Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2017 - 51

SECRETS OF SOURCING
DOUG HARWARD

TRANSFORMING FOR
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT

Through our years of research on what
makes a great training organization,
we've identified eight core capabilities of
high-performing training organizations.
The first, and most important,
capability is strategic alignment - an
organization's ability to design learning
solutions and processes that support
the business' mission-critical objectives.
Our research found that most training
leaders understand the importance of
alignment. But, ironically, it also told us
that most training leaders struggle with
how to transform their organization into
one that is strategically aligned.
In some ways, strategic alignment seems
like a nebulous concept. But there are
very specific practices associated with
how to ensure that your organization's
processes and solutions are aligned
to the needs of the business. These
activities are not about waiting until
after you've selected a course and later
trying to rationalize its usefulness and
value. All the practices of alignment are
proactive activities done prior to making
decisions about whether a course should
be offered, or more so, to determine if
training is even needed.

SUCCESS IS A
MOVING TARGET.
To implement these practices, some
training
leaders
recognize
their
organization needs a transformation or
some type of change that transforms
them from traditional approaches of
training management to those that are
performance-oriented,
competencybased, and with processes that are
well-defined, measured and truly create

value. They are looking for a better way
to manage their function and recognize
their organization is going through the
motions of running courses but not
making a difference.
Transforming to an organization that is
strategically aligned means transforming
to one that focuses on the success of the
business, and the performance of those
that make the business successful. So,
here are a few ideas to consider prior to
beginning a transformation initiative.
Invest time in learning
the process of transformation.
Transformation is a change management
initiative. Change of this magnitude
requires a structured, methodical
approach. It is not an approach that you
learn as you go.
Change your focus to performance.
High-performing training organizations
are not course-oriented, they are
performance-oriented. Courses are a
vehicle for performance change, not the
reason your organization exists.
Create a vision of what your
organization should transform to.
This is often referred to as defining your
mission. I like to refer to it as defining
future state. Be very clear about what
you expect your organization to look
like, behave like, what it will deliver
and how it will measure success in the
future state.
Establish a baseline.
Before creating an implementation
plan, take a step back and assess
where you are. A common mistake of
training leaders is to begin creating
a plan of change without a clear

understanding of their organization's
current capabilities. Using a third party
to conduct an objective assessment
may help minimize bias and help you
focus on what your clients may see that
you may not.
Engage your constituents and partners.
The process of transformation is not your
initiative to manage alone - it requires
the collaborative efforts of your staff,
constituents and your partners. They all
have a vested stake in the success and
can contribute to the design, plan and
implementation process.
Optimize current resources.
Before a full-scale change, clean up the
easy wins that won't require massive
effort. Evaluate your portfolio. Stop
doing things that don't have value.
You may be surprised how much
improvement you can make quickly by
focusing on doing less.
Remember that change is
about incremental improvements.
Organizational transformation is not
a one-time effort. Change comes in
incremental steps: you implement
change, you assess and you implement
new changes. And when you think
you have arrived, it's time to start over.
Everyone else is not standing still around
you; your company is changing while
you are changing, and technologies
are changing while you are changing.
Success is a moving target. So, think of
transformation as an ongoing cycle of
improvement.
Doug Harward is CEO of Training Industry,
Inc. and a former learning leader in the hightech industry. Email Doug.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT 20 1 7 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2017

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