how different things could have been if we had the power to change them. The truth is – we cannot change our circumstances, we can surely work with what we have. I often tell myself that if I have the ability to feel powerless, then I surely have the ability to feel powerful too. I may not be able skip the demands of people around me but I can surely manage small pockets of “me” time to be myself and prepare for demanding circumstances. This gave rise to the 70:20:10 model of personal excellence. I use it in the following way consciously to make the most of my day.

70 Minutes a day : Workout

I split 70 minutes into 60 minutes of workout and 10 minutes of warm-up/cool down/meditation. I realised that a crucial step to personal excellence begins with putting myself first. Personally, I don’t enjoy morning workouts. An evening workout routine with a combination of cardio, weight-training, yoga, circuit training nourishes me physically, mentally and emotionally. It prepares me for better sleep and mindful eating. I feel energised for the next 24 hours and ready to conquer anything that comes my way.

My advice: Factor in 70 minutes each day that is solely dedicated to putting you into shape physically, mentally and emotionally. Allow yourself this space to build resilience and better thinking capacities. That way you will not regret going through the motions of the day since you have nurtured your need for better wellbeing.

20 Minutes a day : Gratitude Journal

Writing is therapeutic. By this, I mean putting pen to paper as opposed to tapping your mobile screen. I began journaling after I studied Positive Psychology from University of Pennsylvania where I was taught to spend sometime to reflect at the end of the day and make notes on 3 positive experiences I had during that day. This scientific experiment and practice is known to build resilience and forward looking energy in all spheres of life. I could see a positive shift in the way I perceived occurrences during the day and gave greater emphasis to positive elements through the power of gratitude.

My advice: Maintain a journal and record 3 positive experiences that you’ve witnessed during the day. Describe the incident, how did you feel about it and why? It could be as simple yet powerful as being able to wake up to a new day. I recommend practicing this ritual 20 minutes before you retire for the night. It will help you sleep stress-free and look forward to the next day with renewed enthusiasm. Oh! And it hones your story-telling skills too.

10 Minutes a day : Plan your day

I am a control freak by choice. Unapologetically! I prefer to have some structure to my day. I use 10 minutes to plan all activities and errands to complete. This can vary from visiting the grocery store to planning my pitch for an important meeting. This ritual allows me to list out all that I need to do and weed out the unnecessary items that do not require immediate attention. I’d say prioritising helps me structure my routine including the 70 and 20 minutes of my day.

My advice: Find your crucial 10 minutes while you commute or while you are at your workstation in the morning to map out your activities. You can also plan your activities for the subsequent day in advance by spending some quiet time in the evening. Even if you cannot prioritise your deliverables in the list, it will do you a world of good if you merely list it down. This activity will atleast empty your mind.

Although researchers designed the 70:20:10 model to build professional competencies, it equally helps me in my quest for personal excellence. These numbers are micro-targets of personal productivity that invariably have an incremental impact on my overall well-being.

Do give it a shot! All the best.


  • Hithakshi Kotyan

    Author | People Development Specialist | Harvard Member | Positive Psychology Coach

    Hithakshi is an Author and Senior Learning Specialist with Priceline Technology, India. She has worked and consulted global organisations to drive personal and workplace excellence. The underlying themes of her programs are rooted in the areas of Career Pivots, Self-Leadership, Personal Productivity, and Well-being. She is the author of "The Future of Work In An Evolving Economy", a Member of Leaders Excellence at Harvard Square and Business Intelligence Board Member at the Chief Learning Officer Publication. Hithakshi is a Certified Instructional Designer, a Positive Psychology Coach, and a Behavioural Interpreter.