Make Training and Development a Strategic Imperative | Learn About Business Simulations and Strategic Acceleration

Make Training and Development a Strategic Imperative

training-and-development

In general, most CEOs want training to influence one of three outcomes: Increase revenue, decrease costs, or both. Most training managers think more along the lines of knowledge development. They want people to learn a skill in order to do their jobs better. But the CEO and the executive team want to know how the training will influence the three factors. Here lies a slight disconnect. Executives want training that teaches the business of the enterprise. This isn’t to suggest that knowledge development isn’t important. Having a direct connection between how knowledge impacts revenue growth, expense reduction, or both is critically important to the corporate strategy.

Demonstrating these impacts can be challenging. Training managers struggle with how to help training participants understand the connection between the training content and its impact on revenue and/or expenses. In many cases, training managers have to bridge the connection gap with general examples and a leap of knowledge faith. This is usually where leadership training often breaks down and relevancy is reduced. When training managers are able to make the training part of the corporate strategy, the training becomes one of the central components of corporate strategic execution.

training-and-development

In general, most CEOs want training to influence one of three outcomes: Increase revenue, decrease costs, or both. Most training managers think more along the lines of knowledge development. They want people to learn a skill in order to do their jobs better. But the CEO and the executive team want to know how the training will influence the three factors. Here lies a slight disconnect. Executives want training that teaches the business of the enterprise. This isn’t to suggest that knowledge development isn’t important. Having a direct connection between how knowledge impacts revenue growth, expense reduction, or both is critically important to the corporate strategy.

Demonstrating these impacts can be challenging. Training managers struggle with how to help training participants understand the connection between the training content and its impact on revenue and/or expenses. In many cases, training managers have to bridge the connection gap with general examples and a leap of knowledge faith. This is usually where leadership training often breaks down and relevancy is reduced. When training managers are able to make the training part of the corporate strategy, the training becomes one of the central components of corporate strategic execution.

Tips To Ensure Strategic Success


  1. Ensure the training topics aligns with where the corporate strategy is going- My time with Steve Jobs taught me to make solutions for the future, not for tomorrow. The same applies when creating training. Training programs need to develop skills that are required for the future. For example: The strategy states that CapEx expenditures need to be reduced by 15% over 5 years while R&D investment will increase 3% over the same period resulting in more innovative products more often. The training needs to enable participants to make decisions within the training that forces them to work towards the 5yr goal and not just simply teaching them what CapEx is how to innovate more effectively.
  2. Ensure that management training has a challenging business acumen component blended in. For better or for worse, all corporate strategy is rooted in business outcomes. In one form or another, most strategy outcomes are revenue growth, cost reduction, or a combination of both. In order to more effectively align your management training with corporate strategy, the training program should challenge and help participants learn business acumen. Ideally, business acumen that is specific to enterprise and its strategy. Examples of this include leadership development where participants are forced to experience the impact effective leadership has on revenue growth, enterprise efficiency, or both.
  3. In order to make management training a strategic implementation mandate, training programs should give managers a day in the executive team’s shoes. In other words, implementing learning tools that help managers see the enterprise from the executive level is idea. Giving managers a day in the ELT’s shoes helps create an enterprise wide perspective. This often creates a cohesive understanding of the why and how behind the corporate strategy. Research has proven that when managers understand the reasoning and potential outcomes of corporate strategy, there is less resistance to change.

Often times, the challenge comes in the form of how to implement the 3 tips listed above. Equally as often, training managers accidentally overcomplicate the methods in which they implement the solution. Of course, utilizing business simulations is fantastic what to do this, but this does not require a large budget. The amazon training and development best selling book, “Shift, Using Business Simulations and Serious Games” outlines how companies can implement valuable tools for modern day action learning without breaking the bank. It’s a cheap purchase and had very strong reviews. Keep in mind, this book is relatively entry level and acts more as a guide to getting started as opposed to an advanced book on step-by-step how to.

With some forethought, planning, business acumen, and action learning, corporate training will become a strategic implementation imperative. Most Fortune 500 companies have crossed this chasm and with effective planning, most any company can as well. Just remember management training should accomplish three simple criteria: Align with the strategy, challenge by business acumen, and give a day in the executive’s shoes. If you are able to accomplish those three tips, your training will be required in no time.