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Starting with the end in mind is critical to any and every training program.

Attila, one of the Kirkpatricks' cats, had no problem defining his top of the mountain when he got a new scratching post. Instead of simply standing on the ground to groom his claws, he climbed to the top of it and started his exploration from there.

Take a page out of Attila’s book -- the next time you receive a training request, climb to the top of the mountain and discuss how it relates to the highest-level goals of your organization.

At the beginning of any initiative or training program, start by considering the highest-level result your organization is charged with accomplishing.  Use this Level 4 Result as your target for any and all efforts in the initiative.

Once you are clear on your highest-level result, think about the specific actions or behaviors your intended training audience should engage in to contribute to that result. Hint: often the reason that business managers contact training is because these behaviors are not currently happening. Make sure these behaviors can be observed and measured. For soft skills programs such as leadership development, this is particularly important.

An example of a good critical behavior for leadership development is, “Perform weekly touch bases with all direct reports.” The underlying assumption is that the training will provide a model and templates for an effective touch base. Note, however, that sometimes training is not needed. The intended training audience may know exactly what they need to do but not be willing to perform those actions for a number of reasons. In this case, another type of intervention would be more effective.

When you start your needs analysis and program design with the end in mind, you are setting the stage to create and demonstrate the value of your program. Once Levels 3 and 4 are clear, you can move to writing the learning objectives and designing any required training. If you determine that training is not required, you can focus your attention on a different intervention to improve on-the-job performance. 

Join the Discussion

Have you run into any challenges when defining your Level 4 Result? Here are some ways to join the discussion:

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Additional Resources

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program - Bronze Level

Kirkpatrick's Four Levels of Training Evaluation 

Do You Live Your Level 4 Results?

Keeping the End in Sight

Creating ROE: The End is the Beginning

Is Level 3 Enough?
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