Create Your Own Moments of Opportunity in 2016

February 10, 2016

Jim kicked off the year by challenging us to act with integrity when faced with Moments of Truth. Click here if you missed it.

Have you experienced any Moments of Truth yet this year?This week, he introduces another concept, Moments of Opportunity. Unlike Moments of Truth, where you take a big gulp, pull your chin up and deal with them, Moments of Opportunity are shiny gold nuggets of future promise begging you to pick them up. It’s not enough just to wait for opportunity to fall into your lap, though. 

Read on to find out how to take action to create your own Moments of Opportunity.

Moments of Opportunity are fleeting events that either stare you in the face or are hidden in the busyness of life. They may be obvious or subtle. An obvious one presented itself to me in 2010. Julie Brill from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and I were talking about the New World Kirkpatrick Model and how certain agencies within the government were implementing it with great success. I remember saying something like, “It sure would be good if more federal L&D leaders knew about it.”

One thing led to another, and shortly afterwards, I was addressing the Federal CLO Forum in Washington, D.C. This group was made up of about 30 senior L&D leaders from various agencies and departments. My topic was “Training on Trial.” Little did I know that my hour and a half with them would turn into a Moment of Opportunity that would change and enhance the face of training evaluation for the entire U.S. government through the creation of the 2011 Federal Training Evaluation Field Guide, which follows the Kirkpatrick Model.

Wendy had one of her own Moments of Opportunity when she was working for Hunter Douglas. The L&D function had a weak relationship with the business, so Wendy was assigned to the newly created position of Training and Business Liaison. Much of her time was spent creatively reaching out to marketing and sales managers to create working partnerships.

One day, she called one of the marketing managers to “sell her a training program” (these were Wendy’s words, which now cause her to say “ugh”). Near the end of a rather forgettable call, the lady said, “What I am really looking for your help with is keeping programs and promotions straight. I’m not sure if that’s part of your job or not.” Wendy responded, “I think so, but let me check”. She did, and fortunately her boss said, “Anything you can do to help them is fine with me. Do what you need to do.”

Wendy met with the marketing manager soon afterwards and gathered the information she needed to compile a marketing and sales report. She also promised to send weekly updates. One thing led to another, as these things tend to do. She was asked to share her weekly reports with all the sales managers, and the metrics were discussed in weekly national sales meetings.

Soon after, most regions saw Wendy as the person to educate them about what was going on in the corporate office. One said, “We plan our sales meetings around Wendy’s schedule.” Wendy was invited to more and more sales meetings and awards ceremonies, and, oh yes, many asked her and her colleagues for targeted sales training.

I want to be perfectly clear about one thing. Our Moments of Opportunity did not fall into our laps. They did not come from out of the blue, dumb luck or us happening to be in the right place at the right time. Yours likely won’t either. Our opportunities were triggered by actions we both took. For me, it was mentioning to Julie that it would be great to be able to share the message of the New World Model with key L&D leaders. For Wendy, it was making the initial phone call to the marketing manager.

This is great news for each of you. Instead of waiting for Moments of Opportunity to come knocking, you can proactively live your life and drive your career to increase the likelihood that they occur. The trick is to identify and pursue them. Sure, some that look like they will lead to something will not; others that appear as a tiny window may turn into wide, open doors.Best wishes to you as we continue through 2016. We would love to hear about both your Moments of Truth and Moments of Opportunity. You can email me directly at  jim.kirkpatick@kirkpatrickpartners.com, or join the discussion in one of these ways:

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Additional Resources

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Training on Trial

Your 2016 Moment of Truth Is Coming

Maximize Your Defining MomentsWhat Don Kirkpatrick Wanted You to Do – Part 1

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