Linking Training and Organizational Objectives

When I talk to new clients about training, the person I’m talking to is typically not a subject matter expert. They just know that their staff need training on a grocery list of topics. Then I start spouting off about objectives and outcomes and the person I’m talking to gets flustered.

As the trainer and subject matter expert I have to be able to tell the client what a reasonable set of outcomes is for their staff. In other words, I need to be able to say to the client: it’s reasonable for a project manager to be able to X, but a developer should be able to Y. Working together, this should result in your company being able to deliver Z to your client.

My content manager training for communication teams is very popular. This is what it looks like to me:

1/2 Day Workshop for Business & Communications Teams — Intro to Drupal Content Administration By the end of this half day session, participants will be able to:

  • locate and successfully use the add/edit screens for content displayed throughout the site (Drupal terms: blocks and nodes)
  • successfully add items to menus and dynamic lists of content (Drupal terms: menus and views)
  • trouble shoot content pasted from rich text sources, such as MS Word

During the course of the workshop, the participants will create a collaborative “vacation manual” with instructions on how to update their site. This session will be conducted in English, the source files for the manual will be the property of the client.

But what the client wants to hear is:

By the end of this training the content managers will stop bugging the IT team with support tickets and they will understand how to do things in the site. Ideally they will stop complaining about Drupal and be able to just do their job. The trainer will be able to deal with random questions from students in a professional way and will always give the right answer according to best practices. In the workshop we will cover content editing, fixing the crappy output from WYSIWYG editors, and adding videos to the site.

I’m still trying to reconcile how to make sure the participants get the outcomes the business needs them to have, but without using scary language (and forcing managers to think/speak in testable outcomes). I’ve got a few strategies, but I’d love to hear how you deal with this too.