Do You Define What You Want to Talk About with Stakeholders?

April 30, 2014

About 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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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Kirkpatrick® Business Partnership Certificate Program

Bringing Business Partnership to Life

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