February 25, 2011

Partnering for training success

You are a department manager and want to address some deficiencies in a couple of your team members. You like to support the corporate training program, so you access the training catalog on your intranet. You see some offerings that might be helpful but don’t see any that are available in the near future. You reach out to the corporate training manager and ask if there is anything he can recommend for your situation. He says that everything they have available is listed on the training catalog and states that they are backlogged and won’t be able to design something new any time soon. You thank him and move on. Needing to address your issue quickly, you start looking through material you have in your office. You find some stuff you think will work, pull it into a PowerPoint deck and deliver it to your team. If you don’t find anything, you head out to the local bookstore, check out the business section, find a book that looks like it will work and buy some copies for your team to use as a study. If neither of these ideas work, you remember that a course you took several years ago might, so you dig it out, make some modifications, and use it with your team.

You are the corporate training manager and recently received a call from one of your department managers asking you for some help with his team. You listened to his request, reviewed both your current offerings and upcoming projects, and let him know you would not be able to help him right away. Now you hear through the grapevine that he is doing his own thing to solve his issue. This concerns you because you really want to be able to help your business partners, and know that you will probably have to get involved later anyway to help insure his people understand the official corporate approach.

Sound familiar? This situation happens quite often in corporate America, especially in tough economic times such as these.

So what can you do?

One idea I have seen work extremely well is for the two managers to partner together and develop training content that can be delivered as needed by either the training team, or more importantly, by the department leader himself.

To make this work you will need to do the following:

Corporate Department Manager

1) Assess and evaluate each person on your team and determine the gaps
2) Meet with the training manager to share the needs and requirements of the team
3) Base your requests around the roles, responsibilities, and assigned competencies for role
4) Take the time to learn how to effectively teach, not just coach your people

Corporate Training Manager

1) Take the list of needs and requests and design impactful training content that addresses the requirements of the jobs.
2) Design the material in simple, modular format incorporating instructor-led content with job aids, coaching kits, webinars, etc.
3) Design the coursework so it can be delivered in a variety of settings including one-on-one and group environments
4) Set up time to train the corporate manager on effective training techniques
5) Commit to maintain the content the same as other training deliverables

This is a simple approach but it has been effective in setting departments up for success. It’s a great way to share the load between the functional department and the training department. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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