Seven Steps to a Real Business Partnership

By Silva, Kevin D. | Training & Development Journal, May 1989 | Go to article overview

Seven Steps to a Real Business Partnership


Silva, Kevin D., Training & Development Journal


Seven Steps to a Real Business Partnership

Why is it that one company looks on its HRD or training group as a valued contributor to the business, while another sees it as pure overhead?

What makes the difference between a successful training department and one that is less than successful?

How can I, as a professional, establish a first-class HRD or training group, win the hearts and minds of my subordinates, supervisors, and clients, and produce visible results for my business?

You hear such questions whenever HRD and training professionals get together. You hear them raised at the national ASTD conventions, and you see them discussed in the trade journals. At some time in your career, you've found yourself seriously pondering them.

This article will try to provide answers to those questions as it outlines the seven critical factors for success in HRD. You will discover how to establish a first-class HRD or training group, produce visible results, and convince your subordinates and supervisors that your function is valuable. You'll see how your training group can become an integral part of your organization, on a par with the sales, marketing, and engineering functions.

The formula in this article was originally used at the Pepsi-Cola Management Institute. It's been refined over the years and has produced excellent results.

As you review each factor, you'll find some ideas that you're already using. The magic of these ideas is not in their novelty, but in how you can combine and apply them to make your group a mainstream contributor to your organization.

Seven factors to success

The seven critical factors are relatively straightforward.

1. Establish a mission and identity. As you look at this idea, you'll review the key elements of a mission and how you can develop an identity for your training function.

2. Research business issues. Here you'll identify the business issues in your organization and see how those issues differ from HRD or training and development issues. You'll see the importance of conducting a strategic business assessment and what that assessment will produce for you.

3. Pick a target and involve key players. Here you'll look at how to target organizational issues, how to identify and involve key players, and how to establish support groups.

4. Develop first-class and relevant programs. You'll look at developing standards for training programs and how to make them relevant to organization.

5. Sell your programs and ideas. Find out how to get others involved in selling your programs. Learn about the value of face-to-face contacts and discover some program-selling tools.

6. Execute and then monitor your programs. Here you'll have one of your greatest opportunities--measuring and demonstrating the results of your programs.

7. Follow up on your successes and failures. Learn how to handle your training high points and low points.

Establish a mission and an

identity

A strong mission should have two key elements. First, it should be a document that sets a direction for your group and explains your vision to others. Second, it should define your contributions to your organization.

When you put together the mission statement, involve your subordinates. Make it simple--base it on two, three, or four important principles so that you can communicate it easily throughout your organization.

For example, you may want to include the following four elements in your mission statement: . identification of key business issues, so that you can determine what, if any, training solutions are appropriate; . development of first-class programs that will address those issues; . cost-effective delivery of on-site programs; . measurement of results in the business.

Your mission statement will set your direction. …

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