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The fourth and final installment in our quick tip series on maximizing manager involvement discusses a manager touch point almost totally ignored by our industry.

Most of the clients we've worked with, when asked, “What evidence is most meaningful to your stakeholders,” almost always answer, “The testimony of the managers of our training graduates.”

This testimony, then, is critical to winning a favorable "verdict” from your stakeholders -- your jury -- meaning that your training program culminates with your stakeholders saying, "Job well done." 

The unfortunate reality is that most managers will likely be poor witnesses without your help and guidance, as they will not acquire the important data on their own if they don’t know they should be doing it.

With this in mind, it is important to prepare those managers (prep your witnesses) to make a powerful testimony. Here's how you can help:

1. Talk with managers ideally before training, but at least immediately following training, to discuss what they should be watching for.

For example, an effective way for managers to provide testimony is through a historical comparison: “This is what my people used to do (Level 3) and the results we achieved (Level 4); this is how their performance has improved, and the subsequent results." 

The positive difference will have occurred in part due to what was presented in quick tip #1, quick tip #2 and quick tip #3 of this series. Letting managers know about this technique helps them understand what to keep an eye out for.

2. Take this one step further by setting up a system in which the training graduates (the direct reports of the managers you're working with) funnel Levels 3 and 4 data and information to their managers on a regular basis.

Once you have strong testimonials from managers, be sure to include them in your chain of evidence to show the connections.

It is regretful that so few training professionals utilize senior leaders as star witnesses in demonstrating value. Be sure you are one of the few who does.

Look back at quick tips #1, #2 and #3 to refresh your memory of this whole series.

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Do you use managers as expert witnesses? We'd love to hear about it if you do, or have tried. Here are some ways to join the conversation:

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Additional Resources

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program - Bronze Level

Training on Trial

5 Steps to Maximize Manager Involvement During Initial Program Scoping

3 Tips for Strengthening Your Initiative with a Program Kickoff Champion

Stop Playing Hide-and-Seek with Managers After Training

Win Them Over with In-Person Testimonials: "Jimisms" #3

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# Chuck Udell
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 11:30 AM
Jim and Wendy,

These four tips have been an excellent series - one that is so important. And you are right, obtaining testimony from our training graduates manager is important - one that I need to do a better job at.

Obtaining stakeholders support, especially maximizing their involvement is so critical to success. Their involvement needs to be maximized as appropriate through out management levels - from immediate trainnes' supervisor to senior leadership - and as you both have stated - our job as training professionals is to facilitate the process. I have seen that obtaining/facilitating management involvement is critical to successful.

Thanks so much for the tips in this series!
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