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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
612-978-3050

Just Ask One Question

one simple question reveals how your internal clients feel about you

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Your training department may use any of a number of approaches to ascertain the your perceived value among your internal clients (and potential clients, as well as competitors for your budgeted resources). You may meet regularly with managers and department heads or survey them on a regular basis. Or you may depend on the evaluations your events receive from participants to gauge your success.

Many departments really don't assess their standing with their internal clients, formally at least, at all. They may think it is too much trouble to seek their feedback, or they may, frankly, be rather comfortable getting as little feedback as possible.

But if you are serious about building better relationships with your internal clients, you are probably eliciting their reactions in some form of another. You may have a fairly sophisticated list of issues you cover with them.

I think you can boil all that down to a single question:

"How do you feel about contacting the training department?"

Imagine that you put that single question up on, say, an online survey and invite responses not only from the managers who do work with you now, but all of the people who should or might contact your training department. Give them some very simple, straightforward responses to choose among:

"How do you feel about contacting the training department?"

  • I look forward to it
  • I don't mind doing it.
  • I usually put it off until I have to.
  • I dread it.

Oh, sure, you could ask a lot of detailed questions about "the quality of your working relationship" and "what we could do better" and "where we excel" and so on.

But this one question will get to the heart of the matter. When managers realize they have to involve the training department, that may be okay with them, or may be a good thing, or may be something they'd really not have to face.

And departments that put off even talking to you do not value you, and would rather see your budget diverted to other purposes.

No matter how expansive your data on your client relationships, this one question could be one of the most insightful, and efficient, ways to see where you stand with your internal clients. Moving your department from the "avoidance" end up to more favorable ratings on this simple scale is not easy. It takes time, patience, and repeated, thoughtful interaction with your clients.

When you can show that kind of movement on this short survey, you have a strong indication that not only the "big picture" of your clieint relationships, but the fine details, are working to grow support from your client departments.

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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