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RingsAbout 10 years ago, I had the good fortune to work with an executive coach, John Jenson. He told me a story about a salesperson he coached who had an amazing collection of rings. She wore more than one on nearly every finger.

John, being incredibly tactful yet direct, asked her why she wore so much jewelry when working, suggesting that it might create a distraction.

“Oh no, John,” she said. “It’s quite the opposite. When I meet with my clients, many of them ask me if I have any new rings, and often spend a few minutes admiring them on my fingers, and sometimes even try on their favorite.”

“Well, if that’s what you want to talk about, then I guess they are working fine for you,” John replied.

This story really got me thinking -- What is it that training professionals REALLY want to talk about with stakeholders?

I personally want to talk about how I can best support the business and assist stakeholders in accomplishing their highest level results, such as profitability, market dominance and mission accomplishment. This makes me part of the mission instead of just some optional thing that is impacted by every budget cut.

So I thought further -- What questions am I asking stakeholders during initial needs assessment meetings? What information do I present back to them to show that I have met their needs? Am I talking about training and “my” stuff, or I am talking to them about their business requirements?

This perspective can be applied to the entire training process. To what degree are you focused on business or organizational goals and requirements during:

          • Initial needs assessment
          • Definition of clear on-the-job expectations and desired outcomes
          • Instructional design and development
          • Evaluation plan and tool design and development
          • Post-program follow-up and monitoring
          • Reporting of program data at Kirkpatrick Levels 1-4
Read more about how to align training with the highest organizational goals.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. If you have any tips, tools or questions to share, we would love to make those available to our community as well. 

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Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program - Bronze Level

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014 12:38 PM
I like your salesperson's approach. She is making a personal connection with her clients, one that they obviously remember. Recently, I was browsing in a furniture store and several salespeople approached me to offer their help. Only one showed the least bit of interest in me and my daughter and what we were looking for. The next time I went back to buy, I asked for that salesperson.
While I agree that showing clients what can be accomplished with whatever is being offered for sale is the point of salesmanship, I really believe that making a personal connection is every bit as important.
Thursday, May 1, 2014 3:39 AM
Surely this is a nice lead in for ice breaking at meetings. It won't please every customer and we will take our own meaning from the "display".
I expect that everyone will remember her by the rings and that isn't a bad thing either.
However... I wonder if it would make an impression were her hands covered in tattoos rather than rings or if the salesperson had a particularly obvious tattoo on their arm?
We accept some things but may baulk at other symbols of fashion.
Friday, May 2, 2014 9:03 AM
I can relate to this. I deliver training for a local authority and I have been asked in the past to deliver bespoke training for individual groups, which I would usually respond quickly to. Now I ask; why is it needed, does it meet our priorities, is someone else already doing this etc. Before I learned to stay focussed on business priorities someone would ask me to 'jump' and I would ask 'how high'? I ask, why do you want me to jump and how will my jumping help to make a positive change? I need a convincing answer before using any time and resource.
# Anonymous User
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 9:44 AM
How Do You Respond When Someone Asks You to Jump?
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 3:06 PM
I agree with the critical nature of stakeholder meetings. Stakeholder time is precious. Yes, we need to build relationships in the time we have with them. But we need to prepare well to ask the types of questions you raise, tailored for what we know about the client and project.
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