Training Industry Magazine - November/December 2017 - 9

GUEST EDITOR
SHELLY WILDS

REPUTATION MATTERS

We hear stories about it on the news.
Stories of large companies that yield
to public opinion because ultimately
the public's perception of your brand
dictates whether or not people spend
their money on your product. A brand
represents everything you do or say
and your brand reputation is what
people say about you. In learning and
performance, our business is helping to
shape behavior that improves business
results. Everything we do and say creates
our brand and our brand's reputation
can have an impact on our ability to
be effective.

EACH INTERACTION
BUILDS OUR
REPUTATION.
In 1984, Malcolm Knowles came out
with his fifth assumption about adult
learners. This fifth assumption was
motivation. It states that as a person
matures, the motivation to learn
becomes more intrinsic. Motivation
influences behavior, and if our goal is to
change behavior, we must first protect
the learner's motivation to learn.
We spend a great deal of time ensuring
learners know "why" they need to
learn new knowledge and skills at the
beginning of each course; however,
these learners do not come to class
with a blank slate. Unless they are new
to the company, they have taken many
courses from our department, and

over time, they have built a perception
of the learning coming out of the
learning and performance organization.
This is how our department's reputation
is built.
We often address motivation by starting
with the "why" and making sure the
learning is relevant, but every experience
with our department builds on their
perception and ultimately impacts
their motivation. Whether it is a
designer working with a subject matter
expert, an instructor delivering a
course, or a program manager
discussing options with stakeholders,
each interaction builds our reputation.
Changing
someone's
perception
can be difficult. This is why learning
professionals must pay close attention
to their reputation.

BUILDING YOUR REPUTATION
It is never too late to build a great
reputation for your organization.
Step 1:
Start by doing an audit of your brand.
How is my brand being perceived now?
An audit will help you determine the
perceptions and feelings about your
department and help you plan corrective
actions. This process will help you
identify areas of strength as well as the
weaknesses that need to be addressed.
Step 2:
After performing the audit, it is time
to build a framework of what you want
your brand identity to be. What do you

want others to think or say about your
department? Be sure your identity
and brand are aligned with the
business objectives.
Step 3:
Once the framework is established and
you know what you want your brand
to be known for, it is time to take what
you learned and create an action plan
or strategy. The action plan will be a
roadmap to improving your brand's
reputation. It should include the issues
highlighted in the interviews, the steps
needed to improve each issue, the
result you expect to see, and finally,
the timeline for improvement. Once
you have the plan together, it is time
to review with your teams and get
their buy-in to execute on the new plan.

REALIZING THE BENEFITS
Building a brand strategy and identity
can be time consuming and challenging,
but the benefits improve your ability
to be effective and ultimately help the
business be successful. To ensure all
the hard work isn't lost, it is essential that
you continue to monitor your brand. We
survey learners after courses; however,
getting the feedback isn't enough - we
must make improvements based on
that feedback. Doing this will help
you build champions for your
department and improve your ability to
be effective.
Shelly Wilds is the director of learning
and performance for CDK Global.
Email Shelly.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - BUSINESS OF LEARNING 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 - November/December 2017

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