Perspectives - Ken Taylor

My guess is that the cover of the magazine may have tipped you off about the focus of this edition of Training Industry Magazine – the goal of strategic alignment. In the corporate context, we sometimes allow ourselves to default to the state where strategic alignment means we deliver the program that a leader suggested. We then spend a significant amount of time and resources to develop the most micro-simulated, blended learning experience we can with all the tools we have in the shed. While that is not the worst thing we could do, it is by far the most risk-laden strategy for any head of learning that I could imagine.

The key is to try to strike a balance between great customer service (a key part of every learning leader’s job description) and a detailed understanding of the true drivers of performance in the various groups of employees you are ultimately responsible for providing training to. I believe that we must start with the problem rather than the answer. I know that sounds obvious and probably a heck of a lot more work than taking the “order,” but we are talking about building the most impactful function in the organization, aren’t we?

Many training managers are judged on the ability of the function to meet the needs of the organization with metrics like attendance rates, cancellations, hours of training provided per L&D employee, number of learners supported per L&D professional, Level 1 evaluations, etc. The reason these metrics are included in your performance plan is because they are easy to measure. The problem is that focusing on these metrics really challenges our ability to execute on the right thing: Getting the employees who need training access to the right training at the time of need.

In order to generate the most impact, I believe that leaders of training organizations need to have the courage to challenge the “order,” invest the time to uncover the performance problem and hold their L&D team accountable for being the masters of learning objectives, available content, modality and, most importantly, developing solutions that address the learner’s true needs.

I think you’ll find this edition of our magazine ripe with ideas to help you toward that goal. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts about the point of views shared in the magazine.