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

Your Spiral of Training Goals

set your training department goals at multiple levels

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Good training departments are aware of their goals and key strategies all the time. (Weak training departments think about goals and strategies during the budgeting process, whenever that occurs in their organization, but nobody remembers them very well the rest of the year.)

One way to handle broad training department goals is to mentally surround oneself with the internal client functions and departments you serve, and list the goals that go with each client. You might think of it as a circle, or a wheel that you can spin around to conjure up the focus for each client and their needs.

But I prefer to think of it as a spiral, meaning that each time you come around the circle to a given client, you can look at goals at several levels.

At the lowest level is the practical, budget-type stuff. Your goals at this level might include how many sessions, courses, events you are going to deliver, how many participants you are going to handle. It would include any revisions or new training development you would be doing to meet that client's needs.

Come around the spiral to the next level for that client, and you're looking at the client's goals that you are helping to achieve for that department or function. This could mean basic training in job skills, education in respectful workplace issues, a better safety record.

Come around one more time and you have the goals of the organization. Think of it as the contributions of the client department to the organization's success that can be attributed, at least in part, to training. Reduced costs, lower employee turnover, and similar company level benefits fit on your spiral at this level.

In the most effective organizations, training staff dealing with specific clients can pull all three sets of goals, for a given internal client, right off the top of their heads. They are aware of these goals at all levels, and that influences how they do their training work.

Obviously, two of the three iterations of goals are based outside the training department, one might say. And that's as it should be. A keen awareness of what your client and your client's client -- the company or organization -- hope to achieve through your help will do much to align interests, generate support, and enhance the chances of success.

It is no small thing, by the way, to personalize these goals to the people at those levels of the organization. The bottom level, training department goals are about what your staff will do, and how they will get it done. The client level goals bring personal benefits to the managers in those functions -- less stress over wasted effort or increased risk, better sales or safety or customer satisfaction figures, depending on their focus.

Similarly for the highest levels goals. The reduced costs and legal hassles associated with a better safety record, fewer ethics violations, or reduced litigation have a definite impact on the personal satisfaction of people at high levels in the organization.

So visualize real people at each of these points on your spiral, and write the goals they would write for the benefits to be achieved through training services. Then make sure everyone who works in your training department knows the goals at all levels, not just at the most practical ground level, for their work.

© 2013 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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