10 Strategic Approaches Exhibited by Training Management Leaders that set them apart? PART II

This is part II of the blog post I wrote earlier. Read Part-I of this post here:
Here are the remaining 5 traits of training management leaders which set them apart. Through extended research by conducting surveys and systematic analysis of profiles, CVs and career paths of several hundreds of leading training management leaders, several common patterns emerged.
6. Stays focused on integrating learning and knowledge management through training managementThe studies showed that the training managing leaders do not see training as a separate function within a company, rather they view training business unit as an integrating unit which connects the organizational learning and organizational knowledge as two interdependent functions.

In several organizations, while there are several avenues of knowledge generation and capture, they use the training department is the only source of channeling the correct knowledge to the correct audience. Studies revealed that training leaders continuously keep questioning how different business units inside the company are producing knowledge, how the knowledge so produced is being processed and how this processed knowledge is being made available to the audience though training department. Training management leaders value this channelized knowledge as the essential ingredient of the continuous learning at the actual workplace.

How does this observation benefit you?

To become a training management leader and setting yourself  apart from business-as-usual training managers, you need to pay attention to organization knowledge management infrastructure to develop and deliver robust organizational learning. This actually might mean stretching yourself out from training comfort zone and venturing into knowledge management domain to gain holistic exposure.

7. Consider training as costly but essential investment

Yes, that’s how leaders in training view a training program. Studies show that training management leaders view training as investment in people, processes and resources to gain business advantage. There is an interesting aspect to this postulation- if training management leaders consider training as investment, does it means that return on investment (ROI) must be their number 1 agenda too? Studies showed that this postulation is not correct.  Training management leaders have been seen not to be very fussy about calculating ROI. Further analysis shows that training management leaders use quite a bit of intuition and common sense as opposed to sophisticated calculation of the ROI of training. They have been mostly seen talking about cost of mistakes or cost of non-training to the company as opposed to monetary benefits of the training to the company. They basically focus on eliminating the waste, errors, mistakes and poor results as opposed to showing fancy numbers in ROI.

How does this observation help you?

Well, it is tough to acquire the visionary intuition. However, staying grounded in the fundamental premise of the training is a starting point. If you can show the financial cost of additional hours spent by an employee due to abscence of training, ROI comes intuitively to the executive staff. You don’t have to compute it for them.

8. Always stay infrastructure savvy

Research studies showed that training management leaders are extremely up-to-date with infrastructure which supports training, learning and knowledge processes. For them, it is the backbone of survival and staying competitive. It has been seen that they know the impact of delay in passing the correct training or information or skill to the employees. The training management leaders demonstrate understanding that correct media, correct platform and correct mechanism need to be deployed appropriately to achieve effectiveness in the training.

Whether it is LMS, video streaming platform, documentation delivery platform, field skill tracking or otherwise, they have the global view of the transactions happening at various layers and between various stakeholders to effectively impart the desired learning experience to the employees. That’s why most of the training management leaders are seen experimenting with new channels like mobile learning, just-in-time delivery, video based learning, social media and several other platforms enabling training and learning and constantly in a zest to bring best technology to equip training.

How does this observation help you?

In several companies infrastructure function usually is handled by different people, but then the competitive value of a strategic training is enhanced by the latest technologies, infrastructure and associated processes. Keeping pace with technology and infrastructure is critical for next-generation learning where most of the learning is happening in the workplace setting beyond the boundaries of the training courses.  If you need to bring new generation revolution, you better get on top of latest infrastructure and develop technical aptitude to appreciate, use and compare new technologies.

To set yourself apart from traditional training managers, you need to pay due attention on infrastructure and keep looking for transformations you need to drive. There is general tendency in established training departments that they are usually reluctant to change infrastructure if current infrastructure is giving nominal results.

9. Express opinions and develop media presence

Yes, this one of the interesting differentiator. Although training management professional turns leader in their daily job but establishing themselves as subject matter and strategy expert does not come so easy. The research study shows that training management leaders are very active in blog, social media and other content generation channels. Several of them are seen to be well-published too. Leading training management leaders usually present at well-known training conferences and their articles / papers are considered to be authority in their area.

How does this observation help you?

Simply get started with your blog, publish your articles, write about your best experience and if possible present at industry relevant conferences. Presenting in select webinars may also be a great. If you are good presenter (which I assume you would be) then YouTube video channel could provide you great presence.

10. Design robust performance support system for continuous learning

I kept this differentiator at the end. This has been seen in our research studies as the most powerful differentiators which has actually determined the business success of the training programs lead by these training management leaders.

The training management leaders not only focus on the reform in training function itself, but they pay particular interest in how an employee is going to be supported at the workplace once an employee has been trained, what kind of job aids, tools and other processes are going to support his performance in real-world environment and how is going to stay proficient. The fundamental premise here is that how an employee will be engaged in continuous learning. The training leaders transform the performance support systems in such a way that acquired skills eventually result in long term behavior change and learning at workplace. That’s how these training management leaders are able to break away the boundaries of training and become learning leaders.

How does this observation help you?

Next time when you are leading a training program, you need to ask the questions regarding performance support system available to the employee at the workplace when he is out of the training. You need to question how his manager will support him. You need to question the job aids and tools he will be equipped with during his real job. You also need to question how his performance is being measured in real-world settings. You may need to look at documentation, knowledge and infrastructure available to employees to perform their job effectively.


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