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Seb Anthony

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POSITIONING HRD/TRAINING IN AN ORGANISATION

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I am interested in starting a discussion about how other 'trainers' are positioned within their organisation and how influential they think they are being in terms of the organisation's succes and/or learning. How do you become more influential at director and Board level...examples please to use in another discussion board that links HRD/Training with Knowledge Management and Organisational Development.

Please post here but also look at the parallel discussion on http://www.knowledgeboard.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=123852&d=1&h=417&f=418&dateformat=%o%20%B%20%Y

This discussion board is run by the same people who run this one.

I look forward to hearing your views
Jozefa Fawcett

7 Responses

  1. Positioning HRD/training in an organisation
    For me, this is the big question. If we can’t resolve this, we won’t be effective.

    If we express the issue as “how can we influence senior management?” what we are putting forward is a process or solution.

    I find the situation easier to address if we have an overall objective such as “How can we integrate individual development and organisational development with normal business activities?”

    Alternatively, “How can we get managers to accept responsibility for…?”

    What practical steps can you take?

    1. Find a champion

    2. Refuse unrealistic requests such as time management in 2 hours

    3. Refuse to run training courses until certain conditions are met – eg manager involvement before and after

    4. Get teams to focus on family events and live issues – eg how can we be more effective

    5. Propogate the idea that staff development and OD are a process, not a solution

    6. Propogate the idea that staff development and OD are the responsibility of everyone

    7. Try to avoid the role that managers impose on us of being an “expert” in whatever field and all we have to do is open our mouths and their staff will instantaneously and miraculously be better.

    Individuals and organisations are being blighted by the inability of managers to address thes issues. As an example, a client I have been working with have just held their annual senior team away day. They did not this time use my colleague as the facilitator, because he was seen as lacking understanding of their situation (he pushed too hard to get actions agreed at the previous event.) They agreed that nothing of their discussion was to be communicated to their staff.

    It’s difficult to break into this attitude and culture.

    Mike Westwood

  2. So where do we start?
    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for your posting, I found myself nodding in agreement to all of your points. We must educate our users in how to take best advantage of what we as training professionals have to offer, rather than just expecting us to jump through hoops, we can do this but it is a pointless exercise, if not linked more closely to operational issues and ultimately – results.

    Can I formally invite you to join me in a parallel discussion board to help educate Knowledge Management specialists in the value of what we have to offer the KM agenda? I at the moment am a lone voice and feel you could bring a level of debate that, with me, could demonstrate our worth.

    Much of your 7 point plan is exactly the same as what is being proposed when establishing KM initiatives and I think that, once again, there are strong links to each area.

    Please either reply via this thread or mail me on [email protected]

    In addition, I am eager to hear on this thread from others who have an opinion on our positioning.

  3. Learning Maturity Scale
    In the UK’s Training Journal – January 2004 (1 of a series of 12 articles) you can see my Learning Maturity scale which combines the role of training/development, with the increasing maturity of the organisation as it learns how to make the most of OD and KM. Key to progress along the scale is measurement and evaluation – how can you progress if you don’t know whether you have moved forward?

    Regards

    Paul

  4. is it the bottom line?
    I have recently been running some workshops regarding “performance management and developing staff”; the event was aimed at line managers and I was astounded at how insulated they had been in the issue of development. They all agreed that it SHOULD be a prime criteria for their role but all INSISTED that it wasn’t something they were measured (appraised)on. Additionally the HR/Development Team took all the onus for evaluating. They were totally oblivious to the bottom line costs they they themselves bore, eg travel, accomodation and downtime, as opposed to the HR teams evaluation of the cost they carried; the provision of the actuial learning.
    I’m not sure I’ve made this very clear, but the problem to me seemed to be caused by a silo mentality (“Developement is the problem of the development team”) coupled with operational committments (“as a manager I am appraised on achievement of operational targets, not management of my staff”).
    The challenge for the HRD team in this organisation is two fold; to encourage directors to manage managers in a way that develops people as well as achieving short term operational goals, and to get everyone to look beyond learning objectives to performance improvements as a result of a learning intervention.

  5. Too familiar I’m afraid
    Rus,

    Thank you for your posting and I am afraid I gave a big sigh as your story was all too familiar to the situations that I have found myself in the past. It does make me wonder WHY managers are not appraised on the management of their staff as well as their operational performance, surely the two go hand-in-hand?

    There is also the issue about HRM & HRD getting more stuck into the core of the business as opposed to just undertaking the ‘development’ issues as given to them by ‘management’. Certainly one way to help this shift is to use the language of the business and apply its governance principles to the development activity. Following on from Paul’s point, HRD/Training could do worse than:

    Make explicit its own measurement targets (not just numbers attending training) but the target impact on the business

    Evaluate its performance in business management terms and report this back through the recognised governance framework

    We have a long way to go to show others that we are a profession in our own right and can apply business ethics to what we do aswell.

  6. Can you become an internal consultant?
    Trainers can become more influential if they become internal consultants. The latter help the people who run the business or organisation to develop their people and processes – or solve problems using better processes.

    You may have to use your personal authority to get to this position. Many managers do not understand the value they can get from consultancy support before they experience it. “Just” listening can be so valuable – so can offering better processes at management or team meetings.

    When I was an internal consultant, I interpreted my job as “To do anything I could get away with that was likely to be helpful”. This gave plenty of scope.

    A client of mine is a HR director who is running developmental workshops for top teams across Europe. He is an internal consultant in this role and his impact will be enormous.

    If you want to increase your impact, decide you want to, and then do something active like get closer to the most positive line manager you know and do some work together.

    It sounds simple and will work.

    There are free tools on my website that can help you. http://homepage.ntlworld.com/nick.heap

    Best wishes

    Nick Heap

    01707 886553

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