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Don't Be Replaced by an App: Why Trainers Must Partner with the Business

October 20, 2014

Training professionals need to do more than deliver a great training class. They must give their customers the tools they need to contribute to the bottom line or organizational mission.

The role of the training professional starts with building a "bridge" to the business or organization to create an ongoing dialogue and understanding of their needs. This creates a relationship with two-way communication and avoids blind training requests. Instead, the training professional acts as a strategic business partner who is a member of the team that plans for and maximizes business results.

The business partner relationship prevents the training department from developing or delivering training that is disconnected from business needs or unsupported by the business units. When the training professional becomes part of the business team, the entire dynamic is different and more effective.


Here are some tactics for building the bridge to your business or organizational units:

  • Find out if you can get invited to team or strategic meetings.

  • Ask line managers or supervisors to join you for breakfast or lunch.

  • Show an interest in the business and their challenges. Learn to understand and speak their language.

  • Obtain copies of annual reports, strategy documents, team meeting minutes or notes, and any other documents that can give you a sense of what is important to the business.

  • Walk around the floor of the areas your training serves and informally chat with people who have taken or would take your programs to find out their priorities.


About the Author


Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick is is the Senior Consultant for Kirkpatrick Partners. He is a thought leader in training evaluation and the creator of the New World Kirkpatrick Model. Using his 15 years of corporate experience, Jim trains and consults for organizations around the world. He is passionate about assisting learning professionals in redefining themselves as strategic business partners. Jim delivers keynote addresses and conducts workshops on topics including maximizing business results, creating powerful training and evaluation strategies, and building and leveraging business partnerships.


Jim co-authored three books with his father, Don Kirkpatrick, the creator of the Kirkpatrick Model, and three books with his wife, Wendy, including Training on Trial. Jim and Wendy also served as the subject matter experts for the United States Office of Personnel Management’s Training Evaluation Field Guide.

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