If nothing else – over the last 40 years – the two of us have had our fair share of opportunities to work with a large number of training organizations. Based on our collective experience, we would offer that great training organizations (GTOs) separate themselves from the pack by excelling in the following areas:

Adding Value

First and foremost, GTOs understand and embrace their role as a support function. Sounds easy enough, but many training departments lose sight of that fundamental reality. Some become driven by recognition from industry associations and their professional peers.

A true GTO is obsessed with their internal reputation. They perceive themselves as conduits between organizational strategy and day-to-day execution that exist to make the lives of their sponsors easier. To achieve that objective, they invest significant time and energy into developing active partnerships with management. They prioritize truly understanding the nuances of the business they support, as that understanding serves as a mechanism for ensuring the accelerated development of employees. The documented respect of sponsors regarding the quality and relevance of the training solutions provided is the only recognition learning leaders in GTOs are driven to receive.

Attracting Talent

A GTO is like any other highly successful organization: Talented people want to work there! They are intrigued by the challenges associated with the work; they are captivated by the energy that radiates from the existing team. On a personal level, they see themselves fitting in and contributing to the environment. So, how does one attract great talent? We borrow heavily from our friend and colleague, Sandy Ogg, and suggest you consider the following:

  • Role: How much does each role in the training department contribute to the impact and reputation of the training function and the overall business? This is not an easy question to answer, but GTOs are distinguished by the sophistication and effort employed in its pursuit.
  • Career appeal: How attractive is a role in a GTO to people with other options? If you are a career-minded learning and development professional or a high-potential company employee, what would compel you to commit to the training department? There are several competing factors impacting that decision, but these three make their way to the top of most lists:
    • Compensation: Does it make short- and long-term sense?
    • Visibility: Would making this move increase the probability that you would have the option of more upward mobility?
    • Connection: Would this move put you in a position to do work of enhanced personal or professional significance?

Demonstrating Agility

Organizations around the world have had ample opportunity to showcase their resiliency in 2020. In one way or another, the waves of change we have experienced over the last few months have drastically impacted us all. When significant change occurs, an organization’s collective Performance Readiness® shifts. Skill gaps emerge that are often accompanied by motivational challenges – typically grounded in the fear of the unknown.

A GTO is prepared for the unexpected – even the unprecedented. As the road to recovery is established and visions of a new normal begin to emerge, a GTO identifies skill gaps, develops a tailored plan to address disparities, implements that plan and monitors its impact. In that regard, a GTO serves as a reliable model of agility and responsiveness in the throes of disruption.