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

Are You Losing Your "We" Way Too Fast?

a "partner" is more highly valued than a "provider"

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Hopefully, when you first meet with your internal client -- a department head, a manager, a team within a specific function in your organization -- there is a lot of "we" in the room. The underlying need or perceived problem or opportunity is something "we" will tackle together, a joint effort, indeed, a partnership between the training staff and the client department.

Sometimes the "we" is gone almost instantly. "Here's what we want you to do for us," says the client. Or, "Here's how we plan to handle it," you propose to the client. Either one suggests that the problem has been handed off to training, and you will solve it without much help from the client.

Some training departments actually like it that way. In others, the struggle to get the client department to share the burden has worn down the training staff so that they don't even bother making that pitch anymore.

And some training functions make the mistake of thinking they are of more value to the client when the training staff handle everything.

But partners are almost always more valuable than people who simply deliver solutions. Partners are people you have regular interaction with, that you share data with, that you analyze results with, that you decide on tweaks with.

When the project is handed over to training to handle entirely on their own, you are quickly out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps the results are good, but they are probably not as good as they would be if the client department were more engaged.

And however good they are, they are less "attached" to your efforts than they would be if you and your client were working in partnership.

There is a difference, by the way, between a partnership and a simple division of labor. I'm not talking about listing all the possible tasks associated with the training project and assigning them to one "partner" or another. That's just another way to separate the players and keep the relationship between "partners" as short as possible.

I'm talking about shared responsibility for the long term impact of the training. If the training does not produce benefits for the company, then both of you -- the training staff and the client department staff -- have failed. And you have to work together to improve the training to achieve the desired outcomes.

Every need, every project, every client department, and every company's culture is different. You have to craft a partnership that works within your constraints. And you will have to work diligently to make these collaborations tighter, more sincere, more truly partnerships, as you go along.

The first step is to make sure that when you say "we" in your meetings with your client department, they do not hear that as "the training staff," they hear that as "all of us working together." The burden is on you, since the "hand off to training model" is probably already well established.

Don't be a commodity, a simple service provider.

Be a valued partner in the process of improving the performance of your client department, and of the company.

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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