As a training manager, we all seek to understand what we can do or implement, that would transform and revolutionize how training impacts the business.

There is no shortage of ideas coming from training consultants, corporate executives and college professors telling us what we should do. Plus, there are lots of awards programs giving credit to training organizations for exceptional performance.

Seven years ago, Ken Taylor, Training Industry’s chief operating officer, and I, sought to understand what high performing training organizations truly do differently from those that do not perform at a high level. For us, the concept of high performing really meant that the organization was a strategic part of the business and had sustainable impact on how the business performed in their respective market.

Industry award programs was the first place we looked.

We found the criteria to be based either on volume-based metrics – such as total budget, percentage of payroll, number of hours of training, etc; or on criteria that seemed somewhat nebulas in terms of providing guidance on what should be done and how to do it (examples are leadership commitment, learning strategy, execution, etc.). All these seemed to be interesting and good barometers of activity, but not what we were looking for in helping training organization leaders to change or implement processes that drive performance.

So, we started an annual study of what capabilities and practices training organizations employ in order to perform at a very high level. Seven years later, with more than 1600 training professionals from all around the world having participated in the study, we are pleased to be able to launch the results.

Sure we could have announced our findings earlier. But, in the spirit of making certain that a study on what it takes to be great, better be great in its own right. Confident of that, we are pleased to announce the findings through our new book, “What Makes a Great Training Organization?”

This book comprises the study, which includes eight groups of processes, consisting of a total of 49 practices, which when done well, drive sustainable impact and make a significant difference in the performance of a business.

We call these eight groups of practices – capabilities. And, we found that virtually every training organization has some level of expertise in some of the eight capability areas — each capability area consists of specific practices and those who excel in some of these practice areas, we consider to be high performing training organizations. Additionally, those that excel in many of the practices among the eight capability areas, we consider to be performing at a great level.

Aside from understanding the specific practices that learning leaders could employ to truly transform how they manage training in their organization, we learned that the true differentiator in any training organization was the learning leader – for it is the leader who drives change. Additionally, the leader ensures that the processes and practices are implemented and managed in a consistent and quality manner.

Great training organizations are ‘great’ because of the people in the organization and what they do, not solely from the courses, or programs, or technologies they deploy.

It’s really about the contribution to the business.

Learn more about “What Makes a Great Training Organization?” here.