“I’m going to shed 20 pounds by summer,” “I’m going to stay in touch with friends more often,” “I will eat healthier,” “I will actually take vacation time and do something special.” Well, how about, “I will plan and strategize my training year?”
This is a great time to take action. As I examine the message on a card from my deck of inspirational thoughts, I find it fits perfectly with where I’m going with this blog. “Take action on your ideas. We can have many great ideas, but without action upon that idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.” Not only is this great wisdom, but it is also practical advice as our training departments prepare and plan for the year ahead of us. Let’s take a look at three areas where we can apply such “timely” advice.
This is the time to examine how our organizations are executing their strategic plans. Have any major changes been made to the existing strategies and goals? How is our training department linked to such objectives and synergies and how can we support them or help the different departments succeed at achieving them? The current economic panorama demands that companies assess their operations in order to meet their goals and target numbers for the New Year with a more detailed eye than ever before. We, as training professionals, have the responsibility to follow suit and provide a supporting strategy that shows we are in alignment with the bigger picture
It is likely that some of the organizational priorities for last year have shifted in some way or another. This automatically means we need to be tuned in to those changes or developments so that we may provide the training (knowledge and skill) support that the company requires. It is also a key time of the year to conduct a performance analysis of the company’s core processes in order to provide any possible suggestions for improvement or validation of efficiency.
Another important task to consider within our training departments is to carefully assess how our own current level of competencies, talents, and skills are in measure up to those that will be required to satisfactorily support the overall organizational strategy. When was the last time we took a workshop to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey recommends in his highly acclaimed book? The same way we provide courses, job aids, and performance tools to our companies’ employees so they are equipped with the competencies needed to do their jobs and reach targets, we too need to keep our skill set at top speed. Do you need to brush up on your instructional design skills, or establish a company-wide training advisory board? Maybe you have been given the responsibility of converting a number of your courses into an e-learning strategy. Do you have what it takes to make it happen?
I always find it interesting how quick we are to assess the needs of our companies at the start of the year, or how soon after the first week in January everyone comes up with very important projects for us to work on, yet we tend to forget we need to maintain momentum and keep our skills up-to-date with the demands of the industry. I am often on an airplane and it is always fun to realize that the safety message from the airline always and forever reminds us, “in the case of a sudden change in cabin pressure…put YOUR mask on first before you help others with their masks.” Are we truly and fully making sure our mask is on right? What are we doing to stay on top of our game?
We maintain a broad and big-picture mindset as we move forward and set new objectives and strategies for the year – and paying attention to what other people and companies are doing is helpful. Why reinvent the wheel? If there are models of success out there, let’s find out how they may be applicable to our needs and the needs of the corporations we support. The January-February issue of Harvard Business Review focuses on ways to transform our businesses to meet today’s challenges and demands.
So, as you get set to start this New Year, remember to ask yourself some key questions: What is the focus for your company for the New Year? How are you going to support it? Is your skill-set up-to-date? When was the last time you “sharpened your saw?”
What ideas do you have to help your team gear up for 2010? And, I prompt you to share with our readers your breakthrough ideas for the beginning of the year for the benefit of us all. What suggestions do you have or what advice can you offer about what you have tried but not seen results from so that others have a better chance to succeed. I look forward to hearing from you.