We all long to be part of something larger than ourselves. Whether we want to be the creator and driver of an organization’s vision or we want to be behind-the-scenes – everyone wants a seat at the table.

I have fond memories of Thanksgivings at the kiddie table, longing for the day I had a seat at the family table. When the time came and I earned a seat, I made sure I modeled the right behaviors to keep it. Looking back, I now realize I was part of something bigger. I was continuing in my family’s traditions and upholding our family principles. My family’s principles created a strong culture that is cared for and respected as if it were a living, breathing entity.

Recently I was visiting with a colleague who was struggling with getting a seat at the table. Reflecting on my Thanksgiving experience, I was able to share some tips on how she could get a seat at her organization’s table.


Business principles are fundamental to any organization’s success. Adherence to these principles takes daily discipline, passion and mindfulness from everyone within an organization. These principles support the organization’s vision and mission statements, which typically includes being the best at something.  Inclusively, the principles serve as a constant reminder of the responsibility everyone has to hold themselves accountable and acknowledge that they have the ability to influence the success of the organization.

The learning and development (L&D) professional supports business principles in a holistic manner. It is a unique position that partners with executives, managers and employees throughout the organization to gain global insights into departmental inter-workings, personalities, strategies and initiatives, as well as professional competency strengths and developmental opportunities. Correlating employee competency and performance back to business principles allows for training initiatives to be developed in an unassuming partnership with the manager. This collaborative relationship helps to lay the foundation for L&D to be part of the daily organizational conversation.


When you’re creating or enhancing the L&D strategic plan, you should consider how the organization’s business principles can be incorporated in the plan. It’s important to highlight how L&D influences the organization’s internal decision-making process and how it supports the organization’s goals, values and competitiveness.

Collaborating at this level lays the foundation to a partnership that celebrates success, shows genuine vested interest in departmental performance, allows for respectful openness, and supports the value proposition of what’s in it for me. A strong strategic plan eliminates the order-taker mentality and makes way for a proactive long-term action plan.


L&D by definition is an organizational activity that improves performance. Ask yourself: do you have on-going conversations in each department correlating how L&D can help them achieve their goals or enhance their team’s professional development?

Here are some thoughts to help you further define how L&D impacts the bottom line, employee performance and departmental success. Is L&D:

  • included in your organization’s business principles, vision and mission statement and do they include a training accountability measure tied to performance;
  • included in organizational projects and strategic planning conversations from the beginning; and
  • regarded as a global resource that can help identify trouble spots, offer solutions and alternative approaches?


Mom made an amazing sauce that turned a turkey into a celebration of flavor that folks constantly raved about. Mom will never reveal what is in her secret sauce, except that it’s made with constant tending to and lots of love. L&D professionals are like my mom, they are passionate about tending to activities that impact global strategies and results. They live, breathe and own the responsibility to bring together inter-departmental collaboration, communication and performance. They care for the organization’s principles and employees like mom cares for her secret sauce. A seat at the table is waiting for you … welcome to the table.