Reactive or Proactive L&D?

lightbulb-2.pngI have recently been participating in a discussion on LinkedIn about “What makes a great trainer” in the “How to Market Training” group and this has sparked off a great debate.

While some people mention empathy , passion and being learner focused, this question has focussed me to realise that all of the qualities discussed are useful to a point ……..however…… if the learning/training you provide does not meet an organisational need, then it is all just window dressing.

Yes all of these qualities are essential, but if the organisational needs are not met, then L&D, the trainers will have no credibility and in this economic climate, that is a dangerous place to be.

‘But we get told to roll out the training, and that is it. We don’t really have time to find out what the organisation needs. And in any case, they say “jump and we ask “how high?”‘ This was my response one day when I entered into a debate on the subject in a  forum in Leeds.

As I argued why, one L&D manager from a well known telecommunications company kept quiet, but smiled gently. She then shared the story of how they had the same problem 18 months before that, but then began to challenge the status quo. They began by asking for 10 minutes of the stakeholders time to clarify the problem so that they could come up with the best solution. At first there was some resistance, but then slowly the stakeholders would come to her, with the answers along with the required measures to ensure the learning had been effective.

It did not happen overnight – all in all it took around 18 months. Now learning and training are prioritised according to the needs of the organisation. Isn’t that how it should be?

So what are you – reactive or proactive? When stakeholders say “jump” do you ask “how high” or “why?”

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