11 Chapters
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10: A Customer’s Perspective

Van Adelsberg, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

As we were finishing work on this book, we invited a training alliance customer, Susan Christie, Vice President of Sales Operations for Moore North America, to share her perspective on training that runs like a business. Here’s what she told us:

Your book says, “Training should address the customer’s issues and strategies at that moment in time.” I say, “Nothing less will do.” Not in our world.

The Sales Operations group, located in Lake Forest, works closely with Moore’s North American Sales organization as well as the Moore Learning Alliance. Our job is to make sure the structure, strategy and training all come together to help us optimize the unique strengths that differentiate Moore from the competition. The industry as a whole is experiencing great change, and our customers’ expectations are changing as well. Moore is creating a very different organization to meet these challenges, lead the industry, and better serve our current and future customers. I tell you this because it’s important to understand: That’s the environment here. All of us in Sales and Sales Operations are very excited about what we’re doing. We must be able to move very quickly and our partners must do the same.

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9: Running: Deliver Unmistakable Value

Van Adelsberg, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“This is not the end,” Winston Churchill once told his gallant countrymen. “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” That is precisely where this chapter brings us. Through long and diligent effort, your traditional training function has been transformed into a training enterprise. The people, products, processes, and infrastructure required to run training like a business are in place. Any early wins you achieved during the Installing phase have alerted your customers that you are determined to make a difference. It is the end of the beginning. It is time to deliver unmistakable value.

Figure 9-1 : Key Steps for Running

The phases described in preceding chapters were essentially projects, to be completed within a certain number of weeks or months, and all toward completing a transformation of the training function. In contrast, Running constitutes the ongoing operation of your training enterprise.

In this chapter, we’ll review five main areas—outlined in Figure 9-1—in which a training enterprise must excel, day after day and year after year, to succeed as a business. As we go, we’ll tap the experiences of people who are now engaged in Running Training Like a Business, to give you a first-hand feel for the challenges and rewards one might find there.

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2: Missed Connections

Van Adelsberg, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When Ed Trolley, a career line manager, was tapped to lead T&D for a Fortune 500 company, he asked each of his new T&D colleagues, “What value would you say our function adds to the business?” Several stared back at him as if to say, “Come again?” A little embarrassed for them, Trolley rephrased his question: “How does T&D help this business make, sell, and distribute products that satisfy customers and earn profits?”

They’d then nod, seem to catch his drift if not his precise meaning, and start to tell him about their work, often with great passion. “Haven’t you read the reports?” they’d ask. “We offer thousands of programs around the world. And the evaluations show that participants love the content and the instructors.” T&D was stimulating minds, building skills, and making people happy.

That seemed adequate to the folks in T&D, perhaps, but not to some of the company’s executives. One told us, “Training here was very program-oriented. Some trend popped up out in the literature, and all of a sudden we were doing a training program in it, even if no one asked for or particularly wanted such training. It was almost as if training was something separate from the business.”

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6: Post Assessment: Weigh Your Options, Make the Business Case

Van Adelsberg, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

In the last chapter, we advised you to assemble your assessment data into a gripping story of what training is, could be, and should be for the businesses you serve. Now it is time to weigh your options for fulfilling that vision, and to make the business case for pushing forward on that course.

Figure 6-1: Decision Point—After Assessing

PHASES

Of course, your business assessment of training could indicate that you should do nothing. We’ve said it before: Running Training Like a Business is not for everyone. 79

When is it wise not to attempt Running Training Like a Business? When your assessment reveals findings like these:

A decision to maintain the status quo does not make your assessment a failure. You will have gained many valuable and applicable insights from the experience, and you will have systematically explored possibilities that no business should overlook.

If your assessment suggests that you should move toward Running Training Like a Business, you’ll want to spend some time weighing your options for pursuing the transformation. Our experience suggests that there are three ways you might go:

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5: Assessing: Take Stock of Training

Van Adelsberg, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Assess the training organization.” That’s not what anyone would call a startlingly new idea.55

Many training organizations do assess themselves regularly. But while traditional assessments of T&D may generate reams of data about training, they rarely produce even fundamental data on the business aspects of the training organization. How much is actually spent on training annually? What sort of ROI does T&D generate? How does training contribute to overall business competitiveness? What value do training’s customers perceive in training services? Many training organizations lack solid answers to such questions, no matter how many times T&D has been assessed.

The assessment we suggest you conduct, in contrast, seeks to bring together, in one place and at one time, the answers to all of these questions:

These are questions you must answer to move toward Running Training Like a Business. The key steps for gathering those answers are laid out in Figure 5-1.

Figure 5-1 : Key Steps for Assessing

PHASES

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