Using Courageous Consulting
As a Learning and Development (L&D) professional, embracing a consulting mindset is a key skill. This means going beyond just delivering training and actively solving complex business challenges. Courageous consulting means challenging the norm and deeply understanding the business’s objectives, hurdles, and culture. By doing this, you can tailor learning solutions that align with the client company’s goals, boosting their relevance and effectiveness. This approach requires being proactive in identifying learning needs and opportunities, rather than just responding to requests. It’s about being a strategic partner who can speak the business lingo and translate L&D initiatives into concrete business results.
As an L&D professional, you might step into a project where the current training methods are outdated and not meeting the business’s evolving needs. For example, they might propose a shift from traditional classroom training to a blended learning approach, integrating digital tools and real-time data analysis. This change not only modernises the training but also aligns it with the company’s digital transformation goals. You would need to present a compelling case to the leadership, highlighting how this approach can improve employee engagement and productivity, ultimately contributing to the business’s bottom line.
Courageous consulting is therefore a mix of listening and doing / recording and recommending. What elements of this do you currently include in your daily activities and what areas do you believe you could change to be even more courageous than you are?
Marketing and Communications
We all have an understanding of marketing, but are we really capable to the extent needed to grow a competitive and sustainable business? There’s no doubt that top-notch marketing and communication skills are essential. This requires us to communicate the value of learning programs in a way that resonates with stakeholders and learners. It’s about ‘selling’ the importance of ongoing learning and development within the client’s organisation. This requires crafting compelling messages that highlight the benefits of training programs, not just in skill development but also in their contribution to the organisation’s success. Additionally, effectively utilising various communication channels, from internal newsletters to social media, to boost engagement and participation in L&D initiatives.
A personal reflection
What I’ve come to understand about marketing is that everyone thinks they know how to do it. When I was a new merchandise buyer for a national retailer back in 1997, I listened to the store managers and franchise owners describe the best approach for their market. It was based on pervious experiences and the good ‘ol gut feel. Neither of which is necessarily bad, but can it be improved upon?
There is no doubt, for an L&D professional, the right marketing tactic is purely a matter of perspective. Learning marketing basics and applying them to your promotional efforts will improve your odds when it comes to deciding upon the right perspective to offer to your clients. Consider starting with the 5 (or 7) P’s of marketing. Look at the best strategic application of your time and resources by reviewing some of the 12 well-tested models. Through education and experimentation, your marketing and communication skills will improve dramatically, and you’ll see more favourable results from your clients’ projects.
Finance and Budgeting
A solid understanding of finance and budgeting is crucial for L&D professionals. This goes beyond managing training budgets; it’s about showing the return on investment (ROI) of learning programs using frameworks such as the six we would recommend below: