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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Does Your Training Function Have a Mission Statement?

whose mission matters most to your training department?

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

It is not unusual for specific functions and departments within organizations, like training, to have their own mission statements. Where they exist, they are often the product of quite a bit of time, much of it invested by department leadership, getting just the right words, it would seem, to point the way for everyone involved in training.

Or so they say.

I suspect that some readers, encountering that question at the top of this article, answered with, "Hmmm, I don't know, do we? I'm not sure." Others know that they put one together one time, but they would have a difficult time reciting it from memory . . . and perhaps even find it hard to locate the original text quickly.

Since a mission statement is supposed to boil down key concepts, standards, goals, and the like into a few sentences, and is created with the intention that everything the department does will support that mission, it cannot have much influence if you do not carry it around inside your head. Any mission statement that hangs on a wall, where it is polite enough not to actually disturb people as they do their work, is just another decoration . . . and very likely a wasted investment, in terms of all that time. (And if, for Pete's sake, you had a consultant come in to help you craft your mission statement, then your forgotten mission statement was even a bigger wasted investment.)

If you must have a mission statement, or you are thinking of writing one, please don't make it all about what the training department will do, what grand goals it will achieve.

Make it about what your internal clients will achieve!

I believe your mission is to help other functions within the company be more successful. The mesaure of your training department's effectiveness is the measure of success achieved by other departments with your help.

Instead of locking your top management in a room to hammer out your mission statement, or going on a retreat, spend that time meeting with the functions you serve to make sure you understand their missions. Learn how they know when they have achieved their missions. And not incidentally, take the opportunity to show them that you are defining your own success by the magnitude of the benefit they derive, the amount of progress they make toward their own goals, from taking advantage of your training services.

It is impossible to be a truly successful and effective training department independent of the success of the company around you. Training is a way of delivering benefits to the company through others, namely, through the employees that you educate and influence to produce better results.

The more outward-looking your mission is, the better your chances of bringing real value to your organization.

© 2010 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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