Set Your Own “Table”

December 7, 2011

Kirkpatrick Quick Tip #40

By Jim Kirkpatrick

Set your own table rather than waiting to be invited to the big table. Here’s what I mean: I was recently part of a four-city China tour delivering keynote addresses on the Kirkpatrick business partnership approach. During lunch in Shanghai, I happened to sit with three people with rather diverse backgrounds. One was a trainer, the second a business manager and the third a quality control person. Interesting conversation ensued on the topic of “getting a seat at the (executive strategic planning) table.”

Each person expressed their particular challenges of getting to the table, as all wanted to offer input during the planning phases of mission critical initiatives. What dawned on me as I listened to each perspective was, “You may have trouble getting to the big table, but here you are at your own table.”

Using this observation as a platform, the conversation moved from complaint-based (e.g., “We never get any respect”) to a spirit of pro-activity (e.g., “Just think of what the three of us could do if we worked together”). The most powerful insights that came from envisioning that synergy were:

  1. All three could agree on the end goal, as well as to work together to achieve it.
  2. The trainer could get relevant information from the group about what topics to train, and not waste time  or money by guessing.
  3. Quality control (Level 3) could audit the things being taught by the trainers (Level 2).
  4. The trainer could elicit cooperation from the manager to monitor and support application of what is learned in training.
  5. The manager would have a better chance of getting his/her business objectives accomplished in this system.

My encouragement to you is to set your own table rather than waiting to be invited to the big table. Once success is achieved through your grassroots collaboration, you will likely get invited to the big table.

Additional resources:

Training on Trial

Kirkpatrick® Strategic Evaluation Planning Certification Program

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