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Birth of a Salesman: Selling Learning to Solve Business Issues
Perceptions about the learning function may be learning professionals’ greatest frustration, but changing those perceptions is one of the most promising opportunities for impact.
Perceptions about the learning function may be learning professionals’ greatest frustration, but changing those perceptions is one of the most promising opportunities for impact. Moving learning to business-partner status requires an investment in yourself.
How many times have you seen the potential for a critical integrated learning solution overlooked until the deployment of a new operating process, a systems implementation or the launch of a new product or service — or worse yet, totally ignored until something goes wrong?
Learning need not be forced to limp in and turn lemons into lemonade, though. It should move beyond the role of a firefighter dousing the flames of poor planning and circumstance to the more proactive role of a building inspector to help make sure the house doesn’t catch fire in the first place. To assume this role, however, learning leaders must sell the value of development programs.
Selling has several connotations. If you find yourself selling learning to a line-of-business head, promoting a packaged solution that fits in your current budget or asking for precious budget dollars and finding apathy or limited excitement, you likely are too late and have missed the opportunity.
Selling your solution is about selling yourself and your team’s ability to execute — to build trusting relationships based on previous initiatives’ success and indisputable data. Selling is about business partnering, not pushing your solution.
This requires a continual cycle of developing the relationship and educating decision makers about learning potential and performance. This kind of selling is key to building the kind of institutional trust and relationships that will be required to win support for learning’s up-front involvement in the next critical endeavor that will require collaborative initiative.
It’s important to remember that relationships are earned, and if organizational perceptions about learning’s role are not taken seriously or shaped by creative and innovative solutions, they can remain a serious drag, damper and de-motivator to the entire learning enterprise.
Leveraging the Latest in Brain Science to Deliver the Next Generation of E-Learning
May 29th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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