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

Valentine's Day Lessons for Training Functions

internal client relationships are a year-round project

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

When I was a kid in elementary school, Saint Valentine's Day was quite an affair, a day when Valentine cards, of a sort, were exchanged throughout the classroom. Many kids constructed "mailboxes," meaning an old shoe box with a slot cut into the top, so that Valentines could be delivered anonymously. Some of these shoe boxes were elaborately decorated.

The Valentine cards themselves were ridiculously simple, bought in packs that contained dozens of them. Those simple, grade-school style Valentines are still sold in packs today, but today's Valentines are more likely to be based on a popular cartoon or movie or TV franchise.

Now, as the training department for your company, if you put out a nice shoe box somewhere where managers from all the other departments in your organization would see it, how many Valentines would you get?

Here are a few things you might consider, about this exercise:

  • Relationships count. The mass-produced and anonymous Valentines don't mean much, but personalized ones do. In terms of the training you deliver, internal clients who personally value your contribution to the company's success will have a greater impact on your future than those who use your services out of routine, or even coercion. (Like the moms who made their kids give a Valentine to every other kid in the class, executives who force departments to use your training services don't add much to your value.)
  • The other 364 days. The quantity and quality of Valentines that end up in your shoebox on Saint Valentine's Day have less to do with that day, and more to do with how you interact with your "classmates" on all the other days of the year.
  • Giving vs. getting. Maybe a better measure of your status within the organization is how many personalized Valentines you are in a position to give to other departments (that is, how many such Valentines would be welcomed by the other departments). If you expect them to value your work, but you don't take an interest in theirs, don't expect fancy hand-made love notes to show up in your shoebox.
  • Anonymity and recognition. Some of the Valentines that fall in your shoebox are a mystery, but sometimes, even if they aren't signed, you know who sent them, because you know the sender so well. How many of your internal clients do you know so well that you'd be able to tell whether or not they "anonymously" gave you a Valentine?

Romance is tricky at any age. But if you don't make a sustained effort to woo internal clients throughout the year, don't be too surprised if you are disappointed when you pop the top off your Valentine's Day shoe box.

© 2013 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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