Summary: Are you challenged with creating a new training department? Here are ten steps to help you create a Training Dojo, a place where employees go to learn about their jobs, progress to higher career levels, and discover how to become better managers and leaders.

A dojo is a martial arts training center – the place where learners come to absorb technique and wisdom. You can create a Training Dojo in your organization, a place where employees come to learn about their jobs, progress to higher career levels, and discover how to become better managers and leaders. Follow these 10 steps to create your Training Dojo.

One: Create a culture of development. Many organizations lack a culture that will allow training and development to grow. You must show the organization the benefits of training, from functional knowledge to career development. Explain that a training organization can lead to increased efficiency, lower turnover, higher retention, and a culture that allows learning to happen everywhere – not just in a classroom.

Two: Obtain buy-in. Part of creating a culture of development is getting buy-in from other executives and stakeholders. In the same way you show the organization the benefits of training, break the benefits down for your executives. Try to find at least five benefits for each of their particular areas – relate the benefits to their business units’ mission and goals. Place a special focus on the financial officer – show him or her the financial benefits of creating your Training Dojo. Provide case studies on organizations that have effectively implemented training programs that positively impacted the bottom line.

Three: Develop standards of excellence. Your Dojo should have a set of written standards. Don’t get into metrics just yet – here, determine the training department’s mission and values and align them with the company. Detail how the staff of your Dojo will have a positive impact on the company, its employees, and its income. Outline the standards that you and your staff will demonstrate at all times.

Four: Determine branding and placement. Since you have a mission and values, you can focus on a brand and its placement. Obtain assistance from your marketing department to develop a logo or trademark for your Dojo. Develop a logo that can be placed on the front door, materials, and even casual Friday polo shirts for the staff. Your presence will be tangible and linked to the standards of excellence you’ve written.

Five: Find an appropriate location and tools. For some organizations, developing a training department means new facilities. For others, it means taking over a slightly used space. Wherever your Dojo may be, make sure it’s in a central location and in an environment that invites employees to visit. Make a list of the tools you’ll want to have, such as projectors, simulated workspaces, technical and soft skills class areas. Consider colors, lighting, and workspaces. Prioritize your list and be ready to present business rationale behind each item.

Six: Select the staff – carefully. You must look for a Dojo staff that not only has technical knowledge, but also an ability to make learners of all levels feel comfortable. Remember that a person with a fountain of knowledge is a bad choice if he or she does not mix well with others. You’ll want staff members who portray the vision and values of the company – and your Dojo.

Seven: Establish a curriculum committee. Choose a mixture of executives, senior managers, front line managers, employees, and members of your own staff to sit down and discuss what programs your Dojo should offer. This group can help prioritize offerings, determine what can be learned on the job versus in a classroom, and whether you’ll need to offer learning in various medias. Your committee will help spread the word and propagate the culture of training.

Eight: Determine program development goals. After you’ve decided what to offer, have the committee help you create the timeline. Look at your resources and go for the best timeline you can. Look for external or past courses that can serve as models for what you want to develop for your Dojo. Examine the benefits of each offering and translate them into business unit benefits.

Nine: Establish metrics. You must decide how your Dojo’s staff will be measured. Align your metrics with the company’s metrics, but be sure to include evaluations of programs and instructors. Let it be known that your metrics are continuous and will lead to an ever changing effort to serve the organization. By doing this, you’ll prove that your department will be held up to the same standards as the rest of the organization.

Ten: Visit your Dojo. If your office is located in the physical Training Dojo, be sure to visit the classrooms, drop in on training developers, and take the time to chat with training participants. If your office is remote, you must schedule time on a regular basis to visit the Dojo – your presence is credibility for every program you offer.

By following these 10 steps, you can build a Training Dojo that gains respect and credibility, and offers programs that have a lasting and positive impact on the organization.

Copyright  Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.