Summary: Now that you have assessed the organization, the industry, and your most important internal clients, it’s time to take a good look at your vision for the training department.
You have assessed the organization in general, both the industry related to your organization and the training industry, as well as your internal customers. You may even begin to see a picture of how 2018 will be shaping up for you and your team. But before you make any solid commitments to a vision or a strategy for the upcoming year, it’s a good idea to create a training vision that is independent of your assessments. As you create this vision, you’ll be able to use your imagination and innovation to come up with a “wish list” of sorts. The main caveat in this type of planning is to remember that it is a wish list and that not everything on your list will become a reality. You may even want to involve the training staff in a brainstorming session, as each member of your staff is probably interested in a different training industry discipline.
For the brainstorming session, consider disclosing the caveat we just discussed, so that the staff can be aware of the fact that the brainstorm is a wish list. Consider using a conference room or large office with flip charts to record the ideas that surface. If possible, you may also want to share the results of your assessment with the training staff if they aren’t already privy to the information you’ve uncovered. In addition, try to break down the areas of consideration to organizational initiatives, technology, growth, methods, and even finance. And don’t forget to include your own vision for the future, either.
The organizational initiatives that you’ve uncovered can lead the discussion, or your thought process if you are working alone, to a vision for the upcoming year. It may be as simple as a vision to support certain initiatives with certain results. On the other hand, technology can lead to a great deal of strategy for the training department. For example, you and your group may want to begin using a new development tool for online courses and computer-based interventions in the classroom. Or, you may want to begin using social media as part of the training interventions in certain subject areas. Technological vision may even include a new learning content management system.
A discussion or thought pattern on departmental growth may come naturally with the kinds of innovations you see as part of your vision for 2018. For example, if you see that the most important organizational initiatives are going to tax your department beyond its abilities, you may need to place growth on the priority list. In an upcoming discussion, we will explore the creation of the execution strategy, so this is one of the items in that execution.
Training methods can cover both the design and delivery of programs, and this needs to be part of your discussion for the 2011 strategy. Many times the overall initiative that is causing the need for training may determine delivery and design methods. For example, changes in the product strategy may require classroom delivery and training so that participants can practice their customer procedures. On the other hand, if your organization is advanced, you may be able to create this training in a web format.
Finally, the financial aspect will be part of your vision for 2018. If a new technology is simply too expensive, you may be able to come up with a workaround immediately. If you’re not sure, it may be a good time to design two or three options at different cost levels. Although the budget can be a sensitive issue, you may want to consider having the staff help out on estimating costs and producing viable alternatives. This way, when you’ve defined the vision and are ready to
obtain funding, you can easily say what your department can do at various cost levels.
The idea with brainstorming is to come up with the overall direction and strategy for the training department for 2018. When you have finished this exercise, you will be able to formulate a vision and strategy for the upcoming year. This vision and strategy will be solid enough to present to your executive sponsor and to the financial officer if funding is involved.
The next step is to define the vision and determine if it fits with the organization’s overall expected movement.
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